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(Photo: Kate Beaudoin)

The first thing we noticed when we walked into the Sunburnt Cow yesterday was the penetrating smell of vomit. And the first thing that happened? A complete stranger hugged us for 30 seconds without letting go. It was the final day of operation for the Australian-themed bar that’s been on Avenue C for the better part of 11 years, and the crowd was already hammered drunk by 6 p.m. Emotions ranged from nostalgia to tears to just plain drunkenness; click through the slideshow below to find out what the staffers and regulars had to say.

<strong>Matt Onyett, server at the Cow</strong>

Matt Onyett, server at the Cow

“I’ve been a server for a year and a half. Some of the craziest things that have happened at the bar include projectile vomiting situations across tables. Or people not realizing how drunk they are until they stand up and walk outside, and then face-plant into the gutter. Or people hooking up in the bathrooms. And they’re gross bathrooms, as well.”

<strong>Heath St. Claire, owner of the Cow</strong>

Heath St. Claire, owner of the Cow

“All good things must come to an end. Look, Hurricane Sandy was pretty rugged on us, and we’ve been trying to sell it all year. We’ve been trying to keep it hanging together, sell it, or get new investors. But none came through, so that was it. This is my baby. We built this place with our bare hands. We didn’t have any money, and we built something, and it lasted, and it’s been a beautiful thing. I’m gonna try to keep myself together and not leave here at seven in the morning. I’m too old for that, but there’s a chance it might happen.”

<strong>Carl Lystad, patron</strong>

Carl Lystad, patron

“I’ve played ‘Piano Man’ on waitress’s boobs. I’ve stood on the table singing ‘Piano Man.’ I really like Billy Joel. I went to his concert at Madison Square Garden.”

<strong>Jenny Mistery and Nitin Mistery</strong>

Jenny Mistery and Nitin Mistery

“We first met at the fifth anniversary party at the Cow in October, 2008. I was here with my best friends, and Nitin came in with his best friends. The Cow had the ‘ice luge of love,’ as they call it now. And my best friend and I kept taking shots with it, because we were friends with Heath. And one of the times I walked by, Nitin grabbed my arm, and he said, ‘The next one you do, you’re doing with me.’ And we did the shot together, and then we started dating, and we came here every year for our anniversary with our friends. We had our engagement party here, and we got married in August. We had the ice luge at the wedding. Heath gave us Bessie the Cow, and that’s gonna be the centerpiece of our new apartment.”

<strong>Bessie, mascot</strong>

Bessie, mascot

<strong>Maggie Barr, former regular, with friend Alexander Antebi</strong>

Maggie Barr, former regular, with friend Alexander Antebi

“When I first moved to the city, the Cow was a very special little highlight in my young 20’s. It was a moment, and I wanted to keep it as a special moment. Some of my best moments here were after they closed the doors. It’s confidential information, which is the best part of the Cow, that you can have those stories. Heath always bends the rules just so, which makes this place really great.”

<strong>Virdilio Vasquez, bartender</strong>

Virdilio Vasquez, bartender

“I’m the first non-Australian guy to be behind the bar with these guys. What I like about working with them is that they like to have fun, and I like to have fun as well. It’s party time, party time, party time. Sadly, tonight is the last night for the Cow. I’m not a person of emotions much, but I’m gonna miss the place. Regardless of that, we’re still rock and rolling no matter what.”

<strong>Jai Skrobe, Saturday night DJ for eight years</strong>

Jai Skrobe, Saturday night DJ for eight years

“Some of my favorite memories would be the pure chaos of wall-to-wall people—drunken people. And many, many nights like that. I’m gonna miss the camaraderie of being able to have this place to come to. Even if I didn’t have a specific destination in mind, I could always come here.”

<strong>Rob Lee, first-time patron</strong>

Rob Lee, first-time patron

“My friend who’s from Australia told me I should come here cause they’re closing. And I saw it in BuzzFeed’s top 15 brunches for under $30. I’m having a great time. I am sad that my first time is the last day it’s gonna be here.”