Patrons and staff gathered at Sway to bid bye bye as the downtown bar passed on to the next world, joining its brethren in depraved bar heaven. Group portrait artist Nick McManus was on hand to capture the mournful revelry of Sway’s last night on earth with instant snapshots from The Impossible Project, á la a young Ryan McGinley at Lit Lounge (RIP).
We first heard back in early December that Sway would close, wrapping up one of the longer-running parties in the city. The general sense is that business was down–not to the point of “failure” as the General Manager Pebbles Russell told Gothamist– but nevertheless it was time for Sway to retire before things turned gray. Over the years, regulars of the cavernous lounge with an iconic Moroccan motif included celebrity bad girls (like Lindsay Lohan), downtown cool kids (as in Chloe Sevigny), not to mention vacant stares, skateboarders, and artists galore.
Sway first opened its doors back in the early ’90s and, for a long time, managed to defy the laws of physics by evading New York City’s mercilessly brief half-life for cool. Through all the adversity that killed off many a respectable bar–a Meatpacking district (then downtown too, really) that went to the
dogs bros, the mass exodus of nightlife and artists to Brooklyn, and a shrinking clientele– Sway kept it pouring.
Though the heyday could probably be marked around the early- to mid-2000s, the regulars still flocked here and the ragers continued on. There was Morrissey Night, for one, or one of Sway’s best known parties which drew massive lines to the bar on Sunday nights and ran for well over a decade. So perhaps it was fitting that closing night went down on the same day of the week, and as McManus’ photos reveal, Sway kept it real right up until its last breath.
Follow Nick McManus on Instagram @dudemanshouse