Nine lives, indeed! The legendary Pussycat Lounge has quietly reopened after six years of uncertainty.
I haven’t yet read Meet Me in the Bathroom, the oral history of the aughts rock scene that got James Murphy and Nick Zinner reminiscing, but I’d be surprised if the Pussycat Lounge wasn’t mentioned. After all, it’s where Taavo Somer and Carlos Quirarte threw parties before they went on to open downtown hotspots Freemans and The Smile, respectively. At one point, the place was so cool that it appeared in a Times trend piece about the death of the trucker hat. And then, in 2011, the 41-year-old dive was suddenly closed by the city, after its building was deemed unsafe.
Back then, Pussycat’s owner Robert Kremer, who also owns 96 Greenwich Street, told me that he might not reopen the place, since business in the area had dropped off after 9/11. Six years later, chances of a comeback looked slim and grim. But last night, flyers posted outside of the bar announced that the Pcat Lounge, as this reincarnation is being called, was NOW OPEN.
I had to see it to believe it, so I stepped inside to find a space that looked more like a Brighton Beach nightclub than the musty old Pussycat Lounge. (Who can blame the place for keeping up with new neighbors like Calatrava’s Oculus and the flashy Riff hotel, next door.) There was a gleaming new floor and color-changing light panels on the ceiling, but the ancient bar was still there and the drinks were still stiff. One thing missing: the dancers behind the bar. I was told they’d return once the adult entertainment license is in order. In the meantime, the place has been keeping a remarkably low profile since it softly opened on Cinco de Mayo– there’s pretty much zero mention of it on the internet aside from bartender/burlesque performer Essence Revealed, a holdover from the old Pussycat days, Instagramming about the happy hour special: $5 mixed drinks and beers.
It’s unclear what’s going on with the upstairs room, which was renovated along with the rest of the building and is also licensed to sell liquor. The Pcat is billing itself as a “restaurant/bar/cabaret,” so it’s a safe bet food will be served.
Back when it was almost razed by hotel developer Sam Chang in 2007, the Pussycat was often eulogized as a stubborn survivor of the Giuliani days. And while the man has moved on to being President Covfefe’s lap dog, it still feels good to say it: Yo, Rudy! This Bud’s for you!