Another day, another watering hole that’s closing. This time it’s Jerome’s, the Lower East Side late-night staple just steps from the Williamsburg Bridge, which will be closing its doors for good tonight. Formerly known as St. Jerome’s, it was reincarnated into Rivington F&B in 2014, and was a favorite LES hangout for Lady Gaga.
After St. Jerome’s was revamped into Rivington F&B in March 2014 by Jonas Pelli, a former bartender and manager at St. Jerome’s, and his new partners in crime Omri S. Quire and Paul Seres of The DL, the bar expanded with a new backroom, a fresh cocktail list, and a food menu.
After the makeover, patrons who remembered and loved St. Jerome’s back from its down-and-dirty days were afraid the bar would become a bro-festered lounge, but for the most part Rivington F&B (still known as Jerome’s) managed to pay homage to its wilder roots. The laid-back vibes, a small dance floor in the back, and their rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic simply made the spot feel like a slightly posher version of the beaten-up dive bar it once was. The chalkboard doors in the front would sport homages to recently deceased music legends, including Bowie and Prince.
While the owners wouldn’t explain exactly why they had to close – S. Quire simply said “it’s out of our control” – Bowery Boogie reported back in June that the space had apparently been bought by new owners who plan to turn it into something called the LES Junction, although there’s little information about the spot as of yet. The new owners Gavin Downie and Lynn McNeill submitted a liquor license request to the Community Board 3 for 155 Rivington back in May.
Pelli and S. Quire had a big blowout on Saturday night with DJs Prince Terrence and Nate Turbow to celebrate their last weekend at Jerome’s, as well as an “insane” Monday night party, which became a collaboration of their popular “Magic Monday” and “Dollhouse” parties. “We’ve let our DJs and employees each do their own send-off this week,” S. Quire explained.
S. Quire wistfully said that in a way, it was fitting that they would have one last hurrah on a Wednesday. “We actually opened on a Wednesday with a party called Clubhouse Déjà Vu, which is a throwback to the old St. Jerome’s,” he said, explaining that the original Jerome’s used to be nicknamed “the clubhouse.”
Naturally, tonight’s party will carry that moniker, and feature DJs Marty E. and Ian Eldorado spinning tunes until 4am.
Nonetheless, it was clear that S. Quire and Pelli were sad to have to close down. “It’s hard to let go of anything to which you devote so much time and effort. We’ve got a lot of great memories, learned a lot and made many new friends and we hope that everyone else who’s been coming to the bar has gained as much as us,” S. Quire explained.
But S. Quire and Pelli are Lower East Siders till the bitter end, and have been hatching some new ideas for ventures around the neighborhood. “We need to find the real estate first,” Pelli said.
One thing’s for sure though: they’re not moving to Brooklyn. “Brooklyn is not us,” Pelli said decisively.
Jerome’s at Rivington F&B, 115 Rivington Street between Suffolk and Clinton Street. Tonight, 5pm – 4am.