International Bar’s final night at its longtime East Village location was as loud, crowded, but also as intimate as you’d expect. The bar, which originated on St. Marks Place and has been on First Avenue since the ’80s, was filled with regulars who waited till the wee hours for co-owner Molly Fitch to arrive and make a rousing speech.
She thanked everyone for all the good times and said International Bar wasn’t going anywhere; on Thanksgiving Day, it moved a block down and took the place of Fitch’s other spot, Coal Yard. After a big round of applause and whistles, bartenders Sawyer and Tyler continued to serve drinks right till the clock struck 4am.
Though it wasn’t a total goodbye, a plethora of downtown characters came to pay their respects. Old-timers smoked cigarettes in the backyard till it closed at 10pm while, inside, downtown artist Penny Arcade took a table with friends.
Another local artist, known on Instagram as @thefakesataclaus, distributed a faux NY Post headline announcing International Bar’s “final dip as the fuckery of gentrification tightens its grip on the East Village scene.”
At the end of the holiday weekend on Sunday I spent time at the new International Bar with Coal Yard’s former bartender Rob, who had been there for four years before the switchover. He talked of his 22 years bartending in NYC and joked that he’s “the only bartender who didn’t have to move anywhere for his new job.”