The news of the Grassroots Tavern calling it quits after 42 years struck a nerve among those familiar with the St. Marks refuge. Reactions to our post– shared more than 11,000 times, according to Facebook– demonstrate the sense of community that neighborhood bar-goers attached to the dive.
Former Gothamist food editor Nell Casey’s reaction reflected a common sentiment:
BAD THIS IS VERY BAD https://t.co/E2YLBNdoNF
— Nell Casey (@nellcasey) December 9, 2017
That tweet was liked by New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, among others.
The Grassroots Tavern, an artifact of the the “old St. Marks,” held a special place in the hearts of many NYU students and East Village residents, some of whom had met significant others or new friends while drinking beer on tap at the watering hole. CNBC producer Rebecca Ungarino tweeted that she and her mother both had memories at the bar. She later shared a screenshot of a text-message conversation in which her mother made plans to visit the bar once more before it closes at the end of this month.
one of the special bars/venues my mom and i both have memories of, generations/decades apart https://t.co/kRxaRjH8xN
— Rebecca Ungarino (@ungarino) December 9, 2017
Sara Clemens was one of several who used the opportunity to make New Year’s Eve plans. “Fate has declared our New Year’s Eve plans, it seems,” Sara wrote on Facebook, adding that she planned on “giving this stalwart institution the farewell it deserves.”
Others touched on their concern with gentrification and rising rents snuffing out neighborhood icons.
On that note, RIP Grassroots Tavern. The best dog lived in that bar. She had her own barstool and always had one ear cocked up like she was listening to conversations. And she was. I'll miss her terribly. Fuck you, gentrification.
— Abhimanyu Das (@rohandas) December 11, 2017
Aaron Schultz wrote on Facebook, “The Grassroots embodies everything a quality dive should…veteran bartenders with great stories, ultra cheap beers, a gaggle of locals who get pissed if their spots at the far corner of the bar are taken when they walk in, an actual phone booth with a working payphone that is constantly getting incoming calls, people propping up the bars with their books, their own thoughts, and their rowdy ass friends.”
He added, “Who’s down for one last toast next week?”
Grady Hendrix, author and co-founder of the Asian Film Festival, also paid tribute:
Grassroots Tavern in NYC is closing. This is the classic old man bar: no tourists, no social media presence, no doucherie. I am so depressed I can barely drink.
— Grady Hendrix (@grady_hendrix) December 11, 2017
Others noted a pattern of recent closing announcements:
First HiFi, now this. There go my first three years in NYC. 🙁 https://t.co/LxPf1zX2RE
— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) December 12, 2017
Dive bars are a dying breed. Hanks closing next year. Grassroots closing sooner. Major bummer. https://t.co/wW1JtfthMR
— Stephen Brown (@PPVSRB) December 10, 2017
You know 2017 is bad when all the bars are like: eff it—I’m out! Grassroots, Hi-Fi, Matchless…ugh. https://t.co/aAYRWvQwBq
— trevor ingerson (@tingerson) December 12, 2017
I would rather something never open there again than it be Holiday Cocktail Lounge’d https://t.co/3Nw7c4Zd89
— John Lichman (@jlichman) December 9, 2017
Grassroots Tavern going the way of Dan Lynch, Nightingale, Continental (closing in 2018), Coney Island High, Downtown Beirut and other great area bars. https://t.co/jYcDNGSAnl
— Mark Schoifet (@TheRealSchoifet) December 12, 2017
The bar’s last day will be Dec. 31.