Williamsburg’s “BEST NO BULLSHIT, NO TOURISTS, ALL AROUND GREAT LOCAL BAR” is closing. The Abbey, a neighborhood fixture for over two decades, will shutter this Thursday. This follows news that two other local longtimers, Enid’s and Rosemary’s Greenpoint Tavern, are also closing.
The owner of the building at 536 Driggs plans to fully renovate it, according to a permit application that was approved last week.
The Abbey opened in 1997, according to a bartender who confirmed its imminent shuttering. Even back in 2002, it was described as a “tried-and-true neighborhood favorite” by Free Williamsburg. Back then, it was a gay-friendly spot that “breeds all types, and won’t kick you out for playing shitty pool.” Around the same time, a NY Mag review noted that “the long, narrow room has been used as a bar since 1937, and it shows: everything seems to be coated in a thin film of beer, including the staff.”
In its history of the city’s gay scene, New York credited the bar’s mid-aughts Sunday parties with helping make Brooklyn “a bona fide destination for otherwise dyed-in-the-wool Manhattanites.”
Sixteen years later, the Abbey is no longer an LGBTQ destination, but is still appreciated as a throwback to Williamsburg’s pre-boom days. In October, an amateur reviewer wrote that the bar “provides stability in a section of Brooklyn that is always modifying” and paid tribute to its $6 beer-and-a-shot happy hour, popcorn machine, board games, omnipresent dogs, heavy pours from generous bartenders, and regulars such as the guy who “used to write for Rolling Stone and looks exactly like Rod Stewart (it’s insane).”
The bar is currently operated by the owners of the Charleston, Alligator Lounge, Crocodile Lounge, Nowhere, and Metropolitan. They weren’t immediately reachable for comment, but a bartender said tomorrow’s blowout would include an open mic and barbecue cookout.