26 January 2009

Holland Bar to Reopen on Wednesday

The good news: The Holland Bar, dives of dives, will reopen Wednesday.

The bad news: All that stuff they scraped off the walls when they gutted the place last summer is gone for good. "The photographs of customers who had died years before, the posters for shows at the dear, departed CBGB — is gone, too. [Owner Gary] Kelly sent many framed pictures home with regulars as farewell gifts, other memorabilia went into storage. One of the relics of the Holland’s lore — an urn containing the ashes of Charlie O’Connor, a former bartender — had gone missing."

The news news: The Times reports that the reason the Ninth Avenue dive closed in the first place were the villainous dreams of the greedy landlord, Ebeden Wong. "According to Mr. Kelly, who has owned the bar since 1998, the landlord refused to renew the lease in the hopes that he could make more money converting the building for residential use or selling it off. But such plans apparently did not work out, and the landlord offered Mr. Kelly his old space back starting Jan. 1, albeit at a 20 percent increase in the rent."

The article also tells us where Holland's devoted barflies have been these past months. Rudy's mainly, a few blocks north. Others went to the Bull Moose Saloon. They followed the Holland bartenders. "Bill Leary, known as Dr. Bill, took over the Monday and Tuesday shifts at the Bull Moose Saloon, on 44th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, and Steve Bibko has been serving free hot dogs along with Jameson shots and Budweiser back at Rudy’s Bar and Grill, at 44th and Ninth."

Makes sense.