28 October 2011

Subway Inn May Have Gone Under

Horrible news from Eater for dive bar, Old New York, and classic neon lovers (I'm all three): 
Potentially terrible news for lovers of classic New York City bars, as it appears the Subway Inn is no longer with us. A tipster reported that "the Subway Inn looks like it has closed for good", and we turned up this picture from last night showing gates rolled down with its iconic neon lights turned off. A call to the listed phone number revealed that it has been disconnected, which hints that the Upper East Side has lost a true legend. The place seemed to have hit on hard times recently and had even resorted to selling Atomic Wings in a last ditch effort to drum up some business. Maybe this is just a temporary vacation or someone is interested in taking the space over and running a dive bar, but it ain't looking good.
If it's gone, you can add it to the fast-growing New York dive bar death toll that includes Mars Bar, the Rum House and more.


Carol Gardens said...

The ONLY cheap divey bar in this part of Manhattan. On this block you could get a sandwich at Subway, drink at the Subway Inn and then enter the subway to go home.

Kirsten said...

I stopped by again this evening--the lights were still off, but a couple of people were stirring around inside. I hope this means they're just fixing something and will be back soon... (I don't think that phone number worked before.)

Ed said...

I heard a rumor that they have some sort of agreement with the landlord that the bar will stay until the bar's owner, who is quite old, dies, and then that's it. So I've been expecting the place to go soon, and quite suddenly. There is no way to tell if this is it.

There are actually a number of bars in the area, but as the last Eater commentator applies, most of them are pretty crappy and a few rise to the level of mediocre. So the closing of Subway will be a big hit to that part of Manhattan.

Carol Gardens said...

Hey, Ed! What other cheap bar would you recommend on the Upper East Side? I suppose if you walk south there are some Irish bars below 57th east of lex, but I have a hard time finding someplace around here to recommend.

aaronlws said...

i love the subway inn as much as anyone, but it is a dive and a dive that doesn't care that is a dive. that is why a lot of us like it...but it does not make for much of a business plan.

if this place closes it is b/c the owners are not able to change with the times...or change anything for that matter. again, that may be why a lot of us like the place, but you cannot be surprised when / if it goes away.

Ed said...

"Hey, Ed! What other cheap bar would you recommend on the Upper East Side?"

I don't think there is anything cheap, you are doing well to get moderately priced and not too fratty.

One of the curious things about the area is that there seem to be no bars at all for about eight blocks north of 63rd Street, or many other businesses that stay open past 6 PM. Someday I'd like to find out why. I think it has to do with the high number of old people who live there, in proximity to the hospitals. It feels very strange to walk those blocks at night, since there is no one on the street and little life.

Between the 70s and the 90s, in what I guess is Yorkville, there are a number of bars and quite a few restaurants, though you have to stay east of 3rd Avenue. Nothing but really high priced restaurants and hotels between 3rd Avenue and the park. Some of the bars on the side streets are good low key neighborhood places.

Then there is, or used to be, a cluster of places on 1st Avenue between 57th and 63rd Street, though I've noticed a number of closed establishments recently. Then there is another cluster of mostly frat and a few Irish bars in the low 50s, mostly on Second Avenue. PJ Clarks is on 3rd Avenue in the low 50s, its the sort of place where you are better off going during the day. The Carriage House on 59th, between 2nd and 3rd, is a decent neighborhood Irishy place and probably the closest alternative to Subway. That's pretty much it, though the blocks around Subway has several restaurants that either have actually been, or could be, subject to "who goes there" columns.

Kirsten said...

Good news--I've been stopping by every night after work, and tonight it was finally reopened (http://campl.us/gEBy) Hurrah!