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Now this is troubling: Free booze for journalists could end at dive bar

The Brooklyn Paper
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A beloved Brooklyn dive bar is about to belly flop — unless the borough’s devoted drinkers can rescue it from the deep end.

Legendary barkeep Tracy Westmoreland’s newly opened watering hole the Manhattans is on the brink of closure because an investor has backed away from the Washington Avenue saloon.

“The money guy needs to get out for personal reasons — I’m looking for a guy to replace him,” said Westmoreland, whose most recent round of fiscal troubles were first reported on the blog Brooklyn the Borough.

The hirsute bartender is best known for running the Manhattan dive bar Siberia, adorning his Spartan bar with nothing but newspaper-covered windows, and maintaining a steadfast policy of providing journalists with free drinks.

“The last time I was there, he was literally forcing drinks into my hand — no one’s ever done that before,” said Brooklyn Paper reporter Mike McLaughlin, an adamant supporter of Westmoreland’s bar and its traditions.

But Westmoreland doesn’t blame the pending closure of his Prospect Heights pub on his famous generosity — he pins it on the departure of a financial backer who just lost a lucrative investment job.

“If I can get someone to buy him out, then it will go on forever,” said Westmoreland. “If not, we might close in a month.”

So the no-frills barkeep is encouraging loyal boozehounds — especially those with deep pockets — to help save the understated pub.

“It’s a great bar, it’s fun — and everyone loves a good cause,” he said.

And journalists love a good story (and a free beer after it).

The Manhattans [769 Washington Ave., between Sterling and St Johns places, no phone].

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