Last call: Beloved honky-tonk bar Hank’s Saloon to close next year

Final countdown: Hank’s Saloon owner Julie Ipcar, right, announced Wednesday she will close the beloved Boerum Hill honky-tonk bar next year because the building’s owner will likely redevelop the property into residences.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Hank’s for the memories!

The owner of Boerum Hill bar Hank’s Saloon will close the century-old watering hole next year because developers plan to raze the beloved Third Avenue pub in order to make way for what will likely be new residences, she announced on Nov. 15.

“Alas my friends, it seems that time has come — the developer is ready to build, plans will be filed, and Hank’s Saloon will have to close at the end of next year,” proprietor Julie Ipcar said in a Facebook post.

It’s not the first time that the prospect of development loomed over barkeeps at the historic establishment, which was originally a hangout for Native American ironworkers called Doray Tavern before becoming the honky-tonk dive that current patrons flock to for live music.

In 2007, then-owners Emily Fisher and Rolf Grimsted wanted to build a seven-story condo building atop the bar between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street, but their plan fell through when the local community board panned it.

And in 2011, the liquor-slinging saloon was set to be auctioned off along with two nearby buildings after Fisher and Grimsted failed to pay their mortgage on it, again fueling fears it would be replaced with a residential complex.

But a judge stopped the foreclosure auction days before the bar was scheduled to hit the block, and a new owner bought the trio of properties a year later, according to Ipcar, who said her current landlord has some big, mysterious plans in store.

“We knew it was only a matter of time before we got the news that we would have to close Hank’s and move along,” she said. “But surprisingly enough, the new landlord was kind enough to let us remain open for the past five years, and keep that corner lit until he was ready to build.”

Ipcar, who has a full year before she will permanently close the bar’s doors, said she plans to keep the good times rolling until its last day, however, and is cooking up some special celebrations for her longtime customers.

“We’re thinking about throwing some private parties for the regulars and locals and community,” she said.

The barkeep hopes to open another watering hole with the same name and atmosphere nearby, she said, but losing the historic haunt is a devastating blow to the nabe — and to its regulars who will be without their go-to spot to pull up a chair for a drink.

“I’m more sad about the actual physical space than the idea of Hank’s the bar — there’s so much history there and it’s really such a meeting place,” Ipcar said. “It’s a local spot and I don’t know where everyone’s going to go, because there’s no place like it really around anymore.”

Drink up at Hank’s Saloon (46 Third Ave. between Atlantic Avenue and Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, www.hankssaloon.com) Mon–Sat 11 am–4 am, Sun 12 pm–4 am.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Historic hangout: The honky-tonk haunt was once a gathering place for Native American ironworkers called the Doray Tavern.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

More from Around New York