Good ol’ Hanks isn’t dried up after all - Neighborhood watering hole could have a place in new development

The Brooklyn Paper
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A gin-soaked dive bar that is popular with hipsters and country music fans alike may yet live to sing another day.

Developers planning to build on the site of Hanks Bar, on Third and Atlantic Avenues, stated last week that they are willing to incorporate the watering hole as part of their project.

The bad news is that the Community Board 2 Land Use Committee last week gave a unanimous thumbs-down to recommending that the developer, R&E Brooklyn, get a zoning variance to enlarge the current zoning on their two-lot project.

The R&E proposal is a seven-story mixed-use commercial and residential building that includes 12 700-square-foot apartments on the upper six floors, with have Hanks incorporated into the bottom floor.

The current zoning permits a streetwall height of 60 feet and a maximum building height of 70 feet.

The R&E development would have a streetwall height of 64 feet and a maximum building height of 88 feet.

“The neighborhood probably doesn’t want to set a precedent where other developers would do what we did,” said R&E owner Rolf Grimsted, who runs the business with his wife, Emily Fisher, and lives nearby on Pacific Street.

“This is a unique situation and every variance is unique to the lot and the environmental context of the building,” he added.

Grimsted said Hanks still has six years left on their lease and he is amenable to working with tavern owners John Brien and Julie Ipcar.

It is not feasible to have them remain in the current building, but Hanks could be incorporated on the bottom floor or the cellar of the new development, Grimsted said.

While the full community board will weigh in on the matter at their June meeting, ultimately the city’s Board of Standard and Appeals will render a final decision.

Hanks features live music most nights of the week and has very affordable drink prices.

The watering hole, formally known as the Doray Tavern, is close to a century old and was known as a local hangout for Native American steel workers.

Hanks also doled out free drinks to those fleeing the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Neither Brien nor Ipcar, who also own the Last Exit in Brooklyn pub on Atlantic Avenue, could be reached at press time, but the barmaid who answered the phone expressed confidence in the watering hole’s fate.

“As of now we haven’t heard anything yet, but we plan to be here for awhile,” she said.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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