Devoted regulars raised a glass in tribute to the comfortable Fort Greene joint Moe’s at its closing last Wednesday — and the new operators may be willing to drink to that.
Hundreds packed into the corner bar at Lafayette and S. Portland avenues for its official “last call,” to mourn the loss of a decade-old bar famous for its being a real neighborhood bar.
“Moe’s feels like family,” said gin-sipping regular Maya Ogunusi. “It’s relaxed and ethnically diverse — and that’s what Fort Greene is all about.”
New operators — who first planned to morph the bar into an upscale club called “Navada” — now say they agree.
They promise to keep the watering hole as-is, saying they might keep Moe’s good name.
“It already has a formula that works,” said Calvin Clark, who inked a lease for the $1,100-per month venue last week. “I want it to stay friendly and unpretentious.”
The new lease comes after previous operators were “priced out” of the venue a couple months ago, causing a battle with the landlord and subsequent media blitz.
Clark got word the space was about to free up and, with a partner, hatched a plan to remodel the interior into something a bit more posh. Regulars were appalled.
“This is Brooklyn — don’t try to be Manhattan,” said Lakie-Karriem Grant, who likes to watch basketball games at Moe’s. “You do that and you lose your identity.”
Clark now says that he wants to keep it “a neighborhood bar” though he wants to serve appetizers. It will likely open on Memorial Day weekend with a big bash.
Landlord James McDowell shed a bit more light, adding that Clark still plans to give the place an interior makeover.
“I don’t know exactly what his intentions are,” he said. “But I know he will have his own twist.”
©2011 Community News Group
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