It is with a great sadness to announce that one of Bushwick’s oldest bars, Kings County Saloon (1 Knickerbocker Ave, previously at 218 Seigel St), will be closing its doors for good on September 27.
“It is true that we are closing the bar,” emailed us today the owner Jesse Levitt. “Our last official night is not until Sunday 9/27. [We’ll] have a big party all that weekend – everyone is invited! We will be open for a few special events in October, but regular bar hours will end on the 27th.”
Jesse further explained that it was the changes in Bushwick that were behind the reasons why he decided to close the business, “To sum it up I would say that the neighborhood is changing quickly and we didn’t feel it was possible to attract a customer base without giving up too many of the essential things that are important to our identity as Kings County.”
Jesse bought Kings County Bar established in 2006 about eight years ago. Last year in June, the original Kings County Bar at 218 Seigel Street closed due to a rent increase, which was no longer feasible for the bar. The owners resuscitated the bar and moved it to a new location at 1 Knickerbocker Ave, a building which they also owned. Renaming it Kings County Saloon, the bar replaced an upscale restaurant named 1 Knickerbocker, which was also owned by the same owner.
Long before Jesse Levitt took up the ownership of 1 Knickerbocker Ave, the building housed The Arctic Bar – a 1900’s bar/brothel where beer cost a nickel and the attentions of a professional woman didn’t cost much more.
Jesse revealed that a new food and drink business will be coming to the space although he couldn’t provide us with specific details or a timeline.
The closure of Kings County Saloon means that we’re also losing the one and only annual Smallest Penis Pageant (seriously, is there a bar in New York that dares to pick up this tradition?) Additional Kings County specialties that will be missed and remembered fondly include jalapeño poppers, The Knickerbocker Hotel cocktail, happy hour till 8PM, a really good house burger, amazing bands playing on the reg, the fact that the DJ played George Michael’s “Freedom” more often than not, and a fabulous old-fashioned game Hugs Before Tugs. And naturally the unpretentious and super-friendly bar staff.
To start mourning, run to Kings County starting tonight and follow their Facebook page for special events leading towards their closing on September 27, 2015.