Posted in music | venues on January 3, 2011

Mars Bar

Sad news you may have read back in December:

As the [LES] became gentrified -- a Steve Madden shoe store and the posh Rivington Hotel have helped bring a commercial sheen to the artsy quarter -- Max Fish and Pink Pony remained popular.

But [in December], the two Ludlow Street colonizers announced they will shutter Jan. 30 because of a steep rent increase. And nearby, Mars Bar, at First Street and Second Avenue in the East Village, is also set to close as plans to redevelop the site into a mixed-income condo move forward.

Mars Bar -- a dingy saloon famous for cheap brew, punk rock and its lack of toilet paper -- could reopen in two years but would have to negotiate a market-rate rent with the developer. The community board is scheduled to vote on the proposal later this month.

"The Lower East Side felt like it was over a while ago, but [Max Fish] is a very symbolic closing," said author Richard Price, who used the neighborhood as a backdrop to his best seller "Lush Life."

"There are no neighborhoods in Manhattan anymore. South of Harlem, it feels like a bunch of districts where rich people can crash." [NY Post]

That said, the LES still remains the best neighborhood for live music outside of Brooklyn thanks to Cake Shop, Pianos, Living Room, Rockwood Music Hall, Arlene's Grocery, Mercury Lounge, the Delancey, and the new Tammany Hall to name a few.

And as far as Mars Bar... I'll be sad to see it go, but like CBGB before it, does it even matter at this point? No disrespect to the owners, but Mars Bar sticks out like a sore thumb now that everything around it has already changed. It hasn't felt the same for a long time, even if it still looks exactly the same on the inside.

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Comments (55)

Love those yuppies.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:21 PM

No mention of Bowery Ballroom in that list of music venues in the area? Did they not pay you guys this month or something?

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:24 PM

Yeah!!!!! A shitty bar bites the dust.

Fuck Mars Bar and fuck its owners. That place sucks major ASS!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:24 PM

nooooo!! mars bar! don't go!!!!...god i love that hell-hole! the commercialization & glass-condo-ization of nyc is out of control. makes me wanna puke. (and where better to puke than mars bar?)

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:25 PM

the fact that the Mars Bar is closing has already made 2011 the worst year ever

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:26 PM

Let there be John Vervatos stores on every corner!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:31 PM

@ 12:24...... Bowery Ballroom is in the Bowery

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:37 PM

^ Which is pretty close to (or may be considered part of) LES. But no big deal, semantics bla bla bla...

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:44 PM

The thing I will miss most about Mars Bar is the countless blow jobs I've gotten from Heavy Metal sluts in the bathroom.
Damn... RIP Mars Bar!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:48 PM

I'll miss the bullet hole in the window.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:49 PM

I recall one time passed out in front of mars bar bleeding in the rain, Julian Casablanca offered me a glass of water, which I took a sip out of and chucked it at him saying, "this isn't bourbon!"

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:53 PM

I'll miss the nougat, caramel, and almonds coated in delicious milk chocolate.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:54 PM

Where will Ramiro hang out now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMBAoHjrJJ8

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:57 PM

Mars Bar sucked. Good riddance.

Bellevue and Sibera were much better dive bars.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 1:14 PM

come on. about 99% of the posters on this board live out of town and have never even stepped in Mars Bar or Max Fish.

Clowns.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 1:18 PM

Max Fish hasn't been worth going to for a good 10 years.... over run by NYUers

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 1:18 PM

I like Mars Bar and all, but $4 Buds are not "cheap beer".

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 1:29 PM

we need another duane reade

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 1:49 PM

LES has been 2X+ the price of Wburg, for a room half the size, as long as I've apt hunted here.

Posted by brandonmetal | January 3, 2011 1:51 PM

Marianne Faithful prefered Mars Bar too.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 2:02 PM

I hope that this makes all of you twats whom deride posters as being from suburbia finally realize that New York is just one gigantic fucking lifestyle mall. This city is as much of a falacy as American democracy.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:01 PM

^ True.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:05 PM

3:01 shut up and go back to making coffee at Starbucks.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:17 PM

@3:01 speaks the truth, sadly. New York City is dead...

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:32 PM

NYC is dead???
You are obviously out of the loop. NYC still trumps all cities by 1000% in every single aspect of existence. You are just not knowing or keeping up with the ebb and flow of what's good in town.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:36 PM

what's the last day mars bar will be open?

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:59 PM

NYC has definitely lost it's edge. This kind of shit will just continue until the entire city is yuppified.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:03 PM

Dug the Mars Bar, but you definitely ran the risk of getting felt up. Comes with the territory. You can't lament the passing of old New York and act like there aren't negatives to preserving it. Sad to see it go.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:13 PM

This city has been consistently transforming and re-inventing itself for many many decades. The one constant: a annual petulant fit of adolescent whinging about how edgy things used to be (from people who didn't live here then).

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 4:15 PM

Places are important, but not as important as what people are doing. I loved CBGB, Coney Island High, Wetlands, Continental (sometimes), Nightengales, and every other shithole venue where I saw an awesome show.

But people are still making things happen (albeit in Wburg, Bushwick, wherever). And if you don't agree with me, make your own shit happen you fucking whiners and stop treating NYC as a cultural Walmart.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 5:22 PM

3:01--go back to Utah, asshole.
the rest of you can go on talking about how cool it is to pay 2500 a month for a studio with a one-year lease. Morons. None of you fucking get it.

Posted by djm | January 3, 2011 5:52 PM

>>And as far as Mars Bar... I'll be sad to see it go, but like CBGB before it, does it even matter at this point? No disrespect to the owners, but Mars Bar sticks out like a sore thumb now that everything around it has already changed. It hasn't felt the same for a long time, even if it still looks exactly the same on the inside.
>>

Ouch. What a bleak endorsement of gentrification . . . but the same goes for Bushwick, with its overpriced foodie haunts and juice bars.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 6:07 PM

Who the fuck pays 2500 a month for a studio? Written like somebody who's never actually been to NYC but "totally heard all about how expensive it is out there."

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 6:43 PM

I was recently in Chicago for a week. Their dive bars were better than NY's for sure. Besides closing earlier, I can't think of a negative. Much less of a yuppie vibe.

However, Chicago has the most douchetastic selection of sports bars with gigantic TVs. There must be thousands of these. Some have TVs at each table.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 7:22 PM

oh god, not TVs and sports. The horror!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 7:51 PM

Rent will tear us apart.

Posted by Dog Armstrong | January 3, 2011 7:52 PM

I will miss Marz, although my time as a regular there was 1993-2005 or so, with an occasional return every unspecified chunk of time seemingly matching yet another price raise at the bar. I remember joking at a new years party in the loft upstairs in 2000 when the bar was first rumored to be closing, that they better knock the building down unannounced during the night or else Felix, a deaf-mute denizan immortalized on the Barnyard Playboys "Dumbass on a Rampage" cd cover, would chain himself outside the bar. That it lasted another decade while the block was razed warms my heart.

Posted by David Gwiazdowski | January 3, 2011 8:31 PM

I haven't stepped in the place for years.
Is Felix still around? Where will he go?

Posted by JK | January 3, 2011 9:19 PM

The whole neighborhood of the Lower East Side is a joke now.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:55 PM

3:01--go back to Utah, asshole.
the rest of you can go on talking about how cool it is to pay 2500 a month for a studio with a one-year lease. Morons. None of you fucking get it.

Posted by djm | January 3, 2011 5:52 PM

Shops on St. Marks for punk outfits Im sure.

The same will eventually slowly happen to most of Bushwick too as people crowd together making it a noticeable, desirable place until they get priced out as well. Hope not myself but theres already condos creeping in.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 2:12 AM

"None of you fucking get it" Well, enlighten us, asshole.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 9:23 AM

RIP Mars Bar. :(

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 11:45 AM

Who gives a shit about Bushwick? Bushwick is horrible and in the middle of nowhere.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 12:25 PM

Does anyone still go to Manhattan?

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 12:31 PM

I went to Mars bar only one time but one of my buddies loves the place. All I remember is some drunk guy harassing me and talking about all the acid he ever took, he kept yelling at me when I went to the juke box but shut up when I put on Lightning Bolt. I don't even like Lightning Bolt that much but it says a lot about a place if they're in the juke box.

Posted by Nate | January 4, 2011 1:37 PM

I hope that this makes all of you twats whom deride posters as being from suburbia finally realize that New York is just one gigantic fucking lifestyle mall. This city is as much of a falacy as American democracy.
^^
this is true for Manhattan but not for Brooklyn, as many parts of it remain in tact and various parts of it are changing for the better. note: that I'm not talking about Willamsburg.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 3:48 PM

Who the fuck would live in Bushwick? What a smelly, industrial cesspool.

Posted by Anonymous | January 4, 2011 4:29 PM

Didn't the Yeah Yeah Yeahs meet at Mars Bar? Nick, Karen, fork over some dough to keep the shitty Mars Bar going for future-NYC-band-meeting-stories, willya?! Sheesh!

Posted by Anonymous | January 5, 2011 6:26 PM

white people destroy everything that is out of the ordinary . " I HOPE NEWYORK CITY BURNS , YOU ARE DEFINETLY THE REASON . GO BACK TO IDAHO".

Posted by johnny nyc | January 7, 2011 6:16 PM

3:01 is spot on. While NYC is still one of the best cities in the country, it is a far cry from its prime. Unless you lived here pre-Giuliani, you wouldn't get it. The difference is shocking.

Posted by Anonymous | January 7, 2011 6:39 PM

Oooooh. Another nail in the coffin. Pretty soon, there won't be much reason to stay in this city. There's not much left that's very cool about it, hahah.

Posted by Jamie | January 11, 2011 1:03 PM

this is absolutely the end result of suburbia and the midwest moving into NYC. If the City was still only full of New Yorkers all these cool places would still be open.

Fuck you all. Go back home where you belong and stay in your boring small towns and leave us alone.


Posted by Anonymous | January 11, 2011 11:00 PM

I'd say about 3% of the interesting and creative people in NYC are actually natives, so fuck off with all that bullshit.

Posted by Anonymous | January 11, 2011 11:54 PM

The haters on this page have no clue what kind of history Mars Bar had. It is sad when a neighborhood landmark goes away but the bottom line is cities change. Those who suffer for it are usually the lower class that are forced out of their neighborhoods by developers. Once upon a time Canal street was - well - a canal and there used to be a train running down Bowery. In the 70's NY was a murderous, dirty shit-hole and it slowly, painfully dragged itself out of that. Things do change and don't last forever but to rejoice that rents are going up and great dives are being priced out is simply moronic. There is a difference between urban development and uncontrolled greed driving the prices of real estate. As of now there is no regulation and you are constantly hearing about rich people from overseas coming to New York to buy our homes. I ask where does New York come to bat for New Yorkers? If you have paid city and state taxes here for say 20 years - live here - shop here and work here, shouldn't you get SOME kind of break outside of your CUNY tuition being lower than someone from outside New York?

Posted by the Rev Spyro | January 14, 2011 10:48 AM

So, if I am understanding, you are saying that Mars Bar is no longer relevant because the rest of the LES is so gentrified? In my mind, that has made it MORE relevant, MORE important, the last remaining shred of gritty, punk rock NYC. I hate to be a snotty NYC native, but I think that people that didn't grow up in the city really don't have an appreciation for what it was and seem pretty fine with it being turned into a pile of condos and fancy stores, and with everyone getting priced out.

I agree with the above poster; I know that cities change, but the sped up hyper-change that NYC has experienced in the last decade is BONKERS. Seriously, sometimes I get lost in the freaking LES now, and I pretty much spent my entire childhood there. And I am only freaking 30!

Anyway, Mars Bar was the site of many of the most ridiculous, wonderful and horrible nights of my life. I practically grew up in that joint and will miss it a long, long time. There's really nowhere else like it. Even if you hate it, THAT you must admit.

Posted by Rachel | January 28, 2011 9:02 PM

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