After much speculation about its closure, the famed Mars Bar ceased operation today. Sitting outside of the dive, owner Hank Penza told us he shut the place down on Monday afternoon.
“I closed up,” he said. “I don’t want to be bothered.”
Penza said this is it for the bar’s location on the corner of Second Avenue and East First Street, but added that, “we’re opening in another place soon.” Update after the jump.
When asked why he decided to close, Penza said, “I got tired.”
We first saw the news on EV Grieve. When they called bar to inquire, the person who answered the phone said the closure was only temporary, and that “the health department shut us down.” Penza said he didn’t know anything about the Department of Health’s involvement.
We put in an inquiry with the DOH’s press office and will update if we hear more.
Update: 6:28 p.m.
EV Grieve now has that the Mars Bar is indeed closed for good. They write: “George is frantically taking down art.”
Update 2, from Susan Craig, press secretary for the NYC Department of Health, 7:27 p.m.
The Mars Bar was closed because inspectors observed approximately 850 fruit flies in various areas of the restaurant and in a bottle of alcohol. Additionally, there were conditions conducive to a pest infestation including standing water on a floor near an ice machine, water logged wooden flooring and bottles in a box with fluid in them. The bar did not have a food protection certificate holder present, had a cracked and chipped wall, unsecured gas cylinders and did not have proper test kits for chemical sanitizing of dishware.
Update: 11:29 a.m.
Now hear the eulogy over at Sound of the City.