Coogan’s in Washington Heights closes after 35 years

April 21, 2020

Coogan’s Restaurant in Washington Heights, via CityRealty

An iconic Irish pub is closing its doors after 35 years in Washington Heights because of the coronavirus pandemic. The owners of Coogan’s restaurant and bar, located on Broadway between 168th and 169th Streets, announced on Monday “a fond farewell” in a Facebook post. “Ironically, this past March 17 would be the last time Coogan’s closed its doors,” owners Dave Hunt, Tess O’Connor McDade, and Peter Walsh wrote. “We had hoped to open them again but sadly that is not possible.”

When Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered restaurants and bars to close last month in response to the coronavirus, Coogan’s tried to stay open for delivery and takeout. On March 20, the owners decided to close with the hopes of “throwing the best reopening party ever.” But a month later, and with the state’s “pause” order extended until May 15, the pub has to shutter permanently.

The bar, which first opened in 1985, was in danger of closing in 2018 after its landlord raised the rent by $40,000 per month. But thanks to support from thousands of regulars, including “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, a deal was reached between Coogan’s and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the owner of the building, to keep the bar open.

“What was made at Coogan’s were warm relationships, easy smiles and hearty laughter,” the owners wrote on Facebook. “If you came in a stranger, you immediately became a friend and left as an ‘old-timer.'”

They added: “We were a place to find out you weren’t alone but if you wanted to be, your space was sacred. And together at Coogan’s, we became stronger and powerful, with an urge to share and offer ourselves with deeds that gave us, in return, the realization of life and the essence of beauty.”


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