Palace Café is a bar you love because it, among all the changes happening in Greenpoint, remains unchanged. “At least there’s Palace Café!” you might say to your friend complaining about Greenpoint’s waterfront development and steady loss of untouched charm. But, now, we’re losing this, too. On September 3, Palace Café will close, according to Gothamist.
Palace Café, nestled on the corner of Nassau Avenue and Russell Street, across from McGolrick Park, was established in 1933. It has been owned and run by the same family the entire time, and was built, oddly yet gorgeously, in the Tudor style. The bar is filled with priceless commodities because they are literally worth very little money: a boxy TV that usually plays the game, American beers on tap for less than five dollars, a juke box filled with metal music. It’s representative of the Greenpoint that artists moved to in the 90s because Manhattan was too expensive, and even into the early 2000s when it remained a refuge that, for unknowable reasons, seemed forgotten. The bar’s disregard for upgrade was its main attraction.
On a recent Tuesday night I walked into Palace Café. I really needed a cheap beer because, surprise, I was stressed after a long day. I couldn’t find my money, though, and the bartender was pissed about it. I owed, I believe, five dollars. I rummaged through my bag, and rummaged through my bag some more, but I was not ultimately worried because I knew it was in there, somewhere. Just one other couple sat at the bar who did not currently need the bartender’s service, but about that she did not give a damn. I was going to have to leave if I did not come up with my money at that very moment, she told me. In the knick of time I produced it, and placed it triumphantly on the bar. She had no smile for me. After I downed my beer, I left a four dollar tip. The Palace played no one else’s game, only its own, and for that I loved them very much.
There is no official word about why they are closing. Gothamist posted an image of a note, tacked to the door, saying they will host one last party (“FREE FOOD”!) on September 24 (after they’ve already closed, apparently) from 4p to 12am. “Thank you very much for your patronage all these years.” the note reads.
Obviously, the pleasure was ours.
Getting shmasty at the Palace, 2014
Lead image via Facebook