If you’ve been meaning to stop by Schiller’s Liquor Bar before it closes, this week is your last chance. Keith McNally’s Lower East Side bistro serves its last meal on Sunday night, Aug. 13.
The McNally family was offered a new lease at 131 Rivington St., but decided against sticking it out due to a steep rent increase. The closure was announced in May, giving loyal customers plenty of time to say their goodbyes.
McNally tangled with Community Board 3 and some members of the local community when he opened the bar/restaurant in 2003. While the feeling was not unanimous, his friendly staff won over most of the neighborhood (us included) with a determination to always treat locals like VIPs. When you pulled up a bar stool at Schiller’s, you felt right at home. The bartender might not have known your name, but he knew exactly what you liked to drink.
We spent some time at the bar Saturday night. Some items are starting to disappear from the menu, but it doesn’t really matter. Schiller’s was never about the food anyway. As noted on the restaurant’s Instagram feed, the 7-day countdown has begun.
Schiller’s Liquor Bar. Photo by Andrew Kist.
Schiller’s Liquor Bar, a fixture on Rivington Street for 14 years, is closing in August. An email blast went out today from the restaurant, according to Eater, which reported the news a short time ago.
Restauranteur Keith McNally says Schiller’s has reached the end of its lease. In an interview last year, McNally said the Lower East Side outpost is not a money maker but a personal favorite in his food/nightlife empire just the same.
More to come.
UPDATE 5/16: McNally’s daughter, Sophie, told Eater that the landlord offered a new lease but the rent was too high. “We simply cannot afford it,” she said.
UPDATE 2:09 p.m. The closing is now reflected on Schillers’ social media feeds:
All photos by Andrew Kist.
When it opened it 2003, Schiller’s Liquor Bar was a place lots of locals wanted to hate. But the Keith McNally nightlife spot on Rivington Street gradually won over many Lower East Side residents, including Andrew Kist. A photographer who has lived on the LES since 1989, he was “incensed” when Schiller’s arrived, seeing “it as the beginning of the end (for the Lower East Side) and the ultimate expression of bourgeoise imperialism.”