Plans For Former Motor City Space Begin to Emerge

We’re learning a little bit more about the new operator hoping to take over the old Motor City space at 127 Ludlow St.

Outside Motor City, 127 Ludlow St.

Photo by H. Spencer Young.

Photo by H. Spencer Young.

From H. Spencer Young, the scene outside Ludlow Street bar Motor City.   It’s closing Sunday after almost 20 years on the LES; last night was the official goodbye party.

Saying So Long To Motor City Tonight

motor city flyer

















Motor City Puts “Final Nail in the (Ludlow Street) Coffin” June 23


Back in April, EV Grieve brought news of Motor City’s closing night party.  From our in-box this morning, more details:

The once vibrantly creative and bohemian Lower East Side is a thing of the past, with the final nail in the coffin coming next month, when Motor City Bar closes its doors for the last time.  The bar is open over the next few weeks (daily from 4pm to 4am), so make sure you stop by for a few cocktails in the meantime.  On Sunday, June 23rd, come and celebrate 17 years of sex, drugs and rock n roll with some of the best people you’d ever care to meet. Come and give a long kiss goodbye to the amazing owners, bartenders, dancers, DJs, Detroit memorabilia, and those infamous bathrooms!  A big thank you to all those who have lived, loved, laughed, cried, danced, yelled, fallen down, met future partners, found jobs, been inspired, or just generally had a great time in this wonderful establishment these past two decades. To say it will be sorely missed would be an understatement. RIP.  Note: The bar will remain open until midnight on the 30th of June, when the keys are finally handed over.

Looks like it’s shaping up as the summer of Ludlow Street farewells. We might argue that the “final nail” will come in late July when Max Fish shutters, but there’s no doubt Motor City’s farewell is a big moment.


Motor City Bar Confirms Closing

Motor City Bar, 127 Ludlow Street. Photo by Robert K. Chin.

It’s been a tough week so far for Ludlow Street.  Last night, we spoke with Francesca Romeo, co-owner of Motor City Bar, who confirmed reports that the beloved Lower East Side spot will be shutting down.  Yesterday a reader tipped off EV Grieve about the closure. Romeo, who runs rock-in-roll accented “Motor City” with partner Teresa Farnell, said their lease was up and the landlord did not give the option of renewal.

“Motor City” opened in 1996 when few businesses (other than pioneering LES haunt “Max Fish”) dared to make a go of it in the pre-gentrified neighborhood.  Romeo said the lease expires at the end of the month but it’s possible they’ll be able to stay in the space a little bit longer, and they’re keeping open the possibility of opening another New York bar.   Romeo, by the way, is an alum of our My LES series.  In addition to her title of “bar owner,” she’s a filmmaker and photographer and has been living in California, while making frequent trips back to NYC, in recent months.

Lower East Side Bar Crawl: Post-Sandy Style

Forgtmenot co-owner Abby Sierros was serving up candlelight, cold draft beer and steak frites last night.

The streets were dark and quiet last night, as most Lower East Side residents huddled in their homes or fled to friends and relatives, but for those who ventured out post-superstorm Sandy, food, drink and comaraderie were on tap at several bars and restaurants. Just as many locally owned coffee shops were functioning while Starbucks all over town remained locked up tight, the establishments that opened their doors to their neighbors last night were generally the ones owned by the neighbors. There were no honking taxis or stretch limos dropping off stiletto-clad visitors from outside the LES, no DJs on the scene, just locals chilling out with each other and killing time until life gets back to normal.

169 Bar on East Broadway ran a small generator and a big party.

At 169 bar on East Broadway shortly after 7 p.m., the beer-and-a-shot $3 happy hour special was flowing freely to patrons relieved to get out of the house for a while, and pleasantly surprised to find generator-powered lights, plenty of company and even a little food. At Forgetmenot on Division Street, co-owners Abbie and Paul Sierros had a system. Abbie was behind the candelabra-lit bar, cheerfully offering to cook anything from the remaining contents of her refrigerator: steak, french fries and eggs. Meanwhile, Paul kept the power coming via a long extension cord plugged into an electrical inverter in a van parked out front.

Inked Magazine Celebrates 2012 Calendar Release on the Lower East Side Tonight

Our friends at Fontana’s are hosting the final stretch of the Inked Magazine Sailor Jerry 2012 Calendar Release Party this evening at 11:30pm.  You can catch the Sailor Jerry “tour” with the 2012 Calendar Girls at 133 Essex (a.k.a. Sons of Essex) at 9:30p and at 127 Ludlow (a.k.a. Motor City) before they land at Fontana’s.  Should be a fun night for fans of Inked Magazine, or tattooed pin-up girls, or anyone who likes rum, for that matter.  FREE // 11:30p // 105 Eldridge St.

My LES: Francesca Romeo

Francesca Romeo – a self portrait in front of Motor City

We are back with our weekly feature spotlighting a wide variety of people who live and work on the Lower East Side.  If you would like to participate in “My LES”, please email us here.

What do you do?

I’m an artist (, primarily documentary photography ( and filmmaking, and I own Motor City Bar on Ludlow Street.

How long have you lived on the LES?

I’ve lived and/ or worked in the neighborhood for 12 years.

Favorite block in the hood?

East 7th between Ave. C and D, because the architecture is the most beautiful.