The Funky Motor City Bar Is Closing After Two Decades In Lower Manhattan

June 26, 2013, 4:42 PM

Bad news for fans of Detroit-theme dives on the Lower East Side of New York: The famed Motor City Bar shuts in a few days.

The 20-year-old establishment on Ludlow Street opened when the neighborhood was decidedly not gentrified, and it was an early bellwether of Detroit's growing buzz-worthiness.

But since 1993, money and Ivy League grads have poured in, opening lots of expensive and cutting-edge bars and restaurants. Motor City Bar was known for its funkiness and down-home vibe. 

As Time Out New York once wrote: "This place has been around since Ludlow Street was as burned-out as, well, Detroit. The bartenders at this car-themed dive (see the automobile seats and hubcaps on the walls) are still pulling pints of Yuengling for a rock & roll crowd. There’s no jukebox, but who needs one when you’ve got an old guy in the corner spinning all the Bowie your heart desires?"

According to Eater New York, the wake was a blast:

"The 20-year-old Ludlow Street rock club Motor City Bar hosted a packed farewell party last night. Bowery Boogie has pictures of the party, which kicked off in the afternoon and rolled till late in the evening. The bar will stay open through the end of the week. The landlord did not give the owners the option to renew their lease in February, but they were given an extension through the end of June."

Elie, a University of Michigan grad who posts with just his first name, reports with Bowery Boogie's six photos:

"So sad that Motor City Bar is leaving the Lower East Side. It’s depressing to talk about. Yesterday afternoon was the official closing party for the twenty-year-old rock club, but they’ll remain open through the end of the week.

"Motor was jammed for the funeral party, so to speak. Grizzled metalheads, punk rockers, and bikers from all over returned to the Hell Square that no longer wants them. A series of bands played short sets for the over-capacity crowd; beer flowed like a torrent; condensation dripped from the ceiling."

Read more:  Bowery Boogie

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