Coogan's, Washington Heights Bar Lin-Manuel Miranda Helped Save, Closing For Good

Broadway may be dark now, but it will come back at some point — the same can't be said for a bar that a Broadway star helped save from going dark just two years ago.

Coogan's, a neighborhood bar in Washington Heights, said that it will not survive the shutdown caused by COVID-19. The bar, like many others across the tri-state, has been closed since mid-March. It did try for a few days to offer take out and delivery items, but it's fate had already been sealed, according to a letter the owners of the bar wrote to their patrons on Monday.

"Ironically, this past March 17 would be the last time Coogan's closed its doors. We had hoped to open them again but sadly that is not possible," the owners Dave, Tess and Peter wrote in a letter posted on Facebook. "To all our Coogan's family that extends from a corner in New York's Washington Heights to so many in near and distant places, we offer love and best wishes that remain safe, strong and healthy for now and ever."

Actor and director Lin-Manuel Miranda, along with his family and other elected officials, helped save the 35-year-old bar from shuttering just two years ago after a proposed rent hike.

The bar opened in 1985 when Washington Heights -- and the city at large -- was a seedier place. But it quickly became a hub for firefighters, cops, doctors and nurses who worked at nearby New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center, as well as the diverse community where Miranda is from.

The owners gave a special tribute to the medical workers, who made Coogan's "their home away from home. Thank you for who you are and what you do. The world depends on you!" the letter read.

Coogan's is located just down the street from New York Road Runners’ Armory indoor track and field facility, also bills itself as “America’s No. 1 runner’s restaurant.” Coogan's said runners from Olympic 100m gold medalist Carl Lewis to weekend warriors training for its yearly Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k race have filled the bar on a regular basis.

Other famous patrons of the bar include former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and singer Alicia Keys.

In its goodbye letter, the bar said its "first priority will be the security and future of our staff," encouraging patrons and friends to reach out and "help this quality group of the best possible people in talen, hard work and integrity obtain jobs and employment."

"What was made at Coogan's were warm relationships, easy smiles and hearty laughter. If you came in a stranger, you immediately became a friend and left as an "old timer". We were able to share a full glass of love with a large plate of honesty in a neighborhood fill of the most wonderful people you could ever hope to meet," the letter read.

"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," the owners wrote.

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