New York City

Beloved Washington Heights Bar Coogan's Closing After 33 Years

What to Know

  • Coogan's in Washington Heights announced it would be closing its doors in May after 33 years in business
  • The bar cites rising rents from landlord NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital as the reason for the closure
  • The bar has long been a community hub and post-race spot for runners competing at The Armory Track and Field complex down the street

Coogan’s, the Washington Heights pub that became a community stalwart and haven for runners of all paces over the last three decades, is closing.

The Irish bar and restaurant announced on Wednesday that it would be closing its doors later this year after its landlord, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, told its owners it would be increasing its monthly rent by $40,0000, "a level that is simply impossible" for Coogan's to survive. 

“Please know that Coogan's always put the community first and we will miss it tremendously,” the bar's partners said in a statement. “Our number one priority will be to secure employment for our employees when we arrive at the time to finally close.”

About 40 people work at Coogans; the partners who run the restaurant said they will use their connections to find new jobs for all of them.

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Coogan’s said it will stay open until its lease runs out in May. 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 NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the diverse Washington Heights community.

The bar, 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 (which has been on the New York Road Runner’s yearly calendar since 2013) have filled the bar on a regular basis.

“It is commonplace to see the world’s greatest athletes and Olympians hoisting a brew or chowing down while the owners ask about their families,” the bar said.

Other famous patrons of the bar include former Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and singer Alicia Keys.

And the community has already responded to the announcement. Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer said she planned to hold a rally at the bar at noon on Sunday, and more than 4,000 people had signed a petition on Wednesday demanding NewYork-Presbyterian lower rent so the pub can stay open. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a pair of closures from another two New York City staples: Langan’s, a beloved Irish pub in Times Square; and the Greenwich Village dive bar Grassroots Tavern. Both bars cited rising rents for their closures.

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