Fans of the iconic Greenwich Village speakeasy Chumley’s at 86 Bedford Street will be excited to hear that not only has the liquor license been issued (following a community-supported petition), but also that the whole joint will finally re-open in mid-May of this year. The watering hole shuttered nine years ago following a wall collapse, but co-owner Jim Miller and partner Alessandro Borgognone, an owner of Sushi Nakawaza, are restoring the space. Earlier in February, the New York Times announced the news and the Chumley’s team released a DIY video on Saturday via Facebook showing some of the work. It’s the first peek most people have had of the space since the closing, and despite the home video quality, it’s pretty exciting.
“Perhaps the most positive minute at 86 Bedford in nine long years,” the caption of the video states, which shows a window piece being brought in to the space through the famed arch door. Borgognone told the Times earlier this month, “Fortunately, Jim salvaged most of the memorabilia.” Though the walls have been painted over, you can still sense the layout of the former space, with its exit onto Pamela’s Court, one of Greenwich Village’s hidden courtyards.
The property on which Chumley’s sits has seen the ebb and tide of history in New York City, serving as a blacksmithery and later as a stop on the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. The bar opened in 1922, with guests that included literary greats like F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Steinbeck, E.E. Cummings, and Willa Cather.
Stay tuned for more updates!