13. Pegu Club (Opened 2005)

Pegu Club

Pegu Club, a world-famous SoHo craft cocktail bar, has shut its doors permanently, just months before its 15th anniversary. Owned by Audrey Saunders, one of the best-known bartenders in the country, Pegu Club opened in 2005 and served a variety of carefully constructed drinks, such as their namesake cocktail with gin, lime, Orange Curacao, Angostura, and orange bitters. Other popular drinks included their Earl Grey MarTEAni with Earl Grey-infused gin, lemon, and raw egg whites, their Jamaican Firefly with dark rum and ginger beer, and Cucumber-Mint Creole.

Saunders, who previously worked at places like Blackbird, Beacon, and Bemelmans Bar, crafted a cocktail menu using products then unavailable in New York, like Rittenhouse rye whiskey, creating her own drinks like the Gin-Gin Mule. Pegu Club also offered a number of high-quality small plates like smoked trout deviled eggs, crispy squid, and sloppy duck served in tropical fruit barbecue sauce. The dimly lit bar on the second floor of a Houston Street building was known for its bamboo floors, comfortable leather chairs, and rather loud atmosphere.

“Our lease was due to expire on October 31st, and we had every intention of staying put until then,” Saunders wrote in a letter. “We were also looking forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary on August 29th in a grand way. But Covid-19 has taken every bit of the life we had out of us, and a soft reopening following NYC guidelines would not be enough to sustain us entering into the summer months — historically, Pegu’s summer business has been as slow as molasses.”