6. Coogan’s (Founded in 1985)
Founded in 1985, in the darkest days of the crack epidemic, Coogan’s played a pivotal role in establishing a shared sense of community necessary to turn the Washington Heights neighborhood around. Robert W. Snyder in the book Crossing Broadway, a detailed look at the recent history of Washington Heights and the richness of its immigrant community, wrote of Coogan’s: “They claimed the corner of 169th and Broadway and then, instead of defending it against all comers, invited in the whole world. . . . [It was] very Irish and very inclusive. Whoever you were, you could find a place at the bar, a table for dinner, and a picture on the wall that reminded you of someone you knew.”
Located at 4015 Broadway next to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital and the 168th Street A, C, and 1 subway stops, you were likely to dine or enjoy an after-work beer next to a doctor, an aspiring actor, an MTA employee, or a hospital visitor. In 2018, the actor Lin Manuel-Miranda helped the bar stave off a $40,000 rent increase by spurring New Yorkers to action — more than 15,000 people signed a petition to save the restaurant. Manuel-Miranda’s forthcoming film In the Heights, set in Washington Heights was originally slated to open this summer but has been delayed a year due to coronavirus.
One month after closing down temporarily due to to the coronavirus pandemic, beloved Washington Heights haunt Coogan’s closed down permanently. Owners Dave Hunt, Tess McDade and Peter Walsh wrote, “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.”