Residents of DUMBO and nearby areas were in shock on Friday upon the sudden news that longtime bar-restaurant favorite reBar, which occupied a large portion of the first and second floors of a former industrial building on Front St., had abruptly closed.
The Gothamist blog displayed a photo of the front door at 147 Front St. with a sign, “reBar is Closed and Bankrupt. DO NOT ENTER.” Gothamist added that managers were sent a brief email saying, “ReBar is bankrupt and closed. Please dispose of your keys and do not enter the premises. Please forward to any staff not included.” Its website, rebarnyc.com, was also down on Friday afternoon.
Some employees apparently did not receive the email; and when the Eagle called, several were present. One, a server who identified himself as Adam, said that the bar indeed was closed, and that no one had been able to get in touch with owner Jason Stevens.
“We’ll try to continue with the weddings that are scheduled for this weekend, but after that, we don’t know,” he said. When asked whether the bar had financial problems, he added, “None that we know about.” The Eagle was not able to reach Stevens on Friday despite repeated calls.
ReBar, which opened in 2006, was very popular not only as a bar-restaurant but also as a venue for weddings and other social affairs. Many of its customers were young people who worked in the area’s high-tech and artistic industries. For awhile, reBar even showed films in its own mini-movie theater, which it called reRun. In addition, artwork by local painters hung on the walls of its hallway.
ReBar was known for its wide variety of alcoholic beverages and its innovative menu. Its offerings included Smoked Duck Carparaccio, Fresh Egg Fetuccini, a Polenta appetizer, Baked Brie with Fig Jam and Heirloom Bean and Beef Chili. It also featured more common offerings such as Macaroni and Cheese and the “ReBurger.”
Reviews of reBar on Yelp were mainly positive, earning the bar an overall four out of five stars. Henrik Krogius, former editor of the Brooklyn Heights Press, told the Eagle, “I’m very surprised. They had a terrific Cobb salad. It didn’t have bacon in it, but it was very sumptuous.”
There were several comments on the closing on Gothamist, ranging from “Given the way the closing was (so poorly) communicated to the employees it sounds like Capricious Restaurateur Syndrome” to “ I am supposed to get married there in July, and I’m having trouble finding any information at all.”
ReBar was also closed briefly in 2011 after a health inspection, according to Gothamist. At the time, Stevens partially blamed his problems on property owner Joshua Guttman. The Eagle was not able to reach Guttman or his company, Chatov Realty, on Friday afternoon due to the Jewish Sabbath.