Back in November, I posted about the demise of the East Village's International Bar, watering hole of dive lovers everywhere. This week I noticed the windows have been papered over and I wondered what was happening. Tonight, I got the answer via the following very informative tip from commenter "branmasterflash," who apparently has the inside scoop. Branmaster assures us, "The International is in good hands." Finally, some good news!
Thanks, branmaster, whoever you are. I reproduce here your comment in full (if slightly copy edited):
"The International is being restored as a neighborhood bar. It will not be quite as gritty as it was, but it will be very similar to what it always was. There will also be some differences in the layout. The bar has been moved to the other side of the room and there is more room at the front of the bar. The proximity of the old bar so close to the front door was always a problem. Unfortunately the old bar was torn out when the new owners came in. However, and at great pain, the owners purchased the 30-year-old mahogany wood bar from the original Raccoon Lodge on First Avenue and have installed it in the International.
One of the new owners was a customer at the International. Another of the three owners has been a resident of the Lower East Side since 1956. So rest assured, the International is in good hands.
And, yes, the name will remain the same, the gold-leaf lettering in the window will be restored, and Leonard Cohen will still be on the juke. Old fans of the bar will feel at home.
The community board was unusually helpful in their quick approval of the new owners' liquor license application. That's because the new owners are committed to restoring the International Bar as a neighborhood landmark. The East Village has been overrun by 'trendy' bars and the community board has stopped issuing new license approvals. So give credit to the community board for recognizing that this particular application was an exception that deserved approval.
If all goes well with construction, permits, and licenses, the International Bar should re-open sometime in March."