The Back Fence Bar to Close After 68 Years on Bleecker Street

By Andrea Swalec on July 2, 2013 12:52pm 

MANHATTAN — Known for its nightly live music, Bleecker Street bar The Back Fence will shutter this fall after 68 years in business, its owner said Tuesday.

The planned move on Sept. 30 comes because of a high rent increase, owner Ernie Scinto said Tuesday morning.

"The lease was up and there just wasn't really any way for me to renew it," said Scinto, whose parents opened the 155 Bleecker St. bar in 1945.

"I'm going to miss the place," the 83-year-old New Jersey resident added, declining to disclose about the rent.

With kitschy red-and-white checkered tablecloths and a small stage, the Greenwich Village bar, which is now planning a party for its final week in business, has hosted countless musicians and served a mixed crowd of locals, tourists and NYU students.

Fans took to Facebook to mourn the impending closure of the bar, which was featured in the 2007 book "1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. & Canada Before You Die."

"I have literally spent half of my life performing at this club. It is the first club I played when I moved to NY," Facebook user Greg Aulden wrote. "It has been my touchstone, my base of operations, my home. I can't imagine how much I'll miss it."

The Midtown-based property firm Trevi Retail bought the four-story building at the northwest corner of Bleecker and Thompson streets in May 2012 for $6.85 million, property records show.

Company executive Johnny McCarthy said the space would be available later this year at "market rate," declining to discuss the terms of the current lease.

Scinto said he would like to see another operator carry on the Back Fence legend.

"If somebody wanted to keep the Back Fence name, I'd talk with them about that," he said.

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