MURRAY HILL — Canz has gone bust.
After the Hooters-style bar opened just five months ago on Third Avenue in Murray Hill — without a valid liquor license — the revealing chain's sole Manhattan branch has quietly shut its doors.
Boxes and construction equipment were visible through the windows on a recent visit, and two banners now hang across the restaurant’s façade advertising a new establishment called Tavern on Third that will be "coming soon."
Gina Groh, general manager for the new bar between East 28th and 27th streets, said Canz a Citi Roadhouse closed about three weeks ago, although the chain’s other locations in Queens and Long Island remain open.
Tavern on Third, which Groh described as an "upscale" sports bar, will have its soft opening on St. Patrick’s Day, followed by an official grand opening the next week.
The menu will offer unique interpretations of classic bar food, she noted, and the tables will be outfitted with taps for customers to serve themselves. The number of pints served will be logged electronically so patrons will be charged accordingly, Groh added.
The ownership has also changed, the general manager explained. Groh said John Sullivan, who operates McFadden’s on East 42nd Street and Second Avenue, as well as several other restaurants, took over the space to open Tavern on Third.
Sullivan could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
This new life for the old Canz comes after several awkward, stumbling months for the bar that banked on luring customers with a buxom waitstaff and a menu of canned beers and finger foods.
The grand opening in October was marred by a visit from the State Liquor Authority, which said Canz opened without a valid liquor license. One of the owners, John Roder, also took pains to keep his plans for the sports bar under wraps, and when Canz finally swung open its doors, residents panned it as an “unpleasant surprise."
At community board meetings, locals lamented the loss of Choice Kitchen & Cocktails, the restaurant also owned by Roder that once occupied the location. Steve Dubnoff, vice chair of the Community Board 6 committee that reviews liquor license requests, called Canz's concept something that “in my opinion, belongs underneath the Queensborough Bridge.”
Canz was allowed to continue serving alcohol while it sorted through the particulars of its liquor license with the State Liquor Authority. Then, in January, Roder and co-owner Tim Lorito appeared before Community Board 6 requesting approval for an alteration license because they had made significant structural changes to the inside of the bar.
Board members joked about the meeting marking a “first date” of sorts, but they ultimately approved Canz’s request, noting that they were judging the bar not on past behavior but on the specific request before them.
Then, a few hours after the meeting, Canz had another brush with trouble when cops were called to the restaurant and a police officer was allegedly punched in the face and chest.
Roder declined to comment on that incident, and he did not immediately respond to calls on Thursday.