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Last Call for Legendary P&G Bar

UPPER WEST SIDE — Struggling under a mountain of debt, P&G Bar owner Steve Chahalis has closed his famed watering hole.

Chahalis had told DNAinfo earlier this week that he planned to send off the bar with a "kick ass" party on Aug. 16, but a posting on the bar's Facebook page on Wednesday said the bar closed for good earlier than expected.

"I can't believe it Steve after all you've done to make it a great neighborhood bar and music joint," wrote Michael Grin on Facebook. "Thanks for everything and let us know if you open in another location."

Chahalis could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday. A notice from the New York City marshal's office taped to the front window Thursday said the landlord had taken possession of the property and a fresh padlock locked the front door.

P&G Bar, which left the corner of West 73rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in 2009 after 66 years, has closed its new location at 480 Columbus Avenue.
P&G Bar, which left the corner of West 73rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in 2009 after 66 years, has closed its new location at 480 Columbus Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht

But Chahalis wrote on the bar's Facebook page, "I'd like to thank everyone for their support and love of the divey little bar I've called home for the past three decades."

"Tonight will be the last night," he wrote on Wednesday. "They are coming for my keys tomorrow morning."

P&G's famed pink and green neon sign lit the corner of West 73rd and Amsterdam Avenue for 66 years — where it was featured in movies and TV  — until it closed in February 2009. The bar reopened a few months later, without its landmark sign, six blocks north at 380 Columbus Avenue, near West 78th Street.

The old P&G bar was "a little shot and beer bar," said Chahalis, but he took advantage of the the new location's roomier size to create a live music venue. The new P&G invested in a high-quality sound system and regularly hosted bands and open mic nights.

"P&G was a bright star in the live music scene of New York," said Laura McKenna, band leader of Girls On Top, a cover band that played at P&G.

"They had a great sound system, Steve was very easy to work with, and they had a good community of musicians. Everyone is very sad that this has happened."

But the live entertainment wasn't enough to keep P&G afloat financially, Chahalis said. He said his father, Tom, who owned the old P&G, took out several loans on the bar that he was unaware of until his father's death in November.

"I've been doing my best to pay them back, but it wasn’t working out," Chahalis said, adding that he owed close to $500,000. Chahalis said financial backers approached him about forming a partnership to keep the bar going, but the deal fell through.

Chahalis said he planned to declare bankruptcy and would consider opening a new venue elsewhere.

He said he paid a reasonable rent on P&G bar's basement-level space on Columbus Avenue, but the stalled economy made it difficult to turn a profit because people were less willing to spend money going out to bars.

"A lot of people are getting a bottle of wine and going home and watching TV," Chahalis said.

"P&G hosted way more than its share of flat-out transcendent music and good times," another fan wrote on the bar's Facebook page.