EAST VILLAGE — The Lakeside Lounge was expected to serve its last drink Monday night and then close its doors for good after 16 years on Avenue B.
The unpretentious bar and music venue fell victim to Alphabet City's rapid gentrification, said Alex Feldesman, 39, a bartender at Lakeside for the past 13 years.
"It's not just the rent going up," Feldesman said of the owners' decision to close the bar.
"The type of bar we are and the type of people who now live in this neighborhood — we're not as complementary to each other as we once were," Feldesman continued. "They've changed; we haven't."
Jim Marshall and Eric "Roscoe" Ambel launched Lakeside at 162 Avenue B in 1996 to serve as both an incubator for new rock acts and a relaxed space that well-known bands would want to play. Musicians that performed there included Joey Ramone, Jewel, Graham Parker, Steve Earle and Steve Wynn.
Ever since Lakeside's owners confirmed the closure a couple weeks ago — on the heels of the loss of other East Village mainstays, including Mars Bar and Life Cafe — Lakeside has been inundated with longtime patrons wanting to say goodbye, Feldesman said. He expected an equally large crowd Monday night, especially because Ambel was set to perform about 9 p.m.
Many fans also took to Facebook recently to lament the end of Lakeside's cheap drinks, eclectic jukebox and popular photo booth.
"Lakeside Lounge, I'm going to miss you terribly," Troy Lavayen posted on Lakeside's Facebook page.
"I'll miss your music, whether it's coming from a band on the weekend or that amazing jukebox, I'll miss your $7 Bourbon and Pint combo that were the reason for some of my worst hangovers…but most of all I'll miss the bartenders that always made you feel welcome even when you were a new face."
Feldesman said regulars keep asking him and the other bartenders where they'll be working next, but all they can say is that they don't know yet.
"It stinks, but there's nothing you can do about it," Feldesman said, "so you've just got to move on."