PROSPECT HEIGHTS — After nearly 10 years in business, the neighborhood bar and tapas restaurant Beast was set to close its distinctive, medieval-style doors on Sunday.
Debra Bicknese, Beast’s owner and chef, said the closing was voluntary, not due to increasing rent or other issues.
“I need a break,” she said. “It’s a definite choice. We weren’t muscled out of anything.”
Bicknese is in talks to sell the business to a woman who wants to keep a bar going at the spot and, more importantly to Bicknese, intends to keep a lot of the space’s original details in the landmarked building. The tin ceiling, original bar counter and tile floor date to 1912, Bicknese said.
“That was the main concern,” she said of the search for a new owner. “She just loved everything.”
Bicknese said her future plans are up in the air, but will likely involve taking a trip away from Vanderbilt Avenue, where she’s lived and worked for the last decade.
“I have zero plans,” she said. “A road trip, an adventure of some sort… going to take the summer off. I really want to take a road trip with my dog.”
For those who would like to celebrate Beast’s last days, Bicknese said she would hold regular hours Saturday and Sunday, with a farewell party Sunday evening.
“I’m going to miss the people,” she said. “We have a lot of longstanding regulars. Some people have stools,” gesturing to bar stools with brass plates inscribed with names — “Jenniece” and “Miss White” among them.
“Everybody’s happy and sad,” she said. “People have been coming out of the woodwork. People from the last 10 years have been popping in.”
Beast is located at 638 Bergen St. at Vanderbilt Avenue. It opens at 11 a.m. for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The bar opens at 5 p.m. on both days.