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Mars Bar to Reopen in East Village, But It Won't Be the Same, Owner Says

By Lisha Arino | May 1, 2014 3:43pm
 Mars Bar owner Hank Penza (at left) in front of Mars Bar in June 2011.
Mars Bar owner Hank Penza (at left) in front of Mars Bar in June 2011.
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DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

EAST VILLAGE — A version of Mars Bar, the gritty neighborhood watering hole that was torn down in 2011, will return to the neighborhood, according to reports.

Owner Hank Penza confirmed that he will open a bar at the corner of First Street and Second Avenue, where the old punk dive flourished for years before it shut down in 2011 to make way for Jupiter 21, a 12-story luxury apartment building.

But Penza said details about the bar were still up in the air.

"I have no idea," he said about the future establishment, adding that he and his three partners, which have a 50 percent stake in the bar, are still discussing it. He declined to name the partners but said they were not from BFC Partners, the firm that developed Jupiter 21, as others have reported.

"Right now we're in limbo," Penza said. He said he would know more after the state approves his liquor license application. Community Board 3 will also consider the bar’s liquor license application during its SLA and DCA Licensing Committee meeting on May 12.

Penza told Bedford + Bowery that the new bar won't be the same as its predecessor. While the details of the bar are being worked out, Penza said the rougher elements of Mars Bar might not return, according to the publication.

“I miss the old times, but you can’t be the same way no more,” said Penza — who has a 50 percent stake in the bar, with three partners owning the other half. “There’s a lot of money invested.”

A TD Bank now sits on the ground floor of the site and takes up most of the available retail space but the bar could occupy an area on the East First Street side, EV Grieve reported.