LOWER EAST SIDE — Schiller's Liquor Bar will close by the end of August due to an unaffordable rent hike, according to restaurant management.
The iconic bar at 131 Rivington St. will be forced to shutter after owners were unable to negotiate a manageable price for a new lease, said the general manager.
"The landlord raised the rent and it kind of prohibited ... we tried, we went back and forth to try to work out a deal but we just couldn't come to a number [low enough]," said Rich Bubbico, who started at Schiller's as a waiter when it first opened in 2003 and has managed the restaurant since 2012.
Bubbico was unable to estimate the amount of the rent hike, referring DNAinfo New York to owner Keith McNally's restaurant group, which could not immediately be reached for comment.
The property's landlord did not immediately return a request for comment.
The closure was announced in an email sent out to patrons that hinted at an upcoming new location, according to Eater, which first reported the news.
Schiller's is one of several legendary city eateries run by McNally, whose portfolio includes Balthazar in SoHo. The New York Times in 2004 dubbed him "The Restaurateur Who Invented Downtown."
Bubbico said he has been flooded by notes from loyal patrons who are sad to see the bar go after nearly 15 years at the corner of Norfolk Street.
"I have had a lot of people reach out to me and I kind of feel like the next three months are going to be bit of a scene here, [with] people getting their last hurrah — everybody wants that one last garlic shrimp," he said.
"Everybody here is like family to me," added Bubbico. "Honestly, that's what you get when you come to Schiller's, and whatever replaces us, I don't know if it's gonna be the same."
The bar's iconic exterior signage was replicated on the cover of Richard Price's novel "Lush Life" and can be spotted in the opening credits of "Saturday Night Live," as pointed out by Eater co-founder Lockhart Steele when he went to bat for the bar's status as a city mainstay after a New York Times critic disparaged its food on Twitter.