La Palapa Owner Plans Restaurant in Holiday Cocktail Lounge Space

BarbaraSibleyRobertEhrlichNatalie Rinn Barbara Sibley and Robert Ehrlich

The owner of La Palapa is joining the founder of Pirate’s Booty in taking over the Holiday Cocktail Lounge space, and the duo will open a restaurant there.

At a meeting of Community Board 3’s S.L.A. licensing committee last night, Robert Ehrlich, who purchased the building at 75 St. Marks Place from former owner Roman Lutak, and Barbara Sibley, who will manage the spot, confirmed that their restaurant will not keep the Holiday’s name, dealing a final death-blow to the beloved bar.

Committee members lamented the loss. “It’s too bad it won’t be called Holiday Cocktail Lounge,” said Ariel Palitz. “It’s the end of an era.”

Ms. Sibley has been in the neighborhood for some time. She ran Telephone Bar on Second Avenue, which closed in 2010 after 22 years of business, and is currently the chef and owner of La Palapa, the Mexican restaurant that stands next door to the former Holiday at 77 St. Marks Place.

Mr. Ehrlich, who owns the quirky snack brand, Pirate’s Booty, stood silently next to Ms. Sibley on Monday evening as she revealed only limited snippets of what the new business might offer.

“The menu is going to bring back some of the food that we miss from those days – shepherd’s pie and fish and chips – but also echo places we miss that are gone,” she said, somewhat mysteriously.

Neither Mr. Ehrlich nor his lawyer would comment on whether the restaurant would retain any aspects of the Holiday, including the semicircular bar at which regulars gathered one last time last month. But one thing will stay the same: pending the State Liquor Authority’s final approval, the new venue will sell booze.

“This is a transfer [license], not [in a] resolution area, and continually licensed since before ’92,” said David McWater in voting to recommend approval of the application. “So I don’t know that there’s a lot for us to consider.”