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Roman Lutak, Former Owner, Bids Farewell to Holiday Cocktail Lounge

thanksLauren Carol Smith The Holiday Cocktail Lounge’s shutter, days after
the bar closed.

The Holiday Cocktail Lounge had been a part of his life for 58 years — and after his father’s death, it was time to let go. Finally.

Speaking for the first time since selling the revered dive on St. Marks Place — and the five-story building that housed it — Roman Lutak expressed relief that he was, in a way, emerging from his father’s shadow and getting out of the bar business that had been in his family for four generations.

“My parents, they did this. I didn’t do it, I just happened to be along for the ride,” Mr. Lutak said over coffee on 14th Street.

Today, the new owner of the building, Robert Ehrlich, is scheduled to go before Community Board 3 and likely reveal his plans for the bar on the ground floor. Whatever they may be, he has some big shoes to fill. Stefan Lutak, who bought the bar in 1964, was as closely associated with the Holiday Cocktail Lounge as Lucyna Mickievicius is associated with her bar, Lucy’s. It was hard to imagine one existing without the other. Read more…

Photos: Last Night at Holiday Cocktail Lounge

Photos: Vivienne Gucwa

Getting a table or a bar stool at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge Saturday night was nearly impossible. The 47-year-old dive was wall-to-wall with regulars, there to pay respects on its final night.

“I came here before I was legal,” said Angela Martenez, who frequented the Holiday in the 1990s. “The drinks were strong and cheap. And the little twinkly Christmas lights were friendly, and that’s what I needed in my life at the time.”

From all corners of the city, former East Villagers returned to the Holiday for one last beer. Read more…