80-year-old King Eddy Saloon, the corner bar on the ground floor of the flop-hotel bearing the same regal title, is a Downtown dive close to local hearts; ticking in raggety-mulleted drag queens, lager-inhaling barflies, stabby two-bit pimps, and slumming stool-hoppers alike. The bar’s original ownership was eased out of the premises in December to make way for Michael Leko and Will Shamlian of Library Bar, Urbano, and Spring Street Bar, with partner Johnny Valenti. The bar quietly reopened on March 8, but has been a little hard to pin down over its irregular soft hours. Last night, we stumbled in to find the changes Valenti and company have made are not overly dramatic, keeping the bar’s traditional surfeit of character(s) in stock. Upgrades include new booths, better booze, the removal of its Plexiglass smoking den in exchange for a darts room, and a lot of new art on the walls, some of it actually alright. More exciting, the owners plan to turn an actual, long-forgotten speakeasy space in the bar’s basement back into a functioning bar. Come take a peek at the new King Eddy and the untouched, vintage murals that lie beneath its surface in our slideshow look at the newly refurbished space.
King Eddy Saloon