One Of The Most Influential Cocktail Bars In New York Closes Its Doors For Good

One of New York’s earliest craft cocktail bars, the Pego Club,  is closing permanently after nearly 15 years in Soho. 

Owner Audrey Saunders announced the closure of the swanky downtown watering-hole over email stating that historically, summer business has been slow as molasses. That, coupled with almost certain social distancing mandates and a potential rent increase, was too much to bear.

The pioneering bar’s lease was set to expire in October and though she planned to keep the bar open, the COVID-19-related shutdown has taken every bit of life left out of the bar.

Saunders opened Pegu Club in 2005. At the time, the cocktail renaissance’s careful consideration of ingredients for cocktails and “mixologist” as a profession was still in its infancy, and the luxe, wood-laden bar was one of the few places in the city with speakeasy vibes to get a complex cocktail.

Pegu Club was one of the most prominent bars that helped spawn a city filled with cocktails made with fresh-squeezed juices and in-house syrups, serious drinks with cheeky names and high price tags, and sophisticated accompanying small bites of food. Pegu Club itself became a must-visit for visitors to New York. Its contemporary, Flatiron Lounge, closed at the end of 2018, also after 15 years.

It’s unlikely that she will eopen Pegu Club elsewhere. “I truly feel that the best bars and restaurants are able to reflect a ‘sense of place’ …from that quirky second floor location in a funny green building to the little brass dragon business card holder that my partner Kristina affixed at the front door entrance, to the well-worn bamboo floors and gilded lighting, Pegu had her own place in time,” Saunders writes. “To try to move her and replicate her would be forced and soulless.”