By Bill Parry
LIC Bar is closed.
It has been shut since Hurricane Sandy, and it will remain that way until Con Edison repairs a major transformer.
“This is costing me a fortune,” said owner Brian Porter, who also worries that the bar’s popularity will decline, or his employees will leave while he waits on Con Ed.
Until the power is restored, the bands wait, the vendors are on hold and the six staffers are waiting patiently to get back to work.
Gareth McCusker, who is a bartender there, is currently waiting to go back to work. He said he is fortunate that he can survive– despite the loss of income.
“Touch wood. My wife’s working, but most of the staff is single,” McCusker said. “They’re in a tough spot. They love working here and don’t want to go elsewhere.”
When the storm hit, the saloon’s basement was flooded with seven feet of water that destroyed a piano, an organ and all the amplifiers. The bar’s willow tree, a neighborhood icon, was so badly damaged that it had to be cut down.
However, LIC Bar ( 45-58 Vernon Blvd.) – located inside a 100-year old building– held up well on the whole. The hardwood floors, bare brick walls and antique wood bar all appear undamaged. Nevertheless, everything was coated with salt– mostly from the East River, but also from the rock salt the owner had stockpiled for the winter.
“I’ve owned the bar for eight years and it’s been gaining momentum for the last two years as a destination for live music,” Porter said. “Now everything’s stalled.”
Porter hopes to be back in business in time for the Christmas holiday season.
However, in the interim, he laments. “We have no flood insurance and all FEMA can do is offer loans.”