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The Shutter: After Long Goodbye, LeNell's to Pack it in Next Month (With Vital Update From LeNell)

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Red Hook: Back in May, Tonya "LeNell" Smothers, owner of the Red Hook staple and beloved liquor store LeNell's, sent out a panicked missive to fans and followers alerting them to the imminent demise of the store. Her lease was up, her deal on a new space fell through, and she expected to stay until evicted. This, of course, followed the original announcement in August '07 that she would be ousted, spurring a full page NYT profile on Smothers and her neighborhood fixture.

While she was able to stay on for an additional eight months—a sign, we hoped, of a landlord-tenant reconciliation given the current state of Red Hook, the economy—in some way we all knew this one was coming. LushLife reports she's finally doneski:

"LeNell's is officially closed. After endless struggles with her difficult Red Hook landlord, LeNell Smothers decided to shutter the only destination spot for liquor in NYC. Rumor has it, LeNell had enough of this god-forsaken city and will move to a more civilized land where she'll tend bar and leave behind the woes of New York real estate. We hear she's chosen London..."
The outgoing message on the store's machine still notes a search for a new space, but we won't be holding our breath on this one. Could be time to say goodbye to Red Hook Rye.
UPDATE: Pete Well's tweets that LushLife's report may have been premature: "Strike that. I wrote LeNell, 'Say it ain't so.' She says it ain't so."
UPDATE #2: LeNell chimes in with the official word:
"I ain't closed just yet. Amazing how things get reported without real accuracy.
I was hoping to make a public announcement later this week, but this kind of nonsense has forced me to come out and talk.
My legal agreement extending my time at current location comes to an end at the end of February. I have not yet set the final 'grand finale' date. I have leases under legal review and hope to have an answer on a potential new location by the end of this week. I was hoping to announce all of this together, but the rumor mill has spun out of control. I am not moving to London; however, I do have a short-term guest bartending gig lined up at Montgomery Place in Notting Hill sometime in the near future."
Excellent news for liquor lovers and all of Red Hook.
· LeNell's is closed [LushLife]
· EaterWire AM Edition: Red Hook LeNell's Taking Its Last Breath? [~E~]
· A Neighborhood Fixture Faces an Uncertain Future [NYT]

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