The Half King, the journalist-backed restaurant and bar near the High Line known for its readings and photography shows, will close at the end of January after 18 years.
Journalists Sebastian Junger and Scott Anderson along with filmmaker Nanette Burstein write in the announcement notice that “times have changed and we can no longer avoid financial reality.” Junger, Anderson, and Burstein plan to frequent the bar through its last few weeks.
Since its opening in 2000, the Half King has served as a neighborhood pub with burgers, wings, and a popular daily happy hour. But beyond the typical bar fare and drinks, the restaurant became a destination for writers, journalists, and people in the publishing and film industries. The bar hosts a popular reading series on Mondays as well as other literary and photography events, including slideshows of photojournalism.
As such, since the closure’s announcement on Twitter, writing world luminaries, fans, and regulars have been reacting to the news and posting eulogies on social media:
This plus Cornelia Street Cafe and now I’m gonna be a little more bummed out tonight. https://t.co/ha4WpilXS1— Sarah Weinman (@sarahw) December 16, 2018
Another restaurant that is loved and helped build its neighborhood is closing. This year it's just been one after another. There really will be nothing left soon. https://t.co/eHHrmVlW65— Lisabeth Laiken (@lb_bklyn) December 17, 2018
I'm sorry to hear this. Goodbye to another good joint, where I went to many excellent readings and drank many excellent pints. https://t.co/GZ058j4ww9— Rosie Schaap (@rosieschaap) December 16, 2018
This sucks. The Half King hosted me for a reading of Seriously Not All Right--Five Wars in Ten Years. It was my first-ever reading in NYC. It's a great place filled with great people. Very sad news, indeed. https://t.co/dvRoV1ex1H— Ron Capps (@ron_capps) December 16, 2018
Doubly sad for me. NYC loses a terrific neighborhood institution, and the wonderful reading series I hosted loses its amazing, intimate home. I'm looking for a new space to take the spirit of the series. Message me if you have ideas! https://t.co/Eat0iShz2U— Glenn Raucher (@glennrwordman) December 16, 2018
The closure comes on the heels of another major restaurant shutter for the literary and publishing world, West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe, which closes on January 2 after over four decades of readings, art shows, and performances. Chelsea has seen a spate of neighborhood joint closures this year, including Red Cat, Co., and Trestle on Tenth. The Half King will join them at the end of January.