After 36 years, Greenwich Village institution Gotham Bar and Grill shuttered its doors after one final service on Saturday night.
Despite warnings from the city and state that all restaurants should operate at 50 percent of fire code capacity over the weekend to slow the spread of COVID-19, and the thousands of people dying from the virus worldwide, nothing stopped regulars of all ages from packing the house completely full; one diner even brought a baby to the bar. People ordered one last burger, while staff poured high-end wines freely, including a Champagne that would have sold for $1,270. At one point, the bar was three people deep, with one person chugging directly out of a bottle of whiskey.
While all restaurants around the city have now been forced to temporarily close as of 8 p.m. tonight, Gotham will not be reopening — making it one of the first permanent closings of this pandemic that may see many more in the coming weeks. See images from the final night.
Maitre’d Alex Baker greets a diner with an elbow bump.
A completely packed house. One diner was overheard asking, “Is this correct social distancing?”
Executive chef Victoria Blamey, who took over the kitchen in April, shuffled from the kitchen to the dining room several times as she played the dual roles of chef and host on the restaurant’s last night.
Drinkers of all ages crowded the bar, drinking wine and milk from bottles.
Wine director Josh Lit kept opening increasingly expensive bottles as the night wore on. “I built this program and it’s going down with me,” he said as he opened a bottle of Salon champagne that would have sold for $1,270 at the restaurant. He passed the bottle around for diners to try.
As the last dishes went out, the kitchen staff started eating the remaining food. Here, sous chef Omri Silberstein eats ice cream directly out of the container.
Line cook Jessamine Raposas and sous chef Alice Paradis after the last plates went out.
Lit opens a bottle of 1970 Giacomo Conterno that would have sold for $970. One diner said it “tastes like a used tampon.”
Blamey and her team share a moment after being photographed by her boyfriend, noted food photographer Evan Sung.
Regular customer Bianca Jebbia, wife of Supreme founder James Jebbia, says goodbye to the kitchen staff
One last moment in the kitchen.
Gary He is a photojournalist based in New York City.