Cha Cha’s, the legendary Boardwalk bar known for its live music and honky-tonk feel, sold it’s heart and soul to the highest bidder on Tuesday during a seaside auction that put old boxes of cigars, cash registers, and classic neon beer signs on the block.
About 40 buyers and Coney residents showed up to witness the painstaking piece-by-piece auction of Cha Cha’s entire inventory of restaurant equipment, light fixtures and beer signs, some of which dated back to the 1930s.
But the bar’s owner, John “Cha Cha” Ciarcia, held onto the dive’s priciest items, such as two Pina Colada vending carts valued at the auction at $5,000 apiece and a $2,300 gelato maker, upsetting some bargain hunters who were looking for the deal of the century.
“I’m kind of disappointed,” said Anthony Morris, a bargain-hunter from the Bronx who ended up buying a half-dozen cash registers for $25 and a $50 box of cigars. “There was nothing but junk here.”
Roland Bastien, a DJ from East Flatbush, walked away with a worn-looking pair of $50 speakers, while Russ Eaton, of Newtown, New Jersey, bought a waffle iron for $150.
Ciarcia ran Cha Cha’s for 10 years and also owns a bar on Mulberry Street in Manhattan. He declined to say how much he made at the auction.
Four other Boardwalk businesses being evicted by Central Amusement were supposed to hold simultaneous sales, but two of the businesses backed out at the last minute. Ruby’s Bar, brooklynda
Central Amusement is planning to replace the stores that close with upscale eateries.