What a re-Leif!
The Leif Bar re-opened to great fanfare on Aug. 22, thanks to a pair of its old pint-pushers who leased the space at the corner of Senator Street and Fifth Avenue to bring back the Bay Ridge institution. The resurrection party brought back some longtime patrons, one said.
“We got all the old faces in there,” said new co-owner Kenny Graham, a former bartender who poured for the pub for a decade. “We were trying to get the old timers back again, people who moved away to New Jersey.”
The Irish bar with a Nordic name closed in 2012 after a 45-year run.
Julie Walsh, whose father founded the Leif in 1967, said she closed because running the bar was just too much work, and rented out the space, which her family owns, to the Corner Kitchen and Bar, a short-lived eatery that shuttered in March.
So Walsh was elated when two of her former barkeeps — Graham and 20-year veteran Michael Gallagher — approached her about reopening the Leif Bar.
“I feel good about it, because everybody loved the Leif, and they still do,” Walsh said at the time. “Everybody missed it.”
Before reopening, Graham and Gallagher put some work into the interior, including painting, installing new ceilings and floors, renovating the bathrooms, and scaling back the kitchen to open up the public area.
But don’t worry — the bar will still serve its famous corned beef sandwiches and other Irish pub fare, Graham said.
One patron said the makeover made the neighborhood watering hole even better.
“I like the way they re-did it, and they put in the big-screen TVs,” said Audrey Faverey. “The whole decor has changed — it really made it much nicer.”