Gunbar Opening Goes Off With A Bang. Can It Be A Success?

by Mara Siegler · June 3, 2011

    Gunbar, Aaron Elbaz and Bobby Persson's new experiment in bringing dive to the MePa, soft opened last night for special VIPs to check out the space, drink, and stay out too late. We take a look at the crowd, the decor, what looks to be a permanent regret etched into someone's chest at the bar's tattoo parlor, and the potential for this place to be a success.

    As you can tell from the pictures, the opening drew a good looking, downtown crowd. The test will be if they continue to come. Smack dab in the middle of tight doors, bottle service, and bridge and tunnel madness, those whose aesthetic leans towards dive bars may be hard pressed to really embrace this place. After all, dirty bathrooms can be found anywhere, but if you happen to be somewhere in Brooklyn, the LES, or the East Village you have more options and can spend the evening bar hopping instead of being stuck in one place. And you can bet any amount of money, it will be cheaper.

    But if you like the spot, then there is no reason to leave.

    However, with Mars Bar closing, Don Hill's dunzo, and Max Fish living out a slow death, there is room for a new dive bar to garner attention. Being in the Meatpacking District is seriously going to hamper its efforts to take that place, though the drinks are reasonably priced, which could make it a winner.

    The graffiti covered walls are reminiscent of Don Hill's, but could say "commercialized and prescribed rock and roll," rather than simply rock and roll. Think American Idol popstars vs some new randoms you see at Todd P.'s latest venture.  We loved the mug shots that adorn the tables with pictures like Steve McQueen and Charles Manson.

    The official description is "Lower East Side meets Eastern London." GofG's Los Angeles editor, Emily Green, is in for the week and headed to the party. Her reaction: "Meatpacking is basically LA, no?" A self-professed music snob, she loved the tunes. Other guests seemed to love it too, so this could hearken a new era for the area. We hope so.

    GofG's Emily Green

    The larger novelty than being a dive in the Meatpacking, is the working tattoo parlor inside the bar. Sounds unsanitary and like a billion Grey Goose-fueled mistakes waiting to happen, but its fulfilling its function of getting tongues wagging.  I mean, no one would ever actually get inked here? Well, aside from maybe sailors, ex cons or the kind of people who get Justin Bieber or something tattooed on their face as a joke or because they lost a bet. There are probably more of these types of people than you would think.

    [Images via KirillWasHere]