New Hyde Park's Dublin Pub, far removed from its heyday as a haunt for rockers and condemned by state authorities as a public safety threat, is scheduled to be sold at auction Wednesday.
Past patrons are wary about the prospects for the once-popular pub. Marcia Kontoulakos said one Facebook post put it aptly: "It's like the day the music died," she said.
In recent years, the thumping Jericho Turnpike nightspot had been in decline and the recession had taken its toll. Then, in March, the state suspended its liquor license, saying it held a "dangerous disregard for the law," after repeatedly serving alcohol to minors.
Scott Blitzer, owner of the bar -- which he said has operated since 1936 -- decided to avoid a costly legal battle and accept the state Liquor Authority's sanctions. He has scheduled a real estate auction at 6 p.m. at his lawyer's office in East Meadow.
In March, Liquor Authority chairman Dennis Rosen assailed the bar for violations, noting recent referrals from Nassau police. They included a 19-year-old woman seen "highly intoxicated and passed out on the [bathroom] floor" and a report that police saw a "visibly intoxicated" 18-year-old male exiting the pub. Four bartenders were subsequently arrested, accused of selling alcohol to a minor, agency officials said.
But some who frequented the bar in the '80s and '90s waxed nostalgic about the place. "Everyone always knew the Dublin Pub," said Donna Valencia, a mother who lives a few blocks from the bar. "It's always been a landmark."
Pete Kontoulakos, Marcia's husband, recalled his early years playing drums at the bar with three separate bands.
The pub's modest exterior now includes a white barnlike structure with a brick veneer. Inside, its aura is distinctively grunge, noted Misha Haghani, a real estate attorney whose firm Paramount Realty USA is handling the auction.
The 6,400-square-foot building is mostly empty now, save for some remnants from the club: the leather seating, two long wooden bars, a dance room with paint-splattered beams, an outside courtyard for smokers, and a lighted stage.
The pub was once called Barton's Cantina, run by the vaudeville, television and film actor James Barton.
Its success ebbed and flowed, echoing trends in the music industry, Blitzer said. For years, it had nightly live entertainment, but popular house bands broke up and left, along with their large followings. New ones came in, but band nights gave way to DJs and house music.
Haghani said the property has a suggested bid of $899,000 and that prospective buyers have come with plans for a pub, clothing boutiques, tanning salons and juice bars.
Pete Kontoulakos recalled a recent trip to the pub, for a karaoke night that "didn't catch on." After what had been a long hiatus for him, attending when he was 40, he said, was "weird," but he noticed the pub "didn't really change much." It had a chameleon-like ability to morph from nightclub to concert hall. "This place was always the Dublin Pub."