Angel’s Share is a goner: The popular second-story Japanese-style cocktail bar near Astor Place has closed its original location. In March, all signs indicated the business was in trouble because of a rent dispute, though there was still a glimmer of hope for fans — and for the bar’s workers. However, the eventual closing was confirmed by landlord Cooper Union, which sent along a statement after we published our original report: “Unfortunately, the tenant informed us of their decision to vacate the property. They were not asked to move out, despite the fact that they haven’t paid any rent since 2020.” The bar’s last night in business was March 31.
For anyone who appreciates a well-made cocktail, it would be impossible to overstate the importance of Angel’s Share. Opened in 1993 — when oversize lychee martinis were flowing at bars throughout the city — the bar’s studious, thoughtful approach to making drinks was an anomaly. In the years since, of course, this became the default mode of most, if not all, cocktails bars, as faux-speakeasy settings, nattily dressed bartenders, and deeply solemn takes on classic drinks became the norm.
The bad news first came to light when New York Times reporter Alex Vadukul tweeted that he’d learned Village Yokocho, an izakaya through which customers enter Angel’s Share, was facing a “massive rent hike.” Both operations, he learned, would be closing along with the bakery Pan Ya and a location of the Japanese grocery chain Sunrise Mart at 4 Stuyvesant Street.
The bar’s owners did not respond after I first reached out, but the statement from Cooper Union went on to say, “We have repeatedly sought to arrive at a good-faith agreement.”
After hearing the news in March, I stopped into Yokocho, just after opening at 5 p.m., and overheard a server saying, “It’s so sad, it’s so sad.” When I asked the same server about the closing, they responded at the time that management was still “figuring it out.”
When the bar opened at six, a line had formed outside the entrance to Angel’s Share, which is inside the restaurant. The small bar area was more or less full by 6:30. I asked a bartender what he’d heard about the closing. “There’s an 85 percent chance that we close,” he’d said. “It’s okay, though, because we’re gonna relocate.”
As it turns out, the chances were more like 100 percent. A lot has changed in the nearly 30 years since Angel’s Share opened, including the value of prime East Village real estate, but according to the Cooper Union note, “the formula for calculating rent on these properties has been in place for some 30 years and has never been changed.”
Angel’s Share, if it continues on in some form, will have to change, too. “It won’t be the same,” the bartender sighed, but he did tell me one piece of good news: They’re not letting go of the giant celestial portrayal of baby angels that famously hangs above the bar. “We’re taking the painting with us.”
This post has been updated to reflect the statement from Cooper Union confirming the businesses’ departure from their current location, as well as to address the bar’s official closing.