NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Burger-and beer-loving patrons from near and far consider Coogan's in Washington Heights to be a New York institution; a city staple that has always seemed invincible to them.
The 4,200-square-foot bar and restaurant first opened on Broadway and 169th Street in 1985. More than three decades later, it is preparing to serve its loyal customers for the last time this May.
Longtime customers have watched as Coogan's helped shape the neighborhood. It came in at a time when crime was rampant in this community.
New York-Presbyterian owns the space.
The owners of Coogan's claim they've never been late on a payment in all these years. Co-owner David Hunt told Fox 5 the hospital is demanding $40,000 more a month to renew the lease.
"We would have to be doing about $150,000 a week," Hunt said. "And this is just not a location that can generate that kind of money."
In a statement to Fox 5, the hospital said that it has been negotiating in "good-faith" with the bar's owners for two years.
"Coogan's is a very special gathering place for those who live and work in our Washington Heights community," the statement said. "We are willing to continue those negotiations in an effort to reach a fair and reasonable resolution."
"I'm hearing this for the first time right now. Nobody has called me," co-owner Peter Walsh said. "This is all new."
Over the next few months before it closes, the restaurant has a packed schedule, including a weekly comedy club night and catering for a bat mitzvah. The owners are starting to look for other jobs and they said they want to help 40 of their current employees find new jobs, too.