Pegu Club closes after 15 years in NYC

New York bar Pegu club will not reopen even after restrictions implemented for the COVID-19 global pandemic are lifted.

The legendary bar was forced to close under government rule earlier in the year to prevent the spread of the virus, but founder Audrey Saunders announced on Facebook that it was the end of the road for the Lower Manhattan venue.

"Our lease was due to expire on October 31, and we had every intention of staying put until then,” said Saunders. “We were also looking forward to celebrating our 15th anniversary on August 29 in a grand way. But COVID-19 has taken every bit of the life we had out of us, and a soft reopening following NYC guidelines would not be enough to sustain us entering into the summer months.

“In order to maintain social distancing mandates, we would only be allowed to fill the room at 50% capacity - that is, even if we reached 50% capacity during our slow season.”

Pegu Club was opened in August 2005 by Saunders and was inspired by a Victorian gentlemen’s club of the same name in Myanmar in the late 19th century.

The bar was ranked fifth in the inaugural edition of The World’s 50 Best Bars in 2009 and went on to feature on the list in four consecutive years.

Saunders added: “It’s hard to imagine that I will no longer have the pleasure of seeing any of you enjoying yourselves within our walls, or even be able to sit with any of you at the bar for even one last drink. We wanted to give her a great send off, but it simply was not in the cards.

“This is Pegu Club's 15th year, and our time has come. I couldn't be any prouder of what we were able to accomplish over the many years, along with nurturing the most incredible generations of alumni of who we are so deeply proud of.

“They say that if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere. Pegu made an indelible mark not only on the New York city skyline, but on the world itself. We changed the entire cocktail landscape going into the 21st century and improved the way the world drinks - it's something that every single Pegu alumni can and should be proud of as well.”