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Freddy’s Bar has given up the fight.
The Prohibition-era bar, whose location on Sixth Avenue inside the Atlantic Yards footprint made it the ideal “war room” for project opponents, has accepted an offer from developer Bruce Ratner to quietly close and relocate into Park Slope, a half-mile from the current side.
The bar will serve its last tear-filled beer on April 30.
The announcement signals a much-less colorful conclusion for the beloved dive, which has spent the last few years as a jocular, though no less serious, foil to the developer. Through the seven-year Atlantic Yards saga, Freddy’s earned plenty of media coverage for a welter of stunts, including taking Brooklyn Lager off the menu after the Williamsburg-based brewery signed a deal with Ratner; decapitating effigies of eminent domain and banks with a guillotine covered in Pabst Blue Ribbon labels; and having barflies don oversized masks and give interviews as key “villains” like Ratner, Borough President Markowitz and Mayor Bloomberg.
The bar, which is at Dean Street, also installed “chains of justice” to which protesters were expected to secure themselves when Ratner’s bulldozers finally began their assault.
Though the chains will no longer be necessary, bar manager Donald O’Finn said they did their job.
“The chains raised awareness,” O’Finn said. “Whether people get arrested or not won’t affect the project — though I personally don’t think it’s ever going to get built.”
O’Finn said that developer Ratner and Freddy’s owner Frank Yost reached an agreement last Thursday that allowed the bar to move its contents to a new location — an alternative to continued fighting and a likely loss of everything in the condemnation process that is making room for the proposed Barclays Center.
“[Yost] struck a deal with Ratner,” O’Finn said, adding that Freddy’s didn’t make a fortune from the negotiations. “It’s not more than what we would get if we were open for the remainder of our lease — it’s not some tremendous amount of money.”
Now, all the trappings that help make Freddy’s one of the best bars in the city will move to the new location near the corner of Fourth Avenue and Union Street.
O’Finn would not specify what space Freddy’s would move into, but a likely guess is the unused portion of Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, which has a Fourth Avenue entrance and a “for rent” sign in the window.
O’Finn explained that his opposition to the project remained as strong as ever, but that the financial insecurity surrounding the bar since the state seized the property through eminent domain last month became too much to bear.
“We’re little guys,” O’Finn said. “We have a lot of mouths to feed and we are not billionaires.”
Freddy’s was one of the final holdouts in the footprint of the Barclays Center arena. Though the legal wrangling between Ratner and project opponents continues, the closing of Freddy’s in Prospect Heights stands as yet another sign that Ratner will realize his vision of a hardcourt Xanadu in the heart of Brooklyn.
But O’Finn added that “Freddy’s Next Bar” will continue to oppose Ratner’s mega-project.
“As far we’re concerned we’re not through — we’re just moving to another corner of the ring!” he said.
A spokesman for Forest City Ratner had no comment.
Freddy’s Bar “victory party” [485 Dean St. at Sixth Avenue in Prospect Heights. (718) 622-7035] on April 30.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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