Bash Compactor: Where There's A Will...

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“Look at me, man, I’m trying to close a bar.”

Jud Mongel was holding a broom in one hand and a dustpan in the other. He had more important things to do than talk about his new, hipper-than-thou Greenpoint bar, Five Leaves; I’d also started to catch some nasty stares from the “friends and family” that made up the opening night’s crowd. A waitress came over and took half my beer away. “Look, I’m sorry, Jud said I can’t talk to you,” a redheaded woman with glasses said—yet minutes before she was chatting with me happily about the place.

Five Leaves opened last Friday, but it has been in the press for months thanks to the marquee name of one of its original investors, Heath Ledger. After the movie idol’s untimely passing, his father reportedly ponied up the cash Ledger had pledged to open the Bedford Avenue space.

“Look, he’s been drinking all night—you can talk to him over the weekend. It’s just the press has been bugging him about the whole Heath Ledger thing,” said Justin Chearno, one of Mongel’s pals.

I almost admired the Brooklyn entrepreneur for his high ideals and disregard of slick public relations—after all, it’s more important to sweep the floor than talk to some hack scribbling in a small notebook.
At least that’s what I thought when tattooed Mongel, a former party pal of Ledger’s, fixed me with his bright-eyed stare, flashed a toothy smile and told me to fuck off.

While, on opening night, the bar hadn’t quite come together—only beer and wine were being served, and the much-ballyhooed kitchen was not yet up and running. Hopes are high that the spot, designed by John McCormick (PT, Moto, Smith & Mills), will provide the neighborhood a happening new hangout.

At around midnight, the lights began flickering—it had been enough for one night—and Mongel made an announcement: “Thank you all so much for coming and supporting us,” he said, pumping his fist victoriously in the air. “Drinks are on the house!”

As the hipsterati rushed the bar, thirsty for one last brew before heading off into the night, the bar’s owner relented. “Just kidding, just kidding.”

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