Winnie’s Bar to Make a Comeback in Chinatown

Winnie Mui and Teddy Mui (to her right) addressing a recent subcommittee meeting of CB3. (Photo via World Journal)

Winnie’s Bar, which operated in Chinatown for 28 years until it was closed three years ago, is coming back.

The owner of Winnie’s is applying for a liquor license which is expected to be approved by Community Board 3 on Feb. 28. [Community Board 3 approved the application with stipulations.]  The owner, Winnie Mui, and her son Teddy Mui who will be the manager of the bar, said they appreciate the support from the community. And they’d like to make the bar a gathering place for the community and indulge customers with the warmth of home.

Winnie, who is known as Sister Mei in the community, is a community leader. She was the vice president of the Tsung Tsin Association for more than a decade, and is now the general counsel of the Tai Look Merchants Association. She said she got a liquor license during the 28 years she ran Winnie’s and during the time she operated a sushi restaurant in midtown Manhattan. She has never encountered any problems caused by drinking customers.

Winnie said that three years ago when the rent of the original location of Winnie’s Bar went up too much, she was forced to close. But many patrons told her they miss the bar very much. “Many Chinese as well as non-Chinese told me that they don’t have a place to relax in Chinatown now. Even a small space is good enough,” she said.

Winnie said she checked many locations and then decided to pick the second floor of 58 East Broadway. She has already hired a designer and will start renovations right after the liquor license is approved. This new location is part of the office building of the Tai Look Merchants Association. Teddy, who is the president of the association, said Tai Look is a small organization with not many members. So they decided to move the office to the third floor and offer the second floor for the new Winnie’s Bar. The whole building will be renovated along with the second floor.

The building at 58 East Broadway which will house Winnie’s on the second floor. (Photo via World Journal)

Compared to the old Winnie’s on Bayard Street, the new space is much smaller. And there are only three windows and no outdoor space. It is enough for an open bar and two to three tables. It will have a kitchen with an electric stove and a karaoke machine. It will offer food and beverages like beer, wine, liquor and hamburgers.

Zhizhong Zhang, who had been visiting Winnie’s since he was a kid, said the bar was associated with many memories of the old Chinatown. He is really happy to hear the bar is coming back.

“The East Broadway area is being gentrified into a middle-class neighborhood. There used to be many Chinese shops enjoying good business on Clinton Street. Now many of them have been driven back to Essex Street. If Winnie’s can reopen in this area, it will be good news for other Chinese business owners too,” said Karlin Chan, a community activist who has been collecting petitions to urge CB3 to approve Winnie’s application for the liquor license.

After CB3 approval, the application will be sent to the New York State Liquor Authority for the final approval.

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