Tempestuous New York Rangers left-winger Sean Avery won’t be lacing up the skates any time soon, following his team’s anticlimactic exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But he still knows how to tie one on.
“How do you say ‘cheers’ in the Jewish language?” the flashy forward asked guests at the opening of his new Tribeca bar and restaurant Warren 77 on Friday, May 15.
“L’chaim!” the crowd replied.
“There ya go,” said Mr. Avery, who further encouraged attendees to “just keep buying drinks because I didn’t open a fucking bar for nothing.”
Pro hockey’s preeminent bad boy gave props to his partners, Chris Miller and Matt Abramcyk, for their four months of work in building out the space. Mr. Abramcyk told the Daily Transom the place was still covered with sawdust only hours before the grand opening.
Mr. Avery may turn out to be a more hands-on style of operator than most celebrity restaurateurs. Early in the evening, when his partners complained about the level of lighting, he promptly hopped up onto a wobbly stool and unscrewed sizzling bulbs with his bare fingers.
Mr. Avery and his partners had traveled to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for inspiration in designing the venue.
Hung with framed photos of past Rangers greats and a brightly illuminated goalie mask greeting visitors at the entrance on Warren Street, the new watering hole might quickly be categorized as a sports bar. But that’s a bit of a misnomer, according to Mr. Miller; it’s “a bar steeped in athleticism and the history of New York,” he told the Daily Transom.
Five flatscreen TVs lining the walls are intermittingly hidden behind retractable screens to avoid the sort of flickering “sports soup” you find at most venues of that ilk, he added.
It’s the type of place you’d expect to see scruffy brutes quaffing pints of Molson Canadian while their waifish girlfriends gingerly sip flutes of sancerre.
“I don’t get treated this nice at most places,” said New York Post hockey writer Larry Brooks, whom Mr. Avery greeted with a clink of glasses and some good-humored teasing.
“You don’t dress this nice at work,” the former Vogue intern told the typically slovenly sportswriter, who showed up in a tucked-in button-up shirt and slacks.
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundquist, dressed in a white T-shirt and fedora, opened the party with a set of cover songs on his acoustic guitar and later huddled with former teammate Brendan Shanahan and Rangers fan John McEnroe at a reserved booth in the front. Another former teammate of Mr. Avery’s, Brad Richards, made the trip from Dallas for the festivities.
Disc jockey and impresario Paul Sevigny, meanwhile, drank from a miniature Stanley Cup at the bar. “Tasted better in ’94,” he told the Daily Transom, referring to the Rangers’ last championship. (Asked what can be done to reopen the still-shuttered Beatrice Inn, which he co-owns with Mr. Abramcyk, Mr. Sevigny said, “Pray a lot.”)
Nearby, nightlife vet Amy Sacco mingled among the many athletes.
“I met Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan at the Rose Bar two years ago,” Ms. Sacco told the Daily Transom. “I looked to my right at these two handsome men I’ve never seen with a bunch a friends. I figured one, at least, is married and the other’s gay, or whatever,” she joked. “And they said, ‘Would you like to come with us to this place called Bungalow 8?’ I was like, ‘Wow. Okay!’”(Ms. Sacco is Bungalow’s owner.) “We’ve been friends ever since. I took them to the Met ball that year. They taught me about hockey.”
Now a die-hard puckhead, Ms. Sacco didn’t hesistate to offer her post-season analysis of what went wrong with the Rangers.
“They should never have not re-signed Shanahan,” she said. “Biggest mistake of their lives.”