LeNell Smothers of LeNell’s in Red Hook last night sent out what will likely be the last of her trademark store newsletter/mash notes to the public, at least for a few months. “Friday, February 20th,” it reads toward the top, “Noon to Nine. Don't expect marching bands and dinner on the ground, but do drop by and give me a hug. Have a sip of punch and celebrate the good stuff.”
It’s been called the Long Goodbye of Tonya “LeNell” Smothers. After months of greatly exaggerated store closing rumors and overture, the five-year-old shop will end its run next week for good. It was also reported that restaurant Tini next door is also changing location. At LeNell’s, don’t expect a massive liquidation sale, just a punchbowl centric wake. “I ain't desperate to get rid of bottles,” Smothers wrote. Nor is she looking to get rid of the antique bathtub used to store gin bottles by the store’s front window: Like the rest of the fixtures, it’s going into storage and will reappear the next time Smothers opens a store.
“The search for the perfect new home is still underway,” Smothers writes about the next incarnation of her liquor store, which is still tbd, “with a team of brokers, lawyers, army generals, scallywags, priests, rabbis, yogis, bumbledybugs, and other trusty advisors.” Meanwhile, Smothers will spend the next few months in bars throughout Europe, and will continue work on a book about egg-based cocktails; she’ll return to New York by April. “I'll be back,” the email closed, “and the next round will be even better.” And as the old store readies for its final week and plans for a gargantuan, amorphous flexi-plastic MaxiMall are taking shape just down the street, perhaps take some comfort that at the very least LeNell’s liquor store survived The Real World.