Since a chimney collapse caused the legendary speakeasy Chumley's to close in 2007 we've been anxiously awaiting its return to the West Village. After all, it had been active since 1831 and everyone from Faulkner to Steinbeck had done their time there. Plus, it is where the term 86'd comes from. But now it might finally be coming back and we (and apparently some neighbors) are worried. Is a Chumley's-as-sports bar still Chumley's? That might fly in Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania is a far cry from New York.

Macn Chi's, who lives next door, recently noticed a petition on his door, online here, that calls into question the future of the speakeasy:

This petition will be presented to Community Board 2 so that the neighborhood can have a voice in determining how and when Chumleys will operate. Please support this effort by (1) signing below and (2) sending an email to You will be contacted only once to notify you of the Community Board meeting. Thank you!

Chumleys, once a historical speakeasy located at 86 Bedford Street, between Barrow and Grove Streets, intends to reopen shortly. It will no longer operate as a speakeasy, but more closely to a sports bar. Its renovation is being funded by the Fireman's Union. It will advertise in tourist guidebooks as a destination bar. It has applied to be open every day until 1am, and Friday and Saturday until 2am.

What this will mean for the Bedford-Barrow-Grove neighborhood:
(1) Drunk and loud tourists/patrons talking and smoking on Bedford and Barrow streets until 1-2am ever night;
(2) Loud noise in the interior courtyard, created by Barrow, Bedford, Grove and Bleeker streets
(3) Frequent honking, caused by delays as drunk patrons try to hail cabs on Bedford Street

I, the undersigned, assert:
(1) I have not been adequately informed of the plans of the bar/restaurant that intends to occupy the space formerly occupied by Chumleys, located at 86 Bedford Street
(2) I believe any restaurant or bar occupying 86 Bedford Street should have its operating hours restricted to match other restaurants currently operating on Bedford Street between Morton and Grove Streets. All of these presently close at midnight or earlier
(3) I believe any operating hours or alcohol license granted to the future occupant of 86 Bedford Street should be suspended until members of the community have the opportunity to comment on and review it.

At first we thought the Fireman's Union had to be a typo and they meant the Fireman Group but they tell us they have nothing to do with it. We've left a message with the Union, but have yet to hear back. Meanwhile, what do you think? Does Chumley's really need to go the sports bar route? It wasn't exactly dying for business when we were there last (which was a year or two before the accident).