Chalk up another business lost to gentrification. Wolfie’s Tavern, which has been a Springs watering hole catering to locals since the 1940s, is to close this weekend over a rent dispute.
Back in the 1940s and early 50s, and then known as Jungle Pete’s, local Jackson Pollock spent most nights drinking away his troubles in the joint, along friends like Willem de Kooning. Back then, the creatives and the working people mingled, and of course sometimes got into violent bar fights.
It eventually became Jungle Johnnie’s, Vinnie’s Place, the Boatswain, the Frigate, the Birches, Harry’s Hideaway, and Wolfie’s in 1988. But it’s always been a dive, a place where local Bonackers could gather without running into the summer crowd. Quoted in the New York Times, Springs cab driver Harry Stevenson said, “It’s hard for a local guy to find a decent place where he feels comfortable—someplace where we blend in. Everything gets very high end and marketed to the ‘Hamptons’ crowd and not to the local crowd.”