Siberia, the fabled Hells Kitchen hangout that for more than a decade played home to a rotating crop of celebrities, media tipplers, and out-and-out degenerates, is finally getting a second life.
Despite having shut down last December over a lease dispute, a documentary of the boozy hangout, Airebis (that’s Siberia backwards), is set to provide a glimpse at what was perhaps the last true dive bar in all of New York—or at least the last bar where hurling glass bottles against walls, smashing toilets, and 7 a.m. last calls were de rigueur. “It was like a time capsule for something that can’t really exist anymore,” says 22-year-old director Jack Bryan, who started frequenting Siberia when he was 19. (Perhaps it’s in his blood: half-brother and New York Observer scribe George Gurley was also a regular.) “It couldn’t even exist when it was around. It really was anarchy in a controlled setting.”
The documentary, currently in post-production, doesn’t yet have a distributor, though there’s some good news for those itching for the real thing: Bryan says that owner Tracy Westmoreland is looking to re-open up shop downtown.