A Throggs Neck standby has gotten a facelift and a new set of owners.
The bar room at 3512 E. Tremont Avenue has been serving up alcohol since the days of prohibition when customers needed a secret password to get through the door.
For much of its 90 years of existence, the bar was known as the Tally Ho, and besides the legality of the drinks, not much about the place changed during its life span.
The Tally Ho served its last drink on December 30, 2009, but on Friday, February 11, the space was reborn under a name that describes the role it has played in the Throggs Neck community: Legendary.
Ronald Lopez leased the space formerly occupied by the Tally Ho last June, along with his wife Lissette Velasquez and his brother Francisco Lopez. Velasquez is the hostess, Francisco’s son works in the kitchen and Ronald’s daughters wait tables, with only two employees not part of the family.
Although Lopez has made the bar a large part of his family, he said that the space still belongs to the community and is part of its local tradition.
“The reason that we picked the name Legendary is that this has been a bar for 90 years,” said Lopez. “It even has a side exit because it used to be a speak easy.”
Lopez, who is from Throggs Neck, has been in the bar business for 10 years, including several years as a bartender in the meat packing district, before he decided to run his own place.
He also owned other businesses before but this is his first bar, which is also located on his home turf.
“This is really the only business that I’ve been involved with that I’ve enjoyed doing,” Lopez said. “I had a couple of video stores in the Bronx and bagel stores in Brooklyn. Part of the reason is this is five minutes from home.”
Lopez, his wife and his brother began renovating the former Tally Ho space in July and was able to have the bar, which will now also serve food, opened to the public in only seven months.
According to Lopez, the fact that the space had the skeleton of a bar made opening up Legendary much easier for the family.
“When you walked in here it looked like an old, old bar,” he said. “We didn’t necessarily try to restore, but we updated it and tried to make it a fun, comfortable place to relax.”
The real legend behind the bar is that over the years, fun nights from the 80s and 90s at the Tally Ho helped start couples that are now Throggs Neck families.
“I’ve heard this four times from four different couples that are married and raising families that they actually met here,” Lopez said. “They would have met in the late 80s and early 90s.”
©2011 Community News Group