Drink up: A Cliffside Park watering hole that served more than three generations of patrons, making it not only one of the oldest bars in North Jersey but a familiar oasis in a world of constant change, is closing this winter.
Owner/operator Barbara Lupica announced the Nov. 30 last call this week, while thanking “all of our friends and patrons for all of your support over the last 82 fabulous years.”
Lupica said she’s also selling off “all memorabilia and supplies” to the public.
Polish immigrant Adam Gill built the bar on the front lawn of a house he shared with his wife, Mary, and their four children on the appropriately named Bender Place in June 1937.
FDR was president. “The Great Ziegfeld” won the Oscar for Best Picture. The music of Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo was all the rage.
Over the years, Palisades Amusement Park came and quickly went, along with the Edgewater factories that produced many patrols. Meanwhile, the nearby high-rises grew taller and more plentiful.
Gill’s never changed.
Except, that is, when Lupica’s mom, matriarch Sophie Kolonics died of a heart attack at 87 in January 2015, a week after hanging up her bar rag.
Kolonics gave Gill’s not only six-plus decades of her life. She gave it character, a low-key, local hideaway vibe – and its very own catchphrase: “Bulls**t!”
SEE: Sophie Gill Kolonics was a teenager when she began working behind her dad’s bar on Bender Place in Cliffside Park, just below Palisade Avenue above Gorge Road.
But time passes and things change.
The taps, other equipment and memorabilia date back decades, to a time when two raps on the bar meant you were ready for a refill and the last shot in a bottle was free.
Anyone interested in purchasing a piece of the past can contact or come see Lupica.
Gill’s Tavern is at 19 Bender Place in Cliffside Park: (201) 945-9833 .
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