Landlord sues White Horse Tavern for $640K in back rent

One of New York City’s oldest watering holes is in hot water. 

The West Village’s White Horse Tavern, which proudly claims to be “the second oldest pub in New York City,” is allegedly experiencing a problem as old as the Big Apple: Being late on rent — and a lot of it. 

Owner Eytan Sugarman allegedly owes more than $650,000 in unpaid rent for the 567 Hudson St. venue, landlord Steve Croman claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court. 

The debt traces back to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Sugarman began inconsistently paying the $41,500 he owes a month for the 142-year-old corner location (which is entirely separate from the 89-year-old White Horse Tavern located in the Financial District), Crain’s reported. The situation has come about despite Sugarman collecting $437,840 in federal Paycheck Protection Program funds in the summer of 2020 — money intended for the protection of 18 jobs at the establishment, which has either been forgiven or paid back, the publication reported.

The bar's landlord sued the tenant for back rent and an additional $15,000 in legal fees.
The bar’s landlord sued the tenant for back rent and an additional $15,000 in legal fees.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
The White Horse is among the oldest bars in the city.
The White Horse is among the oldest bars in the city.
Education Images/Universal Image

Croman was at one point more supportive of the saloon’s continued existence, granting Sugarman a monthly concession for half his rent for 18 months, the Real Deal reported. In August, that changed, and Croman demanded Sugarman repay the 18 months of concessions.

The suit also demands Sugarman pay a minimum of $15,000 in legal fees — in addition to the rent debt. However, the Real Deal notes, citing court documents, that Sugarman had issues paying rent in the early months of his tenancy; he signed a 15-year lease in March 2019. That April, Sugarman closed the bar for a month for renovations, which reportedly cost $1 million — and late payments allegedly began that August. By the New York arrival of COVID, there were allegedly already $11,500 in fees.

White Horse Tavern did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment.

The suit represents a turning of the tables for Croman, who spent eight months in prison for crimes involving mortgage and tax fraud in 2017, and also previously settled for $8 million after a federal civil suit found him liable for harassing rent-regulated tenants, Crain’s reported. 

Croman purchased the White Horse for $13.7 million in April 2019, not long after getting out of prison. The mixed-use property also has two residential apartments.

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