Turns out rumors of West Village speakeasy Chumley's demise were rather premature. According to today's Times the bar's owners claim it'll be back up and running in a month or two. But what's auspicious for the ghosts of literary Chum-scrubbers Hemingway, Eliot, Fitzgerald, and Steinbeck posed a problem for Times scribbler James Barron: How to pad what amounts to a report on a business putting up a "be back in 5" sign? It's the nineties, silly—turn to AOL:

Chumley's is a relic of the Roaring Twenties, but the memories are being shared the 21st-century way, over the Internet. Yesterday, after reports of the wall collapse, more than 30 people posted anecdotes about Chumley's on nytimes.com, some wondering about its future.

But if you thought reporting on your own website is innovative, its gets so much better, Gawker-style, after the jump...As it happens, those "30 people post[ing] anecdotes" in "the 21st-century way" didn't quite do so spontaneously. And by "didn't quite do so spontaneously" I mean "The New York Times forced them to reminisce." Turning to the "Empire Zone" post in question Sewell "Sobriety is my Sobriquet" Chan announces:

James Barron of The Times is researching Chumley's and would love to hear readers' reminiscences — if you have them, please enter them in the comment box.

Remember the good old days when man-on-the-street interview used to require going on the street? No, we don't either. But, the best comment from the blog, sadly not utilized in Barron's published piece:

Personally I don't like bars and/or dives. The whole thing is so pointless. Now the NYC public library, there's a place.

— Posted by John Brady

Just like the Roaring Twenties.

A Wall Collapse at Chumley's Brings Forth a Cascade of Memories [NYT]
EARLIER: Goodbye, Old Chumley's