NYC bar owner making historic bitcoin bet: 'I've been looking for an exit strategy'

Patrick Hughes tells FBN he believes bitcoin is 'here to stay'

New York City bar owner has put his two Manhattan establishments up for sale for the asking price of 25 bitcoins, telling FOX Business Network Monday that he believes the cryptocurrency is “here to stay.”

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“This is a very challenging market in New York City for bars and restaurants, we all know that," Patrick Hughes told "Cavuto: Coast to Coast". "So there’s not a lot of guys that are already in this business looking to jump in and expand. So with bitcoin being so hot, my idea was there’s got to be guys out there that want to further legitimize the currency and they’re walking around with their bitcoin wallets and they’ve got plenty of bitcoin to spare and I’ll take some of that."

If the transaction goes through, it would be the first cryptocurrency-only restaurant sale in the United States.

Hughes, who owns Hellcat Annie’s Tap Room and Scruffy Duffy’s, added that he is “not entertaining any traditional offers right now because I’d really like to make history with a bitcoin transaction.” He also indicated he is in no immediate rush since his business is “back to pre-pandemic levels.”

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After a coronavirus-induced shutdown, Hughes reopened Hellcat Annie’s in November and added an open-air cabin, according to the New York Post. Scruffy Duffy’s remains closed until indoor dining is allowed in New York City again.

The value of bitcoin reached a record $40,797 a coin on Thursday, helping fuel the market capitalization for all digital coins to above $1 trillion for the first time.

Bitcoin was trading down 5.14% at $33,519 per coin on Monday afternoon after reaching a session low of $30,568. Rival cryptocurrencies including ethereum and litecoin were also lower.

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Hughes noted that bitcoin was “down big” on Monday, but said when he proposed the idea, the value of the cryptocurrency “was about the same” as what he hoped to sell his bars for in dollars, about $600,000.

“I'm willing to take the chance,” Hughes, who has been in the bar business for four decades.

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“I’ve been looking for an exit strategy from this business,” he said. “I’ve been in it 40 years, I’m tired, it sucks the life out of you.”

Hughes also pointed out that “more and more banks are putting crypto in reserve, they’re doing their overnight transactions via bit [bitcoin] currency so it’s here and it’s here to stay.”

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“And when our government have their finger on the printing press, they’re going to print more and more and more dollars, inflation is coming back so there has to be alternative,” he continued.

Fox Business’ Jonathan Garber contributed to this report.