Florent, French bistro set to close

May 21, 2008 2:55:48 PM PDT
It's been described as a New York institution, a funky 24-hour French diner with the cache to draw celebrities, local hedonists as well as intellectuals. By whatever description, Florent, on Gansevoort Street in Lower Manhattan, is set to dim its pink neon window sign forever - on June 29.

On its Web site, the eatery describes itself as a place that serves solid French bistro fare of onion soup, French fries and steaming bowls of mussels "at non-exclusive prices in a low-key, congenial 'downtown' New York atmosphere..."

The Florent opened in 1985 in an old diner on a cobblestone street of meatpacking plants and gay bars. Today, the district is an area of chic boutiques, galleries and restaurants, that is driving Florent's rent to more than $30,000 a month.