LATEST: Hilly Kristal may have lost the lease for his beloved New York club CBGB, but he refuses to go down without a fight.

The 72-year-old punk patriarch has continued to book acts in an act of defiance, and vows to take legal action to keep the rock mecca up and running.

Just hours after the venue's landlord, the Bowery Residents' Committee, forced the club's closure on Wednesday (31AUG05), a defiant Kristal said, "It's a fight, a hard fight, and we're going to keep fighting. We think we have a chance of coming out on top.

"I feel it's very important that we stay in this fight. A lot of people want this place open."

But the club's lawyer MARK ALONSO admits the prospect is ultimately grim.

He says, "There are lawyers in New York who can buy you nine months. But you can't win without a lease. There is no winning, just stalling."

The edgy nightspot opened in 1973 and soon became a haven for the finest purveyors of New York punk, including the Ramones, Patti Smith, RICHARD HELL and Talking Heads.