The bar is a tribute to "Welcome Back Kotter's" fun-loving Puerto Rican Jew, Warren Epstein--a hero of the bar's owners.
The following is the personal story of the actor Robert Hegyes, taken from his website. The following is his copyrighted material with all due credit.
Welcome Back Kotter, 1975 - 1980
In 1975, I was starring in a Broadway play and I went to an audition for this television show. I had never auditioned for a television show. The audition was at the Windsor Hotel in downtown Manhattan. It was for the Executive Producer, Jimmy Komak. I thought it was weird being in someone's hotel room with a bed. I thought, "Oh God, this is the Hollywood casting couch. Where's the girl?" So, I started reading a monologue for this character they called, Vinnie Barbarino.
Since I was doing a Broadway play at the time, I ran from the matinee performance in my Puerto Rican gang costume to the audition. You know, the Puerto Rican flag was on the back of my jacket, and I started reading the monologue. And I got no more than twenty words out of my mouth and Jimmy Komack said, "you got the part."
But I kept going. I got another ten words out of my mouth, and he said, "you got the part." Again, I kept going. And he said, "you got the part. Shut up or you're going to blow it." And I said, "I memorized the whole damn monologue, and you're going to hear the whole damn monologue." He laughed and said, "you're my guy."
The actor's website is located here.