It’s rare for a restaurant to get a new lease on life. And in today’s exceedingly fickle (not to mention prohibitively expensive) industry, even decades of accrued customer sentimentality isn’t enough to keep the doors open. Which makes the story of Chumley’s especially unusual, as — after laying dormant post chimney collapse for over 10 years — the famed 20’s-era literary hub and stylish speakeasy is back in business; thanks to Sushi Nakazawa owner Alessandro Borgognone.
But this is no nostalgia project; instead of painstakingly recreating the smoky, octogenarian pub, Chumley’s 2.0 is very much a modern-day restaurant, helmed by former Atera chef, Victoria Blamey. And while it’s far from a dive, neither is it Sushi Nakazawa or Atera expensive, commanding $6-8 for beer (including a signature lager from Sixpoint) and $20 or under for hearty, casual eats like shepherd’s pie, fried chicken, fish and chips and an “86’d Burger” referencing the legend that the term “86’d” was actually coined at Chumley’s (the official entrance was on Barrow Street, with a clandestine exit on 86 Bedford Street, which patrons would use during Prohibition police raids).
Décor wise, the atmospheric West Village space has been outfitted with a brand new bar, as well as leather banquettes, French oak tables and patterned wallpaper, although the antique book jackets that famously adorned the walls have been remounted, and there’s still no signage on the massive wooden door— a clever method for keeping tourists out and ushering savvy New Yorkers in.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
86 Bedford St.