Upper West Side Emerald Inn Slated To Close After 70 Years Due To Rent Increase

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The Emerald Inn, located on the Upper West Side at 205 Columbus since the 1940s.

UPDATE 5/7: Emerald Inn Targeting June 1st For 72nd Street Opening

UPDATE 4/2: Emerald Inn Relocating To West 72nd Street

UPDATE 2/26: Emerald Inn Space Slated To Become… Kate Spade Store

Still in the process of gathering details on this, but it looks like the Emerald Inn is scheduled to close later this year due to a rent increase.

The third-generation business has been located at 205 Columbus (between 69th & 70th) since the 1940s. The owners are apparently trying to find a new space

Around New Years, the following was posted on Emerald Inn’s Facebook page:

“Soeey [sic] to have to tell you the Emerald will be closing on the 1st of May We are looking at a few other places, Will keep myou [sic] posted”

Since then, I’ve heard from multiple readers that the issue is rent related. One of them, Aimee Hoefler, wrote a blog post called “Save The Emerald Inn.”

MUW reader Glenn sent in this note when he heard about the news during a recent visit to Emerald Inn:

I was talking to one of the patrons who has been going there for years and they mentioned that it may be closing in April due to the increase in rent. [If that's true], I think the UWS is losing an institution and a lot of its character.

This is not the first time Emerald Inn has faced the prospect of closing. Back in September 2008, the neighborhood stalwart faced a similar situation.

At the time, The Post revealed the landlord wanted to double the rent on the 800 square foot space to $350,000/year.

In January 2009, the New York Times reported that Emerald Inn’s owner and the landlord had worked out a new two-year lease for less than the $350K/year first sought.

There’s a lot of good history on Emerald Inn in that NYT post above, including this:

The Emerald has been an enduring link to the West Side’s raffish past, when Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues were populated by gin mills and where brawls among patrons, enthusiastically mediated by bruiser bartenders, were not unusual.

“We were called Spanish Harlem until the ’60s, when they put in Lincoln Center,” said [manager and third-generation owner] Charlie Campbell. In recent decades, the clientele has gone upscale, to professionals who can afford Upper West Side housing, along with a sprinkling of loyal locals, some of them survivors of the era when “West Side Story” was a contemporary narrative.

Emerald Inn joins the ranks of Upper West Side institutions facing closure due to rent increases.

Last month, MyUpperWest broke the news that Big Nick’s Burger Joint — open at Broadway near W. 77th since 1963  — may also be forced to close due to rent issues.

Will post more details as I get them. Until then, here are some write-ups on Emerald Inn:

  • New York Magazine: “In a neighborhood overrun with big, modern buildings and chain stores, Emerald Inn provides a cozy oasis (and an easy listening soundtrack) for its over-30, suit-clad, after-work clientele. A small, tavern-like interior holds a long bar and a few parallel booths—all of which feature direct views of the televisions. The décor is basic; walls are hung with little more than a few requisite Guinness posters.  Inside, native Irish waitresses serve up a menu of pub grub standards: bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips. (International fare gets no fancier than chicken Française, chicken Marsala and mozzarella sticks.) Generally, patrons just sip, chat, and watch the game. The vibe lacks any alpha male attitude so guys cruising for chicks will be as out of place in this joint as a Cosmo drinker.”
  • Shecky’s: “The staff here is so friendly and down to earth, they begin to feel like the nice Irish family you never had. This pub has been around since the 1940s and has been run by three generations, so the family feel isn’t just you trying to give your alcoholism more depth—it’s real. The food, such as the shepherd’s pie and bangers and mash, has that home-cooked appeal as well. It’s not necessarily traditional Irish, but the customers agree Emerald Inn Pub has the best burger in town. It’s a fairly simple place with a few televisions, a long bar, and a handful of booths, but Emerald Inn Pub has made a regular out of many New Yorkers.”
  • Last month, acclaimed chef (and Upper West Sider) Bill Telepan named Emerald Inn his favorite “Dive Bar” in the neighborhood.

H/t to MUW readers Glenn, Lauren, James, and Aimee.

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