The four-story house on the corner of West 49th Street and Avenue of the Americas has stood there for more than a century, much of it like a legendary Irish pub named Hurley’swhere Prohibition existed and the development of the Rockefeller Center.
For decades, it was a popular watering hole for NBC stars like Johnny Carson and other VIPs of the network, who would use a secret passageway connected to 30 famous Rock studios next door. .
Now, a group of downtown set makers are reopening it next week as the Pebble Bar, and in the process, they’re trying to lure a fun party scene to Rockefeller Center. Yes, right down the street from where tourists gather to see the Christmas tree.
“Pebble Bar is filling the void,” said Matt Kliegman, bar owner and restaurateur who runs a joint venture with a team that includes Carlos Quirartehis partners in downtown locations like Smile, Jane Ballroom and Ray’s . celebrity hangout dive bar. “There is nothing wrong with Midtown. But it is missing certain things. ”
Investors include DJ and producer Mark Ronson; actors Nicholas Braun, Justin Theroux and Jason Sudeikis; and Pete Davidson, the “Saturday Night Live” star worked alongside.
Mr. Kliegman and Mr. Quirarte envisioned a nightlife spot that had a reason to go to Rockefeller Center after dark. It might not be such a crazy idea. Rock Center, if not exactly Dimes Square, at least a little more is happening these days.
Lodian upscale Italian cafe run by a chef Ignacio Mattos, which opened there last summer, brings its gourmet buzz to a neighborhood known for its takeaway sandwiches from Pret a Manger. And Rough Trade, the vinyl record store, closed its warehouse in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood last year and moved to 30 Rock.
Mr. Kliegman and Mr. Quirarte have a knack for spotting the next scene – or making one. They also have a loyal following and celebrity friends to help boost Pebble Bar’s profile.
Those things have attracted Tishman Speyer, the real estate company that runs the Rockefeller Cener and is trying to replace the mall’s chain of stores with more bespoke experiences. In 2019, the company approached Mr. Kliegman about opening a bar in the old Hurley space. At the time, the ground floor housed a Magnolia Bakery (and still does) and the upper floors were used as offices.
EB Kelly, chief executive officer of Tishman Speyer, calls these efforts “a re-imagining of the Center,” adding, “The Pebble Bar Team is a great example of this. Their design sensibilities call back to Rock Center’s iconic Art Deco aesthetic, while delivering a new and vibrant energy. ”
For Mr. Quirarte, Midtown conjures up the legendary big city with its skyscrapers, TV studios and the neon lights of Radio City Music Hall. “There was that feeling up there, ‘I’m in New York, I’m going to call a cab!’, he said. “The problem before was that it felt a bit stale and claustrophobic.”
Hurley’s dates back to the 1890s and belongs to an earlier era of vibrant watering holes. It entered New York legend when the Rockefeller Center was under development in the 1930s, because the owners refused to vacate their long-term leases, leaving the entire complex in the Art style. Deco was built around townhouses. A famous photograph shows a hole in the ground, with only Hurley left standing.
Hurley’s original closed in the 1970s, though it continued for another two decades under new, prior ownership. good ending in 1999.
For the new bar, Mr. Kliegman and Mr. Quirarte imagined a fictional townhouse with different vibes on each floor. (The name comes from a quote by Jack Kerouac, another famous patron of Hurley, who once described the townhouse as “the pebble in the hem of a tall man’s shoe that is the building itself.” RCA.”)
Designed by Gachot Studios, the interior has a high level of luxury not evident at the downtown spots of Mr. Kliegman and Mr. Quirrarte, like that of Ray. The second floor houses a traditional tavern, with an engraved bronze mirror, aged bronze architectural lamps and a wall of windows overlooking the bustle of the Avenue of the Americas. The third floor is a 30-seat restaurant and raw bar, with a mix of upholstered wedding receptions, dining chairs and tables made of Noir St. Laurent.
The top floor is an intimate private event space called Johnny’s. Classic marble fireplace mantle and standing piano give the space the intimate feel of an abode. It could be the future home of “SNL” cast parties, or where musicians playing Radio City have parties afterward.
Mr. Kliegman and Mr. Quirarte are planning to open their doors slightly to friends and family before Pebble Bar opens to the public next week. “We don’t have big parties anymore,” Mr. Quirarte said.
“It may be a little more precious than our other places, but he adds that it will also attract tattoo artists to Midtown,” Mr. Kliegman said. “We don’t sell veal ribs for $95.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/style/pebble-bar-rockefeller-center-hurleys.html Pebble Bar Opens at Rockefeller Center with Pete Davidson and Nicholas Braun among investors