Midtown Manhattan’s historic speakeasy 21 Club plans to close for good next year. The Prohibition-era restaurant on 52nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenue, known for its art collection, jockey figurines, and A-list clientele, has been closed since the coronavirus pandemic first hit New York City in March. But as amNY reported, the closure appears to be permanent.
“In accordance with the measures established by the public authorities, 21 Club has been temporarily closed since March 2020 to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus and protect its guests and employees,” a spokesperson for the restaurant told amNY.
“In light of the ongoing global crisis and anticipated extended recovery period for the hospitality industry, the difficult decision was made that it will not be feasible to reopen the 21 Club in its current form for the foreseeable future.”
Jack Kreindler and Charlie Berns first opened the club in Greenwich Village in 1922 as a speakeasy, later moving to a basement location on Washington Place, then uptown, and finally landing at its 52nd Street spot in 1930. As 6sqft previously reported, each new location brought more exclusive guests, with the bar hosting Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and stars like Marilyn Monroe, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, and others. President Donald Trump even hosted a dinner there following the 2016 election.
In addition to the jockeys hanging on the facade of the building, the restaurant is known for its collection of original artwork, as well as the sports memorabilia and toys, which hang from the ceiling and were gifted by notable patrons.
21 Club will lay off 148 employees on March 9 next year, according to a layoff notice filed with the state. The restaurant joins a long list of beloved small businesses that have closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of federal support, including the Roosevelt Hotel, Grand Central Oyster Bar, Gem Spa, Coogan’s, and The Boathouse in Central Park.
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