Seen & Heard: Rebuffed at Spring Place

••• Last week, I was browsing restaurants on OpenTable when I spotted Spring Place, the restaurant at the private club (of the same name) inside Spring Studios at 50 Varick. Having heard the food is good but the place is often empty, I assumed that the restaurant was quietly opening to the public—and I reserved a table for two for this past Wednesday night. Before leaving for the restaurant, I checked to see whether reservations were available on future dates, and I got a message saying “reservations are not available on this date at this restaurant.” So when Adam and I arrived at the entrance, I warned him that we might not get in. The attendant in the lobby had us input our info into iPads, and we were directed to the sixth floor. At the restaurant, one of the two hostesses said that she had seen my reservation come in and wanted to contact me to explain that Spring Place is a private club, but OpenTable wouldn’t give out my info. She asked us to wait, and headed off. After 10 minutes, she came back with a membership coordinator: If we agreed to a tour of the facility, they’d let have dinner in the restaurant. Thanks but no thanks. The room is pretty (as you can see in Spring Place’s photo below), and I can see the appeal of a restaurant where you can always get a (quiet) table, but our experience was awkward and ungracious. At a minimum, if they knew we were coming, they should’ve devised a plan; better yet, they should’ve Googled my name and warned me that my reservation was not going to be honored. True hospitality, of course, would be to honor it regardless.

••• The Bar Works coworking space at 95 Chambers has opened. If you’ve been reading the comments, you’re already aware that the brand has a cloud over it.

••• In other Chambers Street news, I heard from a member of Community Board 1 that sidewalk seating is, in fact, allowed on most of the street: “The Tribeca Mixed Use district regulations trump the Lower Manhattan District. What [CB1’s Michael Levine] found out after puzzling over all the elements with his contact from city planning is that the Lower Manhattan regulations include Chambers only to cover one part of the street where cafes are not allowed: the south side of Chambers in front of the Tweed Courthouse. It’s partially clear from the maps on ZOLA: Zoom in on the  map, then click Other Zoning Designations, then Sidewalk Cafe Zoning Regulations.” You get the screengrab below. (This is in regard to an application from the Pret a Manger at 125 Chambers that will be discussed at the CB1 Licensing Committee meeting on June 14. If you support or oppose the application, you can show up and make your voice heard. It’s at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building; bring ID to get in.)

••• The Real Deal might have to revise its estimate that 20% of the Westfield World Trade Center mall is unleased: the Thomas Sabo jewelry store has closed, as noted by Hudson River.

••• Downtown Wine & Liquors at 90 Hudson is closer to closing.

17 Comments

  1. I have been to spring place a few times. Huge mistake on their part not to honor your reservation. In my experiences there, the staff have been very friendly and gracious. The food is excellent, the room is stunning and a really fun place to eat. They seriously dropped the ball with you though, and it would have been so easy for them to make it right. Disappointing to hear.

  2. i thought spring place/studios was supposed to be used to film commercials and “occasionally” be used to host a musical performance/private event. at least this is what they originally told the community board. now the space has turned into a soho house type place with parties and events taking place every single night – sometimes multiple ones per night. now they are opening a restaurant that is open to the public?
    how can this be allowed?

    • Here is what the resolution recommending granting the “restaurant liquor license” states. It sounds like the restaurant is not really open to the public, despite what CB1 was told.

      “COMMUNITY BOARD #1 – MANHATTAN RESOLUTION DATE: APRIL 23, 2013

      […]

      “WHEREAS: The total area of the establishment is 44,022 square feet, including a commissary area of 3,704 square feet and a roof terrace of 8,200 square feet; and

      “WHEREAS: The commissary will include a dining area with 20 tables of 100 seats and a bar area of 10 tables with 49 seats; the hours of operation of the commissary are 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday;

      […]

      “THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT: Community Board #1 opposes the granting of a restaurant liquor license to Spring Studios New York, LLC at 50 Varick Street unless the applicant complies with the limitations and conditions set forth above.

      […]

      “Spring agrees to have no more than 15 events/programs with 600 to 800 attendees. Of these 15 events/programs 5 will end no later than 6pm, 6 will end no later than 10pm and the final 4 will end no later than 11pm.

      […]

      “Spring agrees to have no more than 36 events/programs between 400 to 600 attendees. Of these 36 events/programs 10 will end no later than 6pm, 10 will end no later than 9pm, 8 will end no later than 10pm, 6 will end no later than 11pm and 2 will end no later than 12am.

      […]

      “Spring agrees to have no more than 60 events/programs with 200 to 400 attendees. Of these 60 events/programs 20 will end no later than 6pm, 18 will end no later than 9pm, 15 will end no later than 10pm, 5 will end no later than 11pm and 2 will end no later than 12am.

      […]

      “Spring agrees to have no more than 180 events/programs with 200 or fewer attendees. Of these 180 events/programs 80 will end no later than 6pm, 55 will end no later than 9pm, 28 will end no later than 10pm, 12 will end no later than 11pm and 5 will end no later than 12am.

      […]

      “The commissary will be open to the public as a white table cloth reservation only restaurant.”

      http://www.nyc.gov/html/mancb1/downloads/pdf/Resolutions/13-04-23.pdf

      • Spring absolutely made it sound as if the restaurant would be open to the public. Some of us considered it an amenity that would help make up for the disruption caused by events.

  3. So they post on Open Table to make it seem like they are open to the public, but do not honor the reservations…

    • It wasn’t quite like that. The restaurant uses OpenTable to manage their members’ reservations, and it’s not supposed to show up on OpenTable—the folks at Spring Place said it was a glitch on OpenTable’s part.

      • Even if there is no nefarious intent to fool anyone with OpenTable, how does restricting the restaurant to members of and ‘applicants’ touring a private club satisfy the terms of the CB1 resolution, namely that it be “open to the public as a white table cloth reservation only restaurant”?

        It obviously does not satisfy this term of the resolution, because a private club can only mean an organization that can legally bar entry to that portion of the public who are not members.

        • I wasn’t disagreeing with you about the terms between CB1 and Spring Place—just clarifying what happened.

          • I understand that you were reporting the facts without drawing conclusions as to their intent. Nevertheless I think you happened on a story here of more significance than mere bad manners or inhospitableness.

  4. by the way….. downtown Liquors has NO discounts. The consumers are fooled, the owners are greedy. They increased their prices on everything and every bottle. I wanted to purchase a bottle that was normally listed at $59.’ish. A few weeks ago it was marked at $99. They offer 30%,
    Not 50% off but in fact. I discounts at all

  5. I agree that spring studios has been a massive bait and switch. It would be great if CB1 would look into this and act accordingly for the future. I recall CB1 people being wined and dined to vote yes including getting tours of the space ahead of time. Now look what happened…..

    • I don’t think “wined and dined” comes remotely close to describing the interactions between Spring and CB1 during the initial negotiations over stipulations for the liquor license or any time afterward. (It was all pretty contentious, and I wish that CB1 would visit more of the locations it discusses!) CB1 has continued to press Spring about the ways the facility has being used in intervening years, and remember, it has only an advisory role to the State Liquor Authority. While the restaurant is a potential sore point, I’d hardly say that Spring has been a disaster for the community. With local businesses failing left and right, anything that brings in people could be considered useful.

      • a total “bait and switch” is exactly what occurred. has anyone read the stipulation?!

        • I looked it up, and the stipulation couldn’t be clearer: “The commissary will be open to the public as a white table cloth reservation only restaurant.” The question is whether anyone will/can do anything about it. (Related: The lobby at 101 Barclay remains off-limits, even though it’s supposed to be open to the public.)

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