New Kid on the Block: Five & Dime

“I love what I do,” says Dr. Mark J. Mohrmann. “But I’ve always wanted to do this, too—to create a place where people congregate and have a good time.”

He’s referring to Five & Dime, the new café and cocktail bar two doors down from his Highline Orthopaedics practice, which opened in the Woolworth Building two years ago. (The Five & Dime name, of course, is a nod to the Woolworth Corporation’s discount stores: “A nickel or dime would buy any item in the store,” as per the Saturday Evening Post.) While the medical office was being constructed, Mohrmann couldn’t help but notice the vacant storefront off the Woolworth Building’s ornate lobby. “This space was just sitting here, but I had to persuade the owners that I had a real vision for it,” he says.

Indeed, Five & Dime looks fantastic, with a sense of place rarely seen in a new establishment. The effort is visible everywhere: the tiled floors, the vaulted ceilings, the horseshoe marble bar, the leather banquettes, the extensive brass details, the Woolworth’s “W” insignia…. “I love Lower Manhattan so much,” says Mohrmann, who also lives nearby. “I felt pressure to do justice to the building. We’re right off the lobby! You can’t compete with it, but we could at least be in the ballpark.” He and building manager Roy Suskin went through a lot of old photos for inspiration. “There was originally a rathskeller bar in the basement, and these arches are almost identical to the ones that were there.” (Highline Orthopaedics looks Woolworth-appropriate, too. If only Just Salad and Cohen’s Fashion Optical would’ve tried harder….) Mohrmann got help from architects Kevin Greenberg and Mané Nalbandyan of Space Exploration and, for the brass, Amy Erickson of Aerickson Design. Still to come: A mirror, some wallpaper, and draperies on the lobby windows, to be pulled shut when the café shifts into bar mode.

Originally, the plan was for a large kitchen and a menu focused on sandwiches, but that would’ve required running ventilation through all of the retail spaces. Instead, Mohrmann partnered with Kaffe 1668 to run the coffee and food program—there will soon be salads, sandwiches, and the like (preview it here)—and, over time, he’d like to bring in other vendors, such as Petee’s Pies Company. “I want to enhance the local flavor,” he says.

Come evening—once the liquor license arrives, which could be any day now—Rena Sampson and Matthew Leatherman take over the bar. “We’re going to have a high-end whiskey program, heavy on emerging talents,” says Mohrmann. “And we have a six-tap system. We plan on rotating different ales monthly or seasonally, along with nitro coffees and premixed cocktails. We’re going to really have fun with it.”

Five & Dime is at 8 Park Place (between Church and Broadway), @fivedimenyc.

Recent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
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Van Leeuwen Ice Cream
Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette
Sweaty Betty
Serafina
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Alumnae
Book Nook Enrichment
Del Frisco’s Grille
Cryofuel

1 Comment

  1. Beautiful! This is how cafés should look.

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