After 147 years at the Seaport, The Paris Café is closing for good

The Paris Café, one of downtown’s oldest bars (always impossible to compete with Fraunces Tavern) — a fixture at the Seaport since 1873 — has closed for good. The pub weathered Sandy, when it was all but washed away, but could not overcome the coronavirus, which has wiped out business for the foreseeable future. Owner Pete O’Connell left this message on Facebook (thanks to the tip from M.):

“To all our wonderful patrons and friends I would like to extend a sincere thanks and and a fond farewell from The Paris Cafe. Through no fault of anyone but the outbreak of this virus, we are unable to forge a way forward that makes economic sense. We had no option but to close our doors.”

The pub was originally part of Meyers Hotel and Bar when the area was actually a working port and the Fulton Fish Market was just across the street. In the fall of 2012, Sandy blew the front doors off their hinges and flooded the place to the ceiling, leaving wine glasses floating in the aquarium and everything in the place trashed. (The video below shows the damage.) By the following May, seven months later, the bar was back open, but this was too much.

“Hope springs eternal and perhaps with a change in the economic climate we may find our way back. With all our hearts we say thank you for all the fun, friendships and laughter as well as the few shillings spent,” O’Connell wrote. “My thoughts are with our lovely staff at this time and we would like to thank all who subscribed to our GoFundMe fund which is gratefully appreciated by staff in need. Our friendships will remain strong and when the grey skies clear we will meet and be renewed.”

 

16 Comments

  1. Best brunch / bloodies / biscuits in town. We will miss you.

  2. A great loss for the Seaport. Beautiful old bar , with great fare.

  3. How sad! Say it aint so! Not permanently! The Paris Cafe was a great restaurant/bar in a great, dynamic neighborhood–where NYC began–on the Street of Ships, South Street at the corner of Peck Slip, where George Washington hid from the British. The service was excellent–wonderful people. There must be a way, must be an investor…. My God. The history, tradition, legends. From River Pirates to Mobsters. Since 1873. Not even Sandy could kill it. There must be a way forward.

  4. what a shame. The Paris was probably the last real NY bar for real NYers .Many a pint of Smithwicks & Guinness were enjoyed there with friends & family. All the best to staff esp, Annette,Rob,Dermot,and Peter. Till we meet again,Slainte

  5. The Paris was more than a neighborhood bar it was part of the history of the South street seaport ; a neighborhood institution. I have some pleasant memories , I’ll miss the people I met there Peter;Dermot;Rob and crazy Steve.

  6. Dermot was a great barman, really enjoyed meeting him in 2016. I do hope that somehow this decision will be reversed.

    Best of luck from Ireland to all the staff and patrons of this lovely establishment.

  7. As if the virus hasn’t taken enough away from us and now this!
    Not our beloved Paris Cafe! Been coming here for over 30 years…always a must stop anytime I was in lower Manhattan, and I’m from NJ. Wonderful staff, great food and a wee bit of the drink! Never had a day there that wasn’t fun and exhilarating. And so much history! There has to be a way to save the Paris Cafe, and I’m on board for anything that can be done! My best to Peter, Dermot and the entire staff! Be well my friends…

  8. I told my girlfriend that I was in love with her for the first time in December 2017.

  9. My husband and our friends will miss our fun, relaxed nights and days at the old Paris Cafe. Bless you wherever you go but come back once more if you can. We’ll be waiting to hear from you.

  10. My father was a bartender there in the 70’s. At that time the Paris Cafe served mostly the Fulton Fish Market. The clientele were the most colorful mix of characters from fish mongers to mobsters to FBI agents. It was an interesting and exciting time at the seaport. The area had gone through gentrification, the floor cleaner, the food had improved, but the great memories won’t change.

    • I have very fond memories of many late nights spent there during my U.S. Marshals career in the 1980’s. This Southern man learned a lot and met some truly interesting individuals, that’s for sure!

  11. I was a resident of the area for 7 years and loved the Paris cafe so much. Went often had my 35th birthday there and went after sandy even though I didn’t live in Ny state anymore. When I was last there I missed the alabaster chandeliers lost to sandy but the bar was there and the beautiful mosaic floor. It will be missed I so wish there was another option.

  12. Huge loss to our neighborhood. So sad.

  13. A neighborhood staple gone forever. So many great memories there. So sad to see this. 😢😢😢 When I walk by it I still peer into the door in hopes that maybe, just maybe, some investors realize the diamond it is and invest and save it.

    Au reviore 💔

  14. I have so many fond memories of the Paris Cafe from the 80’s through the 90’s when Pat MacMenamin and family ran the place.
    Working overnight about a mile away, we would end up at the Paris for midnight liquid lunches and 3-4 am forays after work.
    One of my funniest memories were of the residential tenants that moved in and out of the apartments above the Paris.
    They would see the apartment in the daytime and move in and be totally shocked with the floodlights noise and motion beginning to flow outside their windows at 1 am till 8 am. Not to mention the fishy smells.
    Good by Paris.

  15. I think Paris Cafe might be reopening.

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