Buddha Bar looks to be (finally) on its way

Buddha Bar, which has been in the works in the former Megu space since 2016, looks like it is now making its final move and its new website says it is scheduled to open this summer. (Thanks to J. for the heads up and pic.) I’ll see if they get back to my “press enquiry,” and in the meantime, here’s what we know from CB1 Licensing meetings over the past five years.

They first got a license for the space in October 2016, but that was after several months of rejections from CB1 starting in March that year. (Megu closed in 2014, and to that I say, how old am I?) Then they came before the community board again in 2019, since their approvals had expired. At that point they were supposed to open in the fall of 2019. I guess they dodged a bullet there…

The space at 62 Thomas is now split in two with a total occupancy of 291: two thirds at Buddha Bar and one third at the restaurant, Assunta Roma. Several neighbors showed up in 2019 to make sure the bar will have ample security on the street to keep crowds and black cars moving. The bar agreed to the same stipulations they came up with last time:
* no queuing outside (no velvet ropes)
* no sub woofers
* speakers must be hung on springs
* the sound limiter must be locked by the sound engineer and not accessible to staff
* open till midnight on weekends

The two spaces will have separate entrances: Assunta Roma will have 80 seats and Buddha Bar will have 120 downstairs in the restaurant and 40 in the upstairs lounge, along with 18 at the bar. Nothing has held them up, Nicolas Barthelemy said at the time, they just are trying to “do things right.” He also said then that due to restrictions from the SLA passed up from the community board, the focus will be on dining and an early bar crowd.

Assunta Roma, he said, is not chef driven but rather concept driven. Its sister restaurant in Rome is actually called Assunta Madre; there are also restaurants in Milan, Moscow and Barcelona. In 2014, the Financial Times called the Rome Assunta Madre “the city’s best seafood restaurant […] a place of pilgrimage for the cognoscenti.” While that location was “shut down [in 2017] by police on suspicion of being used as a front for money laundering,” says the Telegraph, it has since reopened.



  1. When I hear Buddha Bar, it brings me back to the the era of many a nights spent at Buddha Bar on Little West 12th Street.

  2. This is great news – love when new restaurants come to the neighborhood!

  3. So excited! Can’t wait to have them back in the Big Apple!!

  4. Ughh! Not good news for the people living on Thomas & Duane Sts. Their 12th St location had numerous neighborhood complaints about this nightclub and a small street like Thomas is no place to open a bridge & tunnel club. I suspect the only locals who will be happy are those with weekend homes that don’t live between Church & W. Bdwy on Thomas or northern Duane.

  5. Megu does not make you old. Obeca Li would date you.

  6. The Bible-thumping church, Chris, that used to be there would really date you and make you long again for the neighborhood disturbance that was only a bit of hymn singing on Sunday mornings. I sympathize with nearby neighbors who will now once again have to deal with drunken sidewalk loudness and the endless honking of horns on narrow Thomas St. Those who say “oh great!” do not live in the environs. If they did they would sing a different tune.

  7. With a midnight closing on weekends (and I assume weekdays too??), and very few places for the crowd to go after closing, I’m really wondering why they chose the neighborhood.

    My condolences to those who live on Thomas Street!