Sneak Peek: Smyth Tavern

It was very gracious of John McDonald to invite me over to see Smyth Tavern before the soft open this week because 1) a lot of folks won’t let the local paper in before the bigger fish and 2) I doubt I will ever get to shoot the place empty again. More soon when I can get over there to eat and drink, but to whet your appetite: the latest from the entrepreneur behind Lure Fishbar and Bar Tulix (among others) is bound to be a hotspot. In fact it may be already, just a few days in.

The old Little Park space in the Smyth Tribeca hotel (back then it was AKA) is barely recognizable, even though the layout is largely the same. The place has that old-New York clubby feel, but it’s fresher than the classic version — I am thinking thanks to the Breuer-style chandeliers stretching spider-like over the room. The high-tops on the West Broadway side have been replaced with raised booths (love), the entire dining room is clad in mahogany, and all the upholstery is deep red leather.

The art — largely Peter Schlesinger, Len Prince and Anne Collier photographs, lent to the restaurant by a private collector — are propped up casually on ledges along the windows, and can be changed out every year.

“It’s definitely upscale — not just your local pub,” said McDonald. “But there’s a fine line between serious and prissy or precious or fancy. We want this to be serious, but familiar.”

The menu will be classic American fare — things people can eat all the time, McDonald said — plus oysters and a curated wine program. You can see the menu here, but in short, the burger is $25, the lobster roll is $34 and a glass of wine is $16 – 24, although you can spend $340 on a single glass if you do that kind of thing.

Tribeca has been on McDonald’s mind for a while (he opened MercBar 30 years ago) — just down the street from his vortex in Soho (where he also lives), and this spot was the perfect opportunity. “I’ve always liked Tribeca and I had seen this space before,” he said. “I didn’t anyone else to sneak in and take it.”

Sidewalk seating is coming later this summer. And even better, they are also taking over the bar on the south side of the lobby.

Smyth Tavern
85 West Broadway at Chambers
7a to 10p daily



  1. Glad to see this space occupied and operating again!

    Lure (and MercBar) have been favorites so my hopes are high.

  2. Smyth Tavern looks terrific.
    Nice to once again have a cool restaurant right across the street from the gallery, and open all day too..