Longtime family-owned bar and restaurant Peter McManus Cafe will live for another year, owner Justin McManus says after a meeting with the landlord on Wednesday. The legendary bar’s been running on short-term leases for more than two years, ever since he originally found out about the building’s sale. Developer The Renatus Group, which officially closed the $10.5 million sale in April, is still exploring its options for how to develop the property, and until they make a decision, the bar will keep getting short-term leases, McManus says. This round, it's likely it will be a yearlong agreement.
But once the group figures out what it wants to do with the property, Peter McManus will likely need to leave, McManus says. His family has been running the business at 152 Seventh Ave., at 19th Street, since 1936, when McManus’s great-grandfather oversaw it. "Obviously we would love to stay there forever," McManus says. "But if we have to look to move, we will look to move." When they do, they will look to remain in Chelsea.
Peter McManus Cafe is the oldest bar run by a single family in New York City. It’s known for being the unofficial hangout for the Upright Citizens Brigade improv group, and just for being a wildly popular bar. Since blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York speculated about an imminent closure, the bar’s seen an outpouring of support. A Facebook group called Coalition to #SaveMcManus formed in light of the news and already has more than 600 members.
McManus says negotiations with the landlord have been open, so he expects that they’ll be straightforward about what and when they plan to start developing the property. His family hasn’t started exploring other locations in the neighborhood yet. "We really are overwhelmed by the amount of love and support that people have given to the pub," he says. "It’s really touching to us."