Former speakeasy Chumley's shuttered almost a decade ago following a wall collapse. Now, after several fits and starts, the legendary bar will reopen under the management of Alessandro Borgognone of Sushi Nakazawa. Borgognone has brought on partners Doug Hopkins and Vito Ferrero, who will oversee day to day operations. Jim Miller, who was the previous owner, is also involved in the project.
The deal came together relatively quickly, only two month ago. "We found out that the prior owners didn't have the means to get [the bar] to where it needed to be," Borgognone explains. The structural problems resulting from the wall collapse required that 86 Bedford be completely rebuilt. It is now essentially a brand new building. With the exception of the front door, which is the original. Borgognone says that it's "only right to keep" Miller on as a minority partner, while Ferrero adds that it brings "historical continuity" to the project.
Currently the space is completely raw but the goal it to restore the interiors as faithfully as possible to the original state. Borgognone says he is looking to recreate "the feel of the 1920s." All the original photographs that lined the wood-paneled walls at Chumley's have been reclaimed and the team is working with an architect and historian to get the details as historically accurate as possible. There will be some changes however: the side entrance will no longer be in use, and patrons will walk through the front door instead.
When the renovations are complete, the dining room will accommodate 35 guests and there will be a concise food menu of half a dozen or so "well executed classics" — think burgers, wings, and steak frites. Prices are expected to be in the $10 to $25 range. There will also be multiple beers on tap, and the team will be working with local breweries to develop a house ale. There will also be a comprehensive cocktail program with prices projected to be in the $10 to $15. The project is expected to be finished in early May 2016.