Manhattan icon ‘21’ Club is down for the count this month. Pipes at the historic Midtown restaurant at 21 West 52nd St., between 5th and 6th avenues, broke due to dipping temperatures — leading to “significant damage” at the restaurant, according to a statement.
Three sprinklers went off, bringing down chunks of ceiling and causing water damage primarily in a central stairwell, the restaurant’s director of marketing Avery Fletcher says. The team anticipates needing the rest of the month to close up, with an expected reopening date in early February for the main dining room. The private dining rooms will open later with a “fresher” look, with new carpeting and wall coverings, Fletcher adds. Most notably, despite the water everywhere, most of the art and memorabilia are safe, including the ceiling of the barroom with all the toys. The restaurant, known for its stately decor, will likely maintain its look.
‘21’ first opened in 1930 and is one of New York’s classic old-school restaurants, known to host a slew of celebrities and politicians over the better part of the last century. (The website even has an interactive map of past visitors and where they sat, ranging from Whoopi Goldberg to Nancy Reagan.) Though it’s an icon, it’s less known for its culinary prowess than for its timeless space and as a clubby drinking den for the rich, powerful, and famous.
More recently, the restaurant’s been in the news a lot because of one of its regulars, Donald Trump. As president-elect, Trump broke protocol and visited the restaurant without telling press. He also compared the Afghanistan war plan to the restaurant’s renovations in the 1980s — an anecdote that the ‘21’ Club’s former ownership later said was based on false information.
Eater has reached out to ‘21’ Club for further information.