As the pandemic wears on, West Village institution the Beatrice Inn appears to be the latest restaurant with an uncertain future. The building’s landlord, real estate firm Spirit Investment Partners, has listed the space on the market within the past week while simultaneously in the middle of ongoing lease negotiations with chef and owner Angie Mar. Time Out New York first reported the news.
The Beatrice Inn’s current lease is up at the end of January, and Mar is in talks with the real estate firm over a possible extension in the space.
“[Mar and her team] are currently in good faith negotiations to renew their lease with their landlord and making concerted efforts to determine whether a proposed increase in rent is sustainable amidst a global pandemic,” a restaurant spokesperson said in a statement to Eater. The spokesperson declined to share further details about the proposed rent increase.
David Nachman, a partner at the real estate firm that owns the space, confirms with Eater that negotiations are ongoing but confidence levels are not high that a deal will be struck, he says. According to Nachman, Mar hasn’t paid full rent on the space since March, and the firm only saw some money come through after Mar received a Paycheck Protection Program loan. “She didn’t pay us a penny until she basically had to,” Nachman says.
The Beatrice Inn’s spokesperson disputed Nachman’s characterization of the situation, saying that the restaurant “reached an amicable agreement for the remainder of the lease term that has been paid.”
Many restaurants across the city have been in similarly difficult financial situations throughout the pandemic. After the city shut down in March and restaurants were reduced to takeout and delivery service only, scores of operators were not able to pay full rent on their properties. In September, the New York City Hospitality Alliance surveyed over 450 owners and found that nearly 90 percent of businesses couldn’t pay full rent in the previous month. Even for those who received PPP funds, that money was only a weeks-long band-aid for many struggling operators, and it hasn’t stopped restaurant closures from taking place.
Despite the current climate, Nachman says that the firm has received “a ton of interest” from other restaurant operators after they decided to put the space on the market.
The Beatrice Inn has been located in the West Village for nearly a century, first taking shape as a speakeasy in the 1920s and then morphing into various other forms, including a neighborhood Italian joint in the 1950s and a nightclub drawing a fashiony crowd in the early aughts. Mar took over ownership in 2016 and transformed it once again, this time into a raucous paradise for meat lovers. The Beatrice Inn is currently open and offering both indoor and outdoor dining, plus takeout and delivery.
If negotiations fall through and Mar ends up having to vacate the space in January, she owns the rights to the name of the Beatrice Inn, the spokesperson said. Any new tenant would not be able to use the same name at the historic spot.
- Iconic West Village restaurant The Beatrice Inn’s future could be in limbo [TONY]