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The Gotham Bar and Grill Comeback Moves Forward With a Liquor License Application

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Former general manager Bret Csencsitz has filed an application for a liquor license at the restaurant’s original Greenwich Village space

The streetside windows to Gotham Bar and Grill show the dining room within glowing yellow Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

The plan to revive Gotham Bar and Grill appears to be moving forward. This week, former general manager Bret Csencsitz filed an application with Community Board Two in Manhattan for a liquor license under the name Gotham Restaurants, LLC. A digital hearing for the application is set to take place on Thursday, October 8 beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Csencsitz, a general manager at the restaurant for 13 years, was previously in talks with Gotham’s four original partners to acquire the trademarked use of its name. A little over two months later, he now claims to have “acquired the rights to reopen Gotham Bar and Grill” at its original location in Greenwich Village, according to the application.

The liquor license application is the latest in Csencsitz’s ongoing plan to revive Gotham Bar and Grill, the venerable Manhattan institution that closed its doors in March after 36 years of business. Csencsitz first shared his intention to reopen the restaurant in July, and the New York Times reported at the time that the restaurant could be back by as early as next spring.

So far, Csencsitz has said he intends to bring back Gotham Bar and Grill as the restaurant existed “before the pandemic.” “Gotham will be a modern American fine dining restaurant with season and market driven menu,” Csencsitz wrote in his application this week. The former general manager has yet to disclose any specific changes to the menu or restaurant space, but has previously said that he wants “to make it feel like the same space but with a new look.”

In the year leading up to the pandemic, the restaurant had seen plenty of upheaval: Longstanding chef Alfred Portale left Gotham after 34 years and was replaced by chef Victoria Blamey, who was heralded as a new, more modern leader for the restaurant. Although Gotham maintained its three-star Times rating throughout the transition, Eater critic Ryan Sutton found the rebranded restaurant to be “stuck in the past, even with a new menu.”

After Gotham closed in March, Blamey accepted a temporary chef position with the Mayflower Inn and Spa in Connecticut. It’s not clear whether the chef plans to return to Gotham if the restaurant moves forward with its reopening plans. Eater has reached out to Csencsitz for more information.