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The Frick: 14 Bars Are for ‘Special Events,’ Not Daytime Parties

The renovated museum will have a restaurant that serves alcohol

A dark gallery with paintings arranged on a wall.
The Frick Collection will have 14 new bars when it reopens later this year. Only one of them will operate during visitor hours.
Getty Images

We have an update to our story from Monday, where we reported that the Frick Collection has plans to open 14 new bars this year as part of its ongoing renovation.

The Frick will open a new restaurant on the second floor of its reception hall fall, the first in the museum’s history. The small cafe will have the only bar that’s accessible during visiting hours. The other 13 bars will be used for exhibition openings and private events when the museum reopens, says Heidi Rosenau, who handles communications for the Frick.

The Frick has been temporarily closed as part of a $160 million renovation. In March 2021, the museum temporarily moved to the Breuer building at 945 Madison Avenue and East 75th Street, while its 1914 Gilded Age mansion was renovated. It will reopen at 1 E. 70th Street and Fifth Avenue later this year.

In the past, the Frick applied for one-day liquor licenses for special events, but its operators wanted to serve food and alcohol permanently. “The application for our liquor license is structured to accommodate this restaurant, the first in our history, and the sort of amenity that most museums offer during public hours,” Rosenau says.

The plans follow weeks of back and forth between the Frick and Upper East Side residents, according to Upper East Site. The museum’s original proposal included a proposal for 17 bars. Neighbors shut that down fearing it would lead to late-night parties, traffic, and noise.

The two parties reached an agreement at a community board meeting on January 24. The Frick could operate 14 bars from the museum, but they would be subjected to over two dozen restrictions.