People may remember Temple Bar in its heyday (1990s), when it was one of the only bars in the neighborhood. It was a bastion of sophistication, go-to date spot, where you could enjoy a pricey, and oversized, martini with a side of steak and free popcorn. The new owners (who also own Sona and Attaboy) have taken over the space and recognized all the wonderful things about what made this place special, and kept them intact—including its signature chameleon skeleton that has marked the door since day one.
The original Temple Bar closed December 31st, 2017 after the death of its owner George Schwarz. (see the interesting history of Temple Bar at this link, whose owner was also responsible for renovating Keens Steakhouse, which he acquired in the ’70s) The classic Art Deco décor has been freshened up, including the artwork on the wall, which was conceived by the person who designed the bar’s chameleon logo.
The drinks menu offers an assortment of ten martinis, and for another $20, you can add caviar to each. You can also opt to top a section of their stirred drinks with Champagne, so a visit here is for those who love a splurge. Food-wise, the menu offers snacks, bar food, and their signature Steak Cubes, along with Oysters, for when you get peckish.
Reservations are encouraged, though we walked in early eve on a Saturday and enjoyed a cocktail standing across from the bar, while perching our drinks and popcorn on the narrow ledge (this should be standard in all bars!). Cocktail: the Spicy Flamingo with tequila blanco, watermelon, lime, agave, and chili salt. Note the lighting comes from below the bar and shelf, so take care with your selfies: underlighting is not the most flattering!
Tables in the back offer a luxe, comfortable retreat from the streets. Do pay a visit here, whether for nostalgia or encountering for the first time.
Temple Bar, 332 Lafayette Street (betw Houston/Bleecker St), Instagram @templebarnyc