New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fanelli Cafe

Fanelli Cafe is the 2nd oldest eating establishment in NYC, dating back to 1847. The bar is located in prime SOHO at 94 Prince Street at Mercer. The neighborhood has seen transformations and cycles and although the architecture has been preserved, there are very few older business establishments. Fanelli is one of the few survivors and a walk by it, with its glowing neon sign, does give a feeling of old New York. And of course the bar's clientele has paralleled the transformations of the neighborhood. The name Nicholas Gerdes is etched in the glass transom above the doorway - Gerdes ran the saloon from 1878 to 1902. The place operated as a speakeasy from 1920 to 1933, so calling his place a cafe was a smart move in 1922, at the start of Prohibition, when retired boxer Michael Fanelli began his 60-year tenure as owner. Fanelli Cafe has a new website, not fully operational, but there is a nice detailed history - click here. The atmosphere is dark and woodsy - there is a beautiful back bar with antique boxing photos from the turn of the century (sorry, I have no interior photos). The food is good basic American fare - you can find a menu on their site. Beware, though. The place is no secret and gets very crowded with the bridge and tunnel gang - try to go off hours if you can ...

9 comments:

Chris & Deb said...

I love the intimacy of your photo. Great story too!

Brian said...

Chris & Deb;
Thanks - you would like the intimacy of the place too.
Brian

Velvet Sea Blog said...

that's great.. i had no idea this place was anything special. what's the oldest?

ruth said...

Places like this are my favorite, in Chicago or NYC, wherever. You feel as if you are a regular even the first time.

Brian said...

Velvet Sea;
I believe the oldest would be Fraunces Tavern - the subject of a future posting.
Brian

Anonymous said...

nice story.
and like the night view too.
I like this type of old places, some old style, some old time you could feel.
jing

Fanuch said...

I wonder if this place was started by one of my distant relatives - my name is Michael Fanelli...

www.myfinanceandaccountingblog.com

David Crum Jr said...

I use to sit and talk with Mike Fanelli in the 70s. The great stories going back to when he opened I will never forget. It was the neighborhood bar back then

Anonymous said...

@David Crum Jr - Please come in on a Fri or Sat night and tell me some of those stories! I just started working there & would love to know more about it.