The Paris Café, one of New York City’s oldest brasseries, celebrates 150 years in the historic Seaport

The Paris Cafe is celebrating its 150th anniversary on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023.
Jenna Murray for The Paris Cafe

The Paris Café, one of the oldest brasseries in New York City, is celebrating its 150th anniversary in the historic South Street Seaport district.

For the entire month, the cafe, located at 119 South St., is offering a special prix fixe, five-course menu by Portuguese chef Luis Parreira, retro happy hours, DJ sets, brunch bingos, and a magic show. The restaurant serves French-American food, cocktails, beer, and wine.

The Paris Café opened its doors in 1873 but was forced to close its doors in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and after going through renovations, reopened in November 2021.

“We’re celebrating 150 years in New York,” Kendall Fries, marketing director for The Paris Café, told amNewYork Metro. “It’s been through prohibition, the world wars, Sandy, and then we survived the pandemic.”

Fries works for Common Ground, which took over The Paris Café last summer. The company, which also owns Common Ground Bar in the Meatpacking District, has since constructed a late-night lounge, produced a new menu, revived the cafe’s bar — which was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy — and repainted its walls. 

The construction work led to a historic discovery.

“We went to redo some of the walls and found murals from the 1800s — we’ve kept that open,” Fries said. “The space itself speaks to the history.”

The mural serves as a reminder to visitors and longtime customers that historic figures once cozied up at the pub in decades long gone. The Seaport has long been prone to new explorers and people traveling to New York. The Paris Café even once reportedly survived a gang takeover and had a backroom that served as a speakeasy during Prohibition, Fries shared.

“We like to tap into the people that have celebrated in The Paris Café before us,” Fries said. “We know people like Annie Oakley and Thomas Edison had been sitting here.”

The Paris Café had also played host to Teddy Roosevelt, Lauren Bacall, Buffalo Bill Cody, Butch Cassidy, Jimmy Hoffa, and the Sundance Kid.

The venue was restored by the Drink & Enjoy Crew, the White Horse Tavern, and the Hunt & Fish Club. 

Chris Reda, founder of the Drink & Enjoy Crew, told amNewYork Metro in a statement that 150 years is a monumental milestone for any restaurant in New York City.

“We’re so excited to show our guests the history of the space and what led the space to staying open this long,” Reda said. “I am confident we will continue the legacy built between these walls and cheers to the next 150.”

As the Seaport district continues to change and evolve — even as it remains close to the Financial District — for its residents and visitors, The Paris Café too has seen an influx of younger diners, according to Fries. She said that the team hopes that the fall season will bring more New Yorkers in to celebrate the restaurant’s 150th year.

“We’re just adding another layer of nightlife and hospitality,” Fries said. “It’s nice to know that it’s growing and expanding. We have the new and the old.”

The Paris Café bar.Jenna Murray for The Paris Café
The Paris Café dining area.Jenna Murray for The Paris Café
The Paris Café mural and dining area.Jenna Murray for The Paris Café
The Paris Café dining area.Jenna Murray for The Paris Café