The San Remo Cafe was a historic bohemian haven in Greenwich Village where a who's-who of intellectuals, writers and musicians mingled in the early-to-mid-20th century, before it shuttered in 1967. The list of famous people who hung out there is truly awe-inspiring, including the likes of James Agee, W. H. Auden, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, William S. Burroughs, Jackson Pollock, William Styron, Dylan Thomas, Miles Davis, Allen Ginsberg and Frank O'Hara.
Jack Kerouac, who was like the patron saint of the place, lovingly described the bar's crowd in his novel The Subterraneans: "Hip without being slick, intelligent without being corny, they are intellectual as hell and know all about Pound without being pretentious or saying too much about it. They are very quiet, they are very Christlike."
Now, those hip intellectuals have now given way to the next generation of San Remo attendees: models, scenesters, yuppies, tech billionaires, and influencers. Because San Remo has re-opened in Nolita and bro, is it ever the place to chill and meet quiet, #Christlike influencers.
The NY Post attended the soft opening last weekend for the new San Remo, which is located at 201 Lafayette Street. During the day, it's a typical downtown coffee shop tailor-made for pristine latte art Instagramming (just peruse the San Remo tag and weep, for there are no more carefully-curated angles to photograph). But at night, the douchebag sleeping inside the cafe comes out to play:
Sitting with the cool cats, though, can be costly: A table at San Remo’s has a bar-tab minimum of $5,000. Menu items include a $2,800 bottle of Champagne Salon and a $1,275 bucket containing Johnnie Walker Blue Label and mixers.
“You have to know someone to get in,” Sean Nasiri, an associate of the bar, says. “You won’t know about [the place] unless we want you to.”
Nothing is more in keeping with the spirit of the Beat poets than a "supertrendy" party hot spot for people who "don’t really want to be out with the masses," but would rather "go to more exclusive places," as one attendee put it.
It's just like Kerouac once wrote: "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion, but rather by those who start luxury brands with the stated goal of 'redefining the face of luxury.'" We're sure people will be writing long elegies and petitioning the city to put up a historic plaque to this new San Remo when it inevitably closes in a few years.
— Vaishak Belle (@vaishakbelle) July 16, 2016