In this city, restaurants come and go faster than you can say "sustainable locavore burger." And even though there are great new additions to the culinary landscape popping up every week, you've gotta give kudos to anyone who can stick it out for over a year. With that in mind, we bring you Still Got It, our tribute to establishments that continue to serve mouthwatering meals and drinks long after the buzz has faded—or if the lingering hype is still justified.
Fanelli's Cafe has sat on its Prince Street corner for over 90 years—the space has existed since the 1800s, but the Fanelli family purchased the spot in 1922—and though it's no longer owned by the proprietors who propelled it to local bar fame, it still stands out as a piece of classic New York in a SoHo that's not so-slowly become dominated by commercial flash. And while the standard pub fare is nothing Michelin-star worthy, and its basic draft beers won't necessarily draw chic craft brew enthusiasts, it's still a surprisingly friendly place to sit down and have a drink or two in a city that sometimes feels devoid of real neighborhood bars.
The old-school pub still looks like something out of the Art Deco days: the narrow front bar is decked out in dark green paint, and small tables covered in checked tablecloths line one wall. The long, dark-wood bar itself has also got plenty of seating, and the friendly, faux-gruff bartenders will probably chat with you for a little if you elect to sit there. Get a cheap draft of Brooklyn Lager, Guinness or some other $5 brew on tap and try one of the bar's classic bison burgers ($11), thick, juicy hunks of meat served with crispy fries, or the $10 veggie burger, also a satisfying option for non-meat eaters.
They've also got a tasty, fatty beer-battered fish 'n chips deal for $13.50, along with bigger entree dishes like linguine or shepherd's pie that are okay, but seriously, get a burger, or at least some iteration of a burger. There's a bigger dining area in the back if you're looking to move beyond the bar atmosphere, and the bar crowd can be boisterous after work or on a weekend evening, but the bartenders have no problem asking people to quiet down, so you don't have to suffer through shrieking SoHo-ites for hours. Plus, the bartenders have been known to permit customers to charge their phones behind the bar from time to time—always a major bonus in the Age of the iPhone.
Fanelli's Cafe is located at 94 Prince Street at Mercer Street in SoHo (212-226-9412).