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Fanelli Cafe NYC – Since 1847 – Long Before SoHo Became SoHo New York, NY

Posted on: May 13, 2010

  • Phone: (212) 226-9412

I would be remiss in my sharing of vintage places to visit if I did not hep my Retro Roadmap readers to Fanelli Cafe in New York City. Thanks to RetromanNYC‘s handy tip we were able to dodge into this corner cafe and imbibe a casual drink while enjoying the ambiance that dates back to 1847, long before the neighborhood became known as SoHo.

Fanelli's Cafe NYC

We weren’t sure how the bar vs table situation worked when we first entered the corner door, but were immediately waved to “sit anywhere you like” by the friendly waitresses located towards the back, where the dark wood, mirrors and big clock made us felt like we had stepped back in time.

Fanelli's Cafe NYC

While seated at our table for two we were able to admire the great old back bar and the penny hex tile floors while drinking our lagers. Funny true story- while I was in the very small ladies “water closet” – literally closet sized – I could’ve sworn that my cell phone rang, so I scrambled for my phone in my purse- only to find it silent. Puzzled I grilled Retro Roadhusband thinking he may have called and hung up, which he rightly denied. A few moments later I heard “my phone” again, only to realize that it was the PAY PHONE located just outside the bathroom, that had that original phone ring that my modern cell only imitates!

Fanelli's Cafe Floor NYCThe ambiance and vibe of Fanelli’s was low key- which was a relief from some of the hoity-toity places in the immediate vicinity. Our waitress had no problem with us taking up the tablespace for a while as we waited for pals to arrive and it was nice to sit back and watch folks come in and wander towards the back dining room. Quick word about the food- hmmm. how about, stick with the drinks! Not horrible, but I’d want to try out someplace else to eat next time.

We didn’t realize how much time had passed when we were in Fanelli’s, but I loved how their etched glass door sparkled with the outdoor light as we left that evening.

Fanelli's Cafe NYC

My lil point and shoot shot came out too blurry for me to post, but click here to see a really beautiful shot of the outside of Fanelli’s from New York Daily Photo – they’ve got a bit of the history too! So nice to have a vintage ball in the corner pocket especially in this neck of the city.


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