Here’s What to Expect from the Public Hotel LES and Vongerichten Venues Within
Prolific hotelier Ian Schrager and various folks from his development team appeared before the SLA subcommittee of Community Board 3 last night. The license application for the Public Hotel at 215 Chrystie Street – the latest endeavor for Jean-Georges Vongerichten – is so complex, in fact, that it warranted special treatment. A dedicated session without the pressures of other liquor applicants in queue for consideration.
Approval was ultimately achieved, but the process wound up lasting almost as long as a standard meeting anyway (that’ll happen next Monday). Choice of the meeting location seemed deliberate, as 10 Stanton Street is most directly affected by the new development. (You’ll recall that the building owner signed a memorandum with tenants in 2012 that would guarantee Section 8 affordability for another twenty years if they agreed to back the hotel.)
Schrager opened proceedings with an introduction, conveying his intention to create “something great for the neighborhood” that embodies the spirit of the area. He went on to toot his track record across forty boutique hotels, yet in condescending tone. Assumed the panel wasn’t familiar with his vision and how to license hotels. There were frequent defensive outbursts.
Let’s get further into the weeds for a minute. There are eleven separate venues within the Public Hotel, though not all are licensed with stand-up bars. All indoor spaces have operating hours until 4am, and terraces may boast soundproofing “tent” enclosures.
You enter the Public Hotel through a corridor flanked by garden space on either side. It’s open to the public, but is only accessible via the entrance (i.e. past security). Purpose is to allow patrons to grab grub inside and bring it here. No music or bars.
The 2nd Floor Lobby
Accessed via escalators from ground level. There are two components to the lobby hospitality component, serving both daytime and nighttime interests.
- The 3,030 square-foot “Lobby Bar” is more of a daytime cafe offering hotel lobby seating. There’s a stand-up bar that doubles as a “buffet counter” in the mornings and afternoons. Food served from the hotel kitchen. Occupancy of 90 people.
- The 1,600 square-foot “Hotel Bar” is the more traditional lounge. Occupancy of 65 people. DJ performances.
Jean Georges Vongerichten Restaurant/Market/Rear Yard
- Restaurant: 1,500 square-feet serving “Authentic wood burning pizzas, flatbreads, pastas, and other unique and original gourmet Italian specialties.” No bar inside the dining room; orders from bar in the marketplace. Food service for whole hotel, but no direct room service.
- Market: compared to Eataly. Foods that evoke the neighborhood, but no 3rd party vendors. Stand-up bar.
- Garden: CB3 only comfortable with 8am opening and service bar in rear yard. Worries about the echo-chamber effect on neighboring properties (10 Stanton, 246-250 Bowery). Temporary “tent” with retractable roof will be used in wintertime. That structure plus sound baffling foam will aid in noise abatement.
- 16th Floor: two interior “meeting rooms” meant for private functions, from banquets to live events (no outside promoters). There are no fixed bars, just rolling station depending on the event. There is a terrace that can be used as an extension. Possibility of enclosing space with tent for sound baffling and to extend hours to 4am.
- 17th Floor: 1,920 square-feet lounge inside with 1,800 square-foot extension terrace. More of the same. Western exposure creates “sunning” deck.
“Arts Club” for Cellar and Sub-Cellar
- With separate entrance, the 4,070 square-foot cellar space, which includes mezzanine level, is conceived as an “Arts Club” that channels the “art and energy of the Lower East Side.”
- The space can accommodate movie screenings, live music, corporate parties, etc.
- Community Board 3 seemed ambivalent about this component, questioning the function of the space when said events are not happening. The history of The Box just down the block was floated as worst-case scenario.
By the time any opposition could speak, everyone seemed drained. Two local residents – one at 10 Stanton and the other at 269 Bowery – were both worried about the added noise from daily deliveries and echo chamber from the rear yard. Added stipulation that deliveries happen from 8am to 7pm only.
If you made it this far, congratulations. Four hours of consideration ended with an approval.