The tussle between restaurant owners and landlords is nothing new, but in a year where a record number of restaurants have permanently closed, the future of The Beatrice Inn, one of the city’s most historic restaurants, could be in danger.
The Bea, as regulars call it, is now on the market for rent after being listed less than a week ago. It’s been a challenging year for restaurants—a New York City Hospitality Alliance survey found that 9 out of 10 restaurants couldn’t pay their rent in August, as reported by The New York Times—but for a listing to be posted is a clear indication that negotiations are tense between the landlord and owners, according to restaurant owners.
Angie Mar, owner and executive chef of The Beatrice Inn, bought the restaurant and rights to the business name from ex-Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter in 2016 and has since transformed it into a destination for meat lovers, even with its high-priced menu. The space, which is located in a historic district within the West Village, opened nearly a century ago as a speakeasy. At one time, it was a trendy nightclub for Hollywood celebs.
“Angie Mar and her team fervently believe in New York City and the legacy that is The Beatrice Inn,” a spokesperson for The Bea shared with Time Out New York. “They are currently in good faith negotiations to renew their lease with their landlord and making concerted efforts to determine whether a proposed increase in rent is sustainable amidst a global pandemic.”
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state extended the state’s eviction moratorium on commercial leases through the end of the year (although the restaurant and landlord confirmed that The Bea’s lease isn’t up until the end of January). While it’s unclear where the negotiations are headed, the building’s landlord, Spirit Investment Partners, is painting a less rosy picture.
“We would like her to stay. She's run a very successful business out of there for five years,” says David Nachman, a partner at Spirit Investment Partners. “Unfortunately, as we all know, we're trying to find a solution that's workable for both of us. We're having a tough time finding a middle ground. We don't know how much faith we have in striking a deal.”
For now, the iconic green-and-red neon sign on West 12th Street is still turned on and diners continue to dine outdoors (there’s even live music on many nights).
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