One of my favorite places in New York to grab a drink is a restaurant called Tavern On The Green. So, on Monday night I immediately recognized the Tavern as the location where The Hills Finale Live From NYC was held. Oh, how I wish I could have been there! 🙂 The Tavern has long been a New York institution. In 2007, over 500,000 people dined there, grossing it over $38 million in revenues. According to Wikipedia, it is the second highest grossing independently owned restaurant in the U.S., second only to Tao in Las Vegas!. But the Tavern actually had very humble beginnings. The structure now known as Tavern on the Green was first built in 1870 and served as Central Park’s Sheepfold, a shelter for the many sheep who called the park home. In 1934 New York City’s Commissioner of Parks Robert Moses renovated the building and turned it into a restaurant. Forty years later, in 1974, Warner Leroy, the son of Wizard of Oz producer Mervyn Leroy and Doris Warner (Harry Warner’s daughter), purchased the restaurant and began a $10 million renovation turning the Tavern into the ornate crystal and glass masterpiece it is today.
Tavern on the Green is no stranger to the big or small screen. Besides The Hills Finale Live From NYC (which was filmed in the Crystal Room), the Tavern has also appeared in Ghostbusters (Rick Moranis fights with the “terror dog” outside the restaurant’s Crystal Room), Rich Girls (MTV’s really, really dumb reality show about Tommy Hilfigers’s daughter and her best friend), New York Stories (where Woody Allen shares a meal with his mother), Misery (the site of James Caan’s novel release party), Hitch, Yo! MTV Raps, ElimiDATE, Only When I Laugh, Stella, Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Eddy Duchin Story, Made, Portrait of Jennie, The Out-of-Towners, and Wall Street. And I am about 99.9% positive that Carrie and Big dined in the Tavern’s lantern covered outdoor garden in the Season 2 episode of Sex and the City entitled “The Caste System” (pictured above), but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet. And according to the latest issue of People Magazine, Tavern on the Green is where my girl Jennifer Aniston ate Christmas Eve dinner every year as a child. 🙂
Tavern on the Green is a beautiful place to grab a drink or a bite to eat. Although a few tour books have labeled the restaurant tacky, I would have to disagree. The Tavern’s gaudiness and over-the-top decor are exactly what make it so appealing. Where else, but New York can you dine in a crystal ballroom complete with glass walls, hand-painted and hand-carved ceilings, brass and copper mirrors, walls decorated with 52-foot murals, and thousands upon thousands of twinkle lights? It is one of the most unique, special restaurants I have ever visited in my life. I absolutely LOVE IT! 🙂 And while the Tavern is pricey, it is worth saving your pennies to experience its rare ambience at least once in your life. I absolutely love the Tavern’s small cocktail bar (pictured above), but during the summer months nothing beats its outdoor garden, which is lit by hundreds of colored paper lanterns. It’s absolutely beautiful.
But the most magical time of year at the Tavern is Christmastime. The interior of the restaurant is covered with countless wreaths, ribbons, and candy canes. But it is actually the Tavern’s outside that is the most awe-inspiring.
Coming upon the Tavern from Central Park, it is almost like a beacon in the night. The trees in the front and the back are completely covered in twinkle lights – thousands upon thousands of them. I’ve honestly never seen so many in my life! Tavern on the Green gives Clark Griswold a run for his money! Pictures truly don’t do the light display justice – it must be seen in person to truly be appreciated.
Until next time, Happy Stalking! 🙂
Stalk It: Tavern on the Green is located at Central Park West at 67th Street. You can visit their website here. Reservations are highly recommended! The bar is first come, first served, but arrive early. It’s standing room only even on weekdays.