A Luxe Café Keeping Hotel Chelsea’s Thrilling History Alive

The all-day French bistro Café Chelsea recently opened in the historic hotel’s handsome front space.

A front space in New York’s beloved landmark Hotel Chelsea has, over the years, served purposes as idiosyncratic and itinerant as its residents: a record store, the famed Chelsea Guitar Shop, even a bait-and-tackle shop. The guitar shop has relocated to another part of the hotel, making way for an elegant arrival: the all-day French bistro Café Chelsea. 

As with the hotel’s Lobby Bar and El Quijote, Café Chelsea is operated by Sunday Hospitality and partner Charles Seich. The 200-seater offers cozy banquettes illuminated by vintage chandeliers sourced from an old Lord & Taylor, a handsome zinc bar (try the gin-and-pastis Le Flaneur), and, soon, a private dining room called The Wine Room. Breakfast and lunch are also on the way, but for now, a dinner menu of freshened French classics should satisfy even the most blasé New Yorker: the au poivre stars a delectable steak of maitake mushroom, while the decadent chocolate soufflé doesn’t mess with tradition. And its rotating art collection shows off the creations of Hotel Chelsea residents of the past and, hopefully, future.

Photography by Alden Price, Annie Schlecter, and Noah Fecks.

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