But there’s one at 190 Third Avenue, and it’s an unusual, curious reminder of the area’s once-thriving German immigrant neighborhood.
Plus, it has a literary reputation, and rumors swirl that it served as a spy hangout too.
The back story begins in 1896, when the original building, near 17th Street, was bought by a German-American intent on turning it into a beer garden.
Remodeled to resemble Heidelberg Castle in Germany, Scheffel Hall (the name comes from a German balladeer) catered to German natives living in the upper reaches of Kleindeutschland, then centered in the East Village.
“Its patrons have included a number of leading politicians and writers, notably O. Henry who used Scheffel Hall as the setting for a short story in 1909,” states a Landmarks Preservation Committee Report from 1997.
H.L. Mencken also hung out there, as did other literary figures in Gramercy.
And then there’s the espionage angle: Allaire’s was reportedly a gathering place for German American spies during World War I, reports New York Architecture.
Today it’s a Pilates studio, but that’s okay. The owners haven’t touched the facade, and the dark woodwork and detailing in the interior remains.
Tags: Allaire's, German beer halls New York City, German restaurants New York City, Kleindeutschland, O. Henry in New York, Scheffel Hall, Third Avenue history, Third Avenue street, weird architecture New York