In 1873, restaurateur Henry Meyer bought a 10 year old brick building located at 119 South Street and opened Meyer’s Hotel. He offered the finest accommodations in the area and at the heart of this establishment he constructed an elegant bar with polished woods and sparkling mirrors.
He named it The Paris Cafe.
The Meyer’s Hotel and The Paris Cafe catered to travelers, who arrived at the Historic South Street Seaport from distant lands, as well as the rich and famous of the era.
Thomas Edison used The Paris Cafe as a second office while designing the world’s first centralized power stations on nearby Pearl Street. Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody, as well as the famous outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, were guests at the elegant establishment. Teddy Roosevelt dropped in on occasion for a pint while serving as the head of the New York City Police department. His purpose was to collar officers who indulged themselves while on duty.
Ironically, less than a decade later, the 1930’s notorious crime figures Albert Anastasia and Louis Lepke of Murder, Inc., came to the The Paris Cafe to convene under the dim lights and plot the elimination of their enemies.
Today the Historic South Street Seaport is the undergoing major revitalization, as it was brought to its knees after Hurricane Sandy. But there's a sense of vitality in the air as the local businesses have begun to bring life back to the district. Under the thoughtful eyes of Diarmuid Hackett and Peter O’Connell, The Paris Cafe is back to its original grandeur and is a landmark in the Federal Registry of Historic Buildings. It is still one of the most memorable stops for many of the millions of visitors who pass through the Historic South Street Seaport each year.