Pete’s Tavern is a long-standing bar and Italian-American restaurant located in Gramercy Park. It claims to be the oldest continuously operated tavern in New York City (but others make the same claim). It certainly looks like it has been around forever, with an old school tile floor throughout. That floor coupled with exposed brick walls made the front of the house somewhat loud, but the back dining room was fine even though more than half full. Why? There are dividers between booths (we were in a booth) and other structure that likely interferes with sound reflection.
There was, of course, unnecessary music playing in the background, but the music wasn’t being directly broadcast into the dining space. Rather, what we heard was music spilling over from the juke box in the front bar. Once again, the music du jour featured one-hit wonders from the 80’s. Why? We don’t know, but it’s such a common phenomenon that there surely must be a reason.
There are booths and tables available in the front bar space that, while louder, appeared to be tolerable. As in the back space, there were dividers between booths in the bar area, which presumably helped. If the music volume was lowered in this space, it would have been comfortable. But that’s not going to happen, so aim for tolerable and you won’t be disappointed. At least at lunch. We have no doubt that happy hour and busy evenings will be too loud to enjoy in the bar, but the back room may be able to withstand the aural assault.
Pete’s Tavern is an attractive, old-school tavern and restaurant with reasonably priced lunch specials. The burger was pretty good, but Joe Jr. is nearby and theirs is better (but that’s a high bar). Still, this is a comfortable spot, minus the music. With the music–and the music will remain–it is a relatively comfortable spot. If you are in Gramercy Park and want to experience a bit of old New York City, Pete’s Tavern is well worth a visit.
Sunday through Wednesday: 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.
129 E 18th Street (at the corner of Irving Place), New York, NY 10003