Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Here's what's coming to the former Life Cafe space


We've been interested in learning about who was taking over the former Life Cafe corner space on Avenue B at East 10th Street. As mentioned on Monday, an applicant going by Yardbird LLC is on the October CB3/SLA docket for a wine-beer license. (9th Street Espresso is expanding into the other half of the storefront.)

Nialls Fallon, one of the partners in the new venture, sent me an email on Monday night. "We will be opening a cafe and wine bar in the coming months," said Fallon, who's still working with his business partner Gareth Maccubbin on refining the concept.

Both partners live in the East Village (Maccubbin directly across the street) and both have restaurant experience at two buzzy Mulberry Street eateries. Fallon was the general manager at Torrisi while Maccubbin held the same position at Torrisi spinoff Parm next door. Both resigned from their respective GM positions to work on this new project.

I mentioned that a lot of people were curious about the space's future, given that things around here have a knack for turning into either Subways/7-Elevens/Starbucks or bro-tastic bars. Plus, for some people, Life Cafe had been a regular spot for many years.

"We decided on the space for two reasons, the first being we didn't want to see the 7-Eleven-Starbucks scenario you mentioned happen there. Second, we wanted to be in an iconic space that carried on some form of community identity and East Village-ness," Fallon said. "I am excited to create something new and make sure that the corner remains owned and operated by locals."

Oh, and are they really opening a place called Yardbird next door to a newish bar called Blackbird?

"Yardbird is a reference to being on the corner of Charlie Parker Place, and was named before Lakeside turned into Blackbird," Fallon said. "Nonetheless, 'bird' will not be included in the name of the space."

Previously on EV Grieve:
After 30 years, Life Cafe closes — 'until further notice' — in the East Village

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh how original, a cafe wine bar. This is the worse case scenario because wine bars cater to the upper and upper middle class, and that's exactly what landlords/developers like Tower Brokerage and Icon Realty want. Places like Terroir or now OST Cafe and Tarallucci e Vino which actually started out as coffee houses are now more or less wine bars. 9th Street Espresso will also be serving beer and wine. It's a way to change the demagraphic.

I am wondering what the menu is going to be?

blue gloass said...

east village-ness???
it might be unfair to judge a person by their words, but what else do we have?
and really, what is the difference between a starbucks-7-eleven and a cafe-wine bar
and since when is a cafe-wine bar typical of the east village type of community?

blue glass said...

and can you envision charlie parker in a cafe-wine bar?
think five spot

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to it. And if they are reading this, please offer some vegetarian friendly food. Fondue counts.

Anonymous said...

Life Cafe was set up. The landlords, one being Tower Brokerage owned by Bob Perl refused to pay for repairs. You mean to tell me that Tower Brokerage and their east village empire couldn't cough up a few dollars. No that's not the plan.

The plan is to turn allof the existing establishments that locals can afford into places for tourists and the new upwardly mobile demagraphic. It's an active plan. If you take over the real estate, the storefronts, the park and the arts, then it's pretty much a done deal isn't it?

glamma said...

They should keep it affordable and throw in some nice happy hour specials/resident discounts, if they are really gonna do what they are saying they want to do. Intentionally do NOT cater to a horrible crowd of classless yuppies and women who screech in insufferable tones and drown the place in their mundane drivel.
Offer $4 wines at happy hour and have at least a couple filling dishes for $6 or $7 even if it's a side of risotto. Cultivate a good, warm, low-key vibe amidst the sea of garbage. Play Charlie's music. Keep it real.
This is how you will garner the affections of residents and turn them into regulars and really ADD something of LASTING VALUE here while improving your reputations in the industry (and the hood).
These guys have a tall order - replacing Life Cafe. And yes, Life Cafe was absolutely set up by the corrupt developers who have the city agencies in their pocket, none of us are stupid about that and most of us are bitter (RIP the best damn nachos downtown, a truly good scene and years of amazing memories....)

Anonymous said...

Don't worry folks this bad idea in an over run idea, will probably close within two years.

Yay!!


Pluto!!

Remember me!!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of a great cafe. I hope they read the comments here and reconsider the wine bar concept. It's such a great space, and they could do so well if they could create something along the lines of a Cafe Orlin. A place where you could get a nice meal or just sit and have a tea and a snack.

Anonymous said...

How is Yardbird a renewal? Isn't it a new liquor license in a resolution area?

Anonymous said...

i happen to like the $650 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Torrisi.

Anonymous said...

These guys are great, I talked with them the other day. It sounds like they will be focused on affordability and just a place to sit and relax with friends. Both charming, intelligent young guys trying to do something friendly and warm in the neighborhood. Well wishes to them, I look forward to coming by!

Anonymous said...

The Park deserves a nice place - I'd like to see a Cafe Orlin or even Bar Veloce-like space if they're going the wine bar route. But I won't begrudge them for charging the prices they need to make the rent. I also know that going out to eat is a privilege, not a right. When I want cheap food, I stay home and cook.

Anonymous said...

With the exception of a few of posters, you all are the most miserable, whiny, terrible group of commenters. A new restaurant group comes in and says they want to preserve some of the neighborhood's charcter, and the vast majority of you immediately start ripping into them. If you continue treating new business owners this way, people will give up hop and stop trying to please you. Then the 7-Elevens will roll in and pick up the scraps. Thats what you deserve

Anonymous said...

To tell you the truth at least 7-Eleven won't turn us into NOLITA. Anything but that.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Anon 1:20 pm. It seems as though these days no matter what goes in an empty space, people are going to be whiny assholes about it.

Anonymous said...

anon1:20, right on.

what a bunch of whiners.

torrisi and parm are both great restaurants.

good for these guys, residents of our neighborhood, to try and open something nice.

life cafe was the suck, and its "rent" connection brought in plenty of tourists and bridge and tunnel. there is nothing offensive about the plans for this space as set forth in this article.

Anonymous said...

How about a BANK? I would love a nice shiny HSBC branch as there isn't one in the neighborhood anymore. They don't serve bone marrow, foie gras or artisinal cocktails. If we can't get a bank, how about a shoe repair place? I know we can't get a bookstore, or a record store, because of Amazon, blah, blah, blah, but did you ever try and get your shoes repaired at Amazon?

Anonymous said...

Cafe Orlin - that place is a shitshow during brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend I had to walk in the street both days as their crowd was as thick as those outside Zum Schneider for Octoberfest. How about a bakery? You can't get good bread anywhere, then they could sell wine and beer with the bread? The CB would love that.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, am grateful for this move and that it won't be another chain franchise with endless amounts of plasticware and paper cups, frozen doghdirt joint, or "bubble tea" establishment.

As for the "upwardly mobile" accusations, I'm not convinced. A vodka or whiskey at any given local bar or a basic glass of wine at a wine bar both cost about the same in my book. Both are luxuries which I cannot afford.

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

The mention of the Five Spot, though, brings back a nostalgia for a time before I was born. Wish I had been here to experience that place and the greats who played there.

I would be happy to see more live music venues, even little basement spots or hole-in-the-wall dives, for jazz, rock, experimental, even classical. Something like a tripped out EV fusion of LPR and the Five Spot perhaps, with open jam sessions also. At least we do have NuBlu, the re-opened Sidewalk, etc. Still, for a place with so much music history in its very sidewalk stones, there are very few live-music venues....

Maybe this new place should consider adding live music, even just solo or trio on certain nights. Jules certainly does well with its nightly jazz.

- East Villager

blue glass said...

Anon 1:20 pm, 3:10 pm, and all you other brain dead zombies who cry out in the name of progress: "It seems as though these days no matter what goes in an empty space, people are going to be whiny assholes about it..."

us whiny assholes complain because these empty spaces are caused by the displacement of usually long-term, many generational establishments that were the neighborhood - to be replaced by trendoid vacuous expensive places that are most attractive to tourists and woo woo jerks.

that's why we are so upset. landlord greed is ruining this city, not just this neighborhood.
everything looks the same and costs $$$$$!

Anonymous said...

really people? it's a bad idea?

sounds to me that, considering the reality of what the city and our neighborhood is, having 2 locals open up a place like this is about as great as it's going to get...

maybe it should be an old school glatt kosher chinese/spanish restaurant that sells their food for whatever people would like to pay for it? and maybe, like, 1 day a week they can give away pitbull puppies to any crusties who trade in their old works?

would that be more e.v. appropriate?

Anonymous said...

Locals. Lot's of locals open up spaces around here that are not good for the neighborhood. Bob Pearl from Tower Brokerage has at least two, the Blind Barber and now the former Nice Guy Eddie's space. The Blind Barber is awful and caters to the tottering on their high heels, screaming into their i-phone, with their handle-bar mustache douche-bag boyfriends cowd and the former Nice Guy Eddies space will be a high-end lounge. Another place run by a local was Diablo Royale. So living in the neighborhood doesn't mean you will run a good business that's for sure. As far as who frequents the place and makes it "local", will the bouncers check identifications and only allow customers with an EV address? C'mon man cash is king and whoever shows up with it will be allowed to come on in. There are more than enough places to eat and drink in the EV, we can live without this for sure.

Anonymous said...

life was complete shit. Certainly culturally relevant at one point but complete shit since then. Consistently terrible
Food, shit drinks and shit attitudes. I miss Lakeside far more. happy to see Life dead.

Anonymous said...

@blue glass 530. Somehow "generational" equates to worth keeping around? I like classic places as much as the next guy. Super happy Joes is reopened for example. Sad that Banjo Jim's is gone. yes landlord greed is ruining a lot. But so are inflexible douchehat attitudes.

Uncle Waltie said...

I don't have horse in this race and frankly don't give a crap what happens in that space. But whoever brought up Cafe Orlin is severely detached from reality...not that that's a bad thing, necessarily.