Cafe Tallulah, the cocktail lounge and cafe going into the long-vacant spot on 71st street and Columbus Avenue formerly occupied by the Malaysian restaurant Penang is now slated to open in 2012, a new sign in the window says.

Owner Greg Hunt, who also opened Jerry Seinfeld-hangout Amsterdam Billiards a few decades ago, appears to be going all-out, hiring the architect who designed Mario Batali’s Del Posto and putting together an extensive wine list and menu.

The restaurant will serve small plates like truffle fries and lobster brioche rolls (you know, traditional workingman’s fare) and exotic-sounding dinner specials like Elysian Fields Lamb Sausage. As the spot’s new website says:

The Upper West Side has a lot of great restaurants. Jean-Georges, Bar Boulud, Café Luxembourg, Dovetail, Telepan, and Ouest, just to name a few. But there is not one great cocktail lounge to be found. Not one place dedicated to serving amazing cocktails, great wine, and a great selection of beers, all served in a luxurious lounge setting that makes you feel like you’re sitting in your own living room.

That is about to change.

Introducing Café Tallulah. Following in the tradition of the great cocktail lounges of New York City in the first half of the 20th century, Café Tallulah will offer Upper West Siders a place to unwind that is upscale, cool, sophisticated and casual. Whether it’s before, during or after dinner, you’ll be able to enjoy a specially designed martini, a handcrafted micro brew, a glass of Champagne, and amazing food, while listening to Billie Holiday and Ray Charles playing in the background.

The space has two levels. On the first level will be the main bar, cocktail lounge, and café. On the cellar level there will be a separate bar and cocktail lounge, with a different design and feel. This level will be available for private parties.

To sign up for the opening night party, go to

Check out other recent local openings and closings here.

    1. Zulma E. says:

      Looking forward to having you in the neighborhood…

    2. Tony Adams says:

      No matter what their website says, with a name like Cafe Tallulah, most non-UWSiders will assume this to be a gay piano bar like The Townhouse. Truth to tell, there is more of a need for that than there is for what they intend to be. Do UWSiders really feel “upscale, cool, sophisticated and casual” in a place that describes itself as “upscale, cool, sophisticated and casual”? None of the ones I know. Still, thank God it’s not a bank.

    3. Janet David says:


    4. chas canney jr. says:

      Anxious for your opening and thrilled to hear you’ve brought roxanne spruance on as you executive chef. Smart move!

    5. Frances says:

      The day we voted, you installed a decorative treatment
      to the exterior of the building. This treatment was
      extremely toxic and affected all the voters standing
      in line to vote we had to breathe in all that toxic air,\.
      ‘Is this legal what you did??
      I reported it to environmental protection immediately
      but you and/or your supplier should know better than
      to pollute an entire block with your decorative treatment.
      It was totally irresponsible. I hope the DEP issued a
      ticket for this.
      If this is how your establishment begins, believe me
      the block association members will not forget this
      irresponsible deed.,

      West 73rd Street Block Assn.