The Emerald Inn has been reborn in a space on 72nd street that’s more than twice as big as its historic home, with more televisions and more beers on tap. It’s a nice upgrade, though it’s not clear yet whether the old-timers will like it as much as its former home on Columbus between 69th and 70th streets: part of the appeal of the old Emerald Inn was that it was a dive bar without any amenities. Location also helped. Producers at ABC, for instance, liked to walk over and grab a drink after finishing up working on Nightline. The original home was forced to close because of a rent increase and will soon become a Kate Spade store.
That said, the menu is the same, as are the cooks, bartenders, and owner Charlie Campbell himself. Campbell represents the third generation of his family to run the bar, which first opened on Columbus in 1943.
The old space was featured in the great Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment. The new space, on the South side of 72nd street between Amsterdam and West End Avenue, is also famous, but for a more tragic reason. In 1973, a woman left the bar (then called Tweeds) with a man, who raped and killed her. That story was told in a book and movie called Looking for Mr. Goodbar with Diane Keaton and Richard Gere. The All State Cafe, a favorite with locals, was in the space for decades until 2007. Most recently it was a branch of PD O’Hurley’s, but that closed after a few months.
The new Emerald Inn is much more spacious than the old location. The bar area up front has lots of televisions, and some new beers on tap (though there are fewer beers available by the bottle because of space limitations, a bartender told us). A back area offers lots of room for seating, and can be rented out for special occasions.
And the burgers, the bartender told us, “are just as good as ever.”