The Tangled Vine Closes after Nine Years

The Tangled Vine on Amsterdam and 81st Street was called “manna from heaven” by New York Times reviewer Eric Asimov in 2010. But the wine bar didn’t quite make it to its 10th anniversary, posting a note this week on the door announcing its closing.

“A sad day for the neighborhood!” wrote Ed, who snapped the photo. Top photo by Sue.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 31 comments | permalink
    1. Joe C. says:

      I read WWR because my son lives on the UWS. I’ve always enjoyed the UWS when visiting. So I thought this paragraph from the NYT review was telling”
      “In their complex relationship with restaurants, Upper West Siders live in what its myriad psychotherapists might call a double bind: They crave the wonderful places they imagine other neighborhoods possess in abundance, yet so often they cannot put down the home-delivery menu to actually patronize the restaurants that settle nearby. And so, the Upper West Side exists in a near constant state of unfulfilled restaurant desire.”

      • Sean says:

        So true. And this comment falls in line with the premise that UWS people are cheap and will not spend for food in a restaurant except when it is a special occasion. It has been this way for the 40 years that I have lived here. There was a brief period back in the late 70s when Columbus Ave. and Broadway had tons of restaurants with locals working in them. This was when the area was home to aspiring actors. This was the closest we ever got to a scene. Now these people if they still live here are in their 70s and fight with each other online.

      • Donner, Party of Two...errr...One! says:

        Re: “… they cannot put down the home-delivery menu to actually patronize the restaurants….”

        Well, YES! Patronizing a restaurant WITH FRIENDS is nice, but otherwise it means:
        1) changing out of one’s tatty-but-comfy-only-at-home duds;
        2) schlepping someplace and then schlepping home;
        3) putting-up with overly-loud patrons, loud undisciplined children, and sometimes both at the same table.

        Besides, most of the restaurants one would visit ALSO DELIVER; same food/less hassle.

        As said, the BEST kitchen utensil is …..the TELEPHONE.

    2. Lisa Ronis says:

      They did not advertise enough I am 5 blocks away and hadn’t a clue that it existed. Too bad,

      • Ellen M says:

        Just curious where (I.e., print, online, tv, airplane banner) you would propose that an UWS wine bar reach you via advertising. In any event, I would encourage you to expand your circle to at least include a 5 block radius of your home. Despite what the perpetually grumps on here would have you think, it’s a great big West side world out there – check it out!

      • chris woo says:

        to Lisa R just curious where they could have advertised that you would have seen it? I usually walk up and down that stretch of amsterdam when looking for a place to eat rather than be driven by advertising.

      • Bob says:

        Please walk around the neighborhood more, there’s so much to see within a 10-block range, let along 5. Expand your comfort zone and be rewarded!

      • Sean says:

        Are you Lisa the matchmaker?

    3. steve says:

      Surprising to absolutely no one that had been to the place in recent years. This place had a lot of things wrong with it. Though I’m sure the comment section will be filled with people that either don’t live in the neighborhood or know the owner personally and will blame something else. Anything else than the actual restaurant of course

    4. Pcnyc says:

      Tangled Vine was good, if expensive. A glass of wine each and a light mesh or two was easily $80. They priced me out of repeat visits.

    5. Joe says:

      What a shame! I went there quite a few times, and always loved the wines I tried. They’ll be missed.

    6. Carol says:

      Loved the cheese board and wines. It was a limited menu, though. That said. Was there scaffolding?

    7. Nyccas says:

      Bruce has made numerous contributions to the neighborhood. He has loved his restaurants and has been an excellent host to his patrons.
      Best wishes, Bruce. Looking forward to your next move.

    8. Sayle Milne says:

      As a Wine Educator, I really enjoyed the diverse menu at The Tangled Vine (along with the great people). And I could not agree more with Joe C’s comment and the NYT quotation. I feel it is very spot-on.
      My heart breaks when I take walks and look up to see one, two, or even three places I loved have closed. I feel leases are a large part of the issue. If everyone on one block, for example, bought a 10 year lease in 2008 and then in 2018 the cost of that lease has jumped 30% (which often happens), then we have entire “block deaths” b/c no one can afford the very greedy pricing raises/gauges. That said, tech and convenience do keep many people home instead of dining out.

      • Sherman says:

        Get over the class warfare crap and stop ranting ignorant nonsense. There are many reasons restaurants and other small businesses close that have absolutely nothing to do with rent.

        In fact, not even the owner of this restaurant is blaming its landlord for its closing.

        Besides, since you’re so concerned about “greedy” landlords maybe you should invest in commercial real estate and lease your space to the business willing to pay you the least in rent.

        • Jen says:

          Sherman, your comments are repetitive and annoying. Same old, same old, “landlords are not greedy”, “make money no matter what”, “Subsidised rents are bad, poor landlords”, etc. We’ve heard it all.

          • B.B. says:

            Don’t often agree with Sherman, but he is correct on this issue.

            Everyone piles onto “greedy” or whatever landlords, but do any of you bother to consider what has changed in NYC over past ten years?

            Well for starters the UWS nor much of Manhattan is no longer a crime infested, dirty place that people are fleeing. Rather the opposite in fact.

            This is reflected in the increased and steadily rising property tax assessments.

            As have said repeatedly NYC commercial property owners pay a majority share of RE taxes. They are followed by co-op and condo with private residence (1-4 family homes) dead last.

            Worse many older buildings with ground floor retail are full of rent controlled or rest stabilized tenants above. So where is a LL supposed to make money that keeps the building standing much less a profit?

            Furthermore if many of you would bother to research asking commercial rents are actually decreasing all over the city.

            Problem is what many of you seem to advocate is basically welfare for businesses that otherwise cannot or could not survive. Simply put their sales per square foot just do not cover all but the most discounted rent.

            Technology has played a huge role in this in that competition is no longer the business across the street or around the block, but Amazon, eBay, Jet, etc…

            Walk around any area of Manhattan and you see lobbies packed with delivery boxes. Go around no night before recycling and there are huge mounts of discarded shipping boxes.

            Small businesses all over this city and state are having to cope with the new landscape of competition, *and* deal with a host of new laws regarding minimum wage increases, PTO, healthcare, etc…

            Meanwhile back at the ranch there are natural limits to what many will pay for anything. For most food places in this area/around city spending $100 for two, gets you a few drinks and very small portions of nibbles. Even then places are still finding it hard to cover expenses and make a profit.

            Finally as it relates to restaurants/food Millennials are driving the agenda.

            Young people today by and large aren’t interested in “white tablecloth” or whatever sit down restaurants. Over glorified bars with large tables and nibbles/date food is largely their thing. You pass these places and there might be two, four or eight young people at a table, all staring down at their phones, chatting, drinking and eating burgers or some such “finger food”.

            For all the moaning about sit down restaurants vanishing, it does seem many New Yorkers (even on the UWS) have grown rather lazy. From roughly 5PM until late in evening you see waves of delivery guys on bikes making rounds. So if people aren’t cooking at home, they surely aren’t going out to eat either.

            If people aren’t ordering in there is the wealth of take away from Sweetgreens, Fairway, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc…

    9. UWS Dad says:

      Such a shame 🙁 We’ve been going there since the beginning and it was one of our favourite places.

    10. PaulCons says:

      Might be helpful to know exactly the reasons for closing… was it lack of patronage, or triple rent asked? Just MAYBE folks aren’t visiting neighborhood places because they look at, say, midtown and blanch at the cost. Recently a friend was going to be in town at the Javits, so we wanted to meet for lunch. I looked at several I know from 20th to 50th, we’re talking ones I KNEW to be moderately priced. Good grief, we’re talking $40/person for LUNCH!! Ended up for a bit more than half of that at what I’d call a kind of local (the Indian place on Broadway just north of Columbus Circle). “Moderate” on the UWS means that… don’t be fooled when you eat at a midtown “moderate” place and feel like you need to sell a lung to afford it!

    11. eric says:

      sorry to hear this. they had delicious happy hour food, and i went to a couple of wine tasting events as well. even had a first date there

    12. Wendy says:

      the commercial rents on the UWS are extremely high, which is why there is a blight of empty storefronts and huge turnover in tenancy. The restaurants price their food and drinks $$$ to afford their rent. Most people do not want to pay $15 for a glass of wine on a regular basis. Wealthy people can afford it. The middle class that still lives on the UWS and makes up at least 50% of the population either cannot or choose to spend their leisure eating-out dollars elsewhere where they get more for their money. Families, which are making up a larger slice of the UWS population, are not going to take their toddlers, pre-school and elem. school age kids to a wine bar. Young guys would rather drink 3 beers in the bars next door for the same money. And if I recall most of the tables were hi-tops. Not the most comfortable for older people. But, maybe most of all, they were on an avenue with tons of competition in either direction.

    13. MJ says:

      The UWS doesn’t have a huge business lunch crowd, nor is it the hippest neighborhood where young people go out all the time. It’s full of families and some who prefer to order in. BUT most restaurants are always packed, and we are NOT the only neighborhood with this demo. And yet, the UWS is plagued with closed businesses.

      It’s the rent. It’s too damn high. It just is. When places sit closed you are no longer asking market rate. As soon as a vacancy tax is implemented, these places will fill up. Landlords, get over yourselves and take it down a notch.

      • vacanytaxisajoke says:

        I work in commercial real estate and if you think that a “vacancy tax” is going to stop the problem then you are living in an alternate universe. Landlords will just incorporate any additional costs i.e. vacancy tax into their overhead and pass it along to the tenant via their rent. They already do it with the sky high real estate taxes and building operating costs which is why the rent is “too damn high” to begin with. Use your brain!

        • UWSmom says:

          Um, what tenants?? These places sit empty.

        • UWSmom says:

          Um, what tenants?? These places sit empty. Don’t landlords have to cough up all this money if no one is paying it? Wouldn’t another fine encourage them to keep their tenants? Please, enlighten us with your brains.

        • UWSmom says:

          Um, what tenants?? These places sit empty. Don’t landlords have to cough up all this money if no one is paying it? Wouldn’t another fine encourage them to keep their tenants?

    14. jeffrey goldberg says:

      We ate there about a month ago. The food was mediocre, service was terrible and overpriced. There are so many other, better options on the UWS to dine out.

    15. HKW says:

      The owner of The Tangled Vine also owned Barley and Grain (amsterdam / 80th) which closed recently.
      I lived in this building until 2010, which is rent stabilized with lots of long time tenants.