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This Iconic NYC Restaurant is Closing after 90 Years

It began serving customers during Prohibition with the help of a secret wine cellar.

Thousands of restaurants and bars have closed around the U.S. as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a marquee New York City eatery is the latest to join the ever-growing list.

It's impossible to walk down West 52nd Street without spotting 35 jockeys guarding an iron gate. The iconic building they watch over is the 21 Club, which until March had served customers since the Prohibition era (with the help of a secret wine cellar). Though the historic bar and restaurant is shutting its doors for now, the owners hope to find a way for the 21 Club to live on in some capacity.  (Unfortunately, restaurant closures have impacted all 50 states—here are The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)

"In light of the ongoing global crisis and anticipated extended recovery period for the hospitality industry, the difficult decision was made that it will not be feasible to reopen the 21 Club in its current form for the foreseeable future," a spokesperson told NBC News. "At this early stage, we are not ready to announce any final concept or timeframe, but the vision is that 21 Club will always remain an important social and cultural hub and icon of New York—one that is well-positioned to fulfill its role in the City's exciting future when the time comes."

The restaurant started out at 42 West 49th Street in 1926 but soon moved uptown as Rockefeller Center overtook the block. By this time, the Cliff House in San Francisco was already in business since 1864. That iconic restaurant is closed for good now, too.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more