Tavern on the Green
Central Park West & 67th Street
The iconic New York restaurant set in the Central Park, wrapped in history and twinkling lights.
Tavern on the Green has been a New York City landmark since 1934. Its remarkable setting within Central Park, large patio wrapped in twinkling lights, and easy elegance provide a perfect stage for a special dinner or family celebration.
Tavern on the Green started humbly as a simple sheepfold. Central Park’s original design included a large open space which we now know as Sheep Meadow. Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux believed that sheep grazing on bucolic pastures provided for a calm, restful atmosphere in the park. To create this pastoral magic, 200 sheep were spirited away from their native lands and brought over to Manhattan to take residence in a Victorian style sheepfold which was destined to become the Tavern on the Green.
The sheep arrived in 1864 but departed in 1934 during the Great Depression – it became unsafe for them to graze in the open while the citizens of New York were starving. The city took over and converted the sheep house into a restaurant. The menu was designed to be classy but affordable. It was back then that the trees were first wrapped in the well-known twinkling lights.
In the 1970s Tavern on the Green was redesigned to be larger and grander by New York businessman and restaurateur Warner LeRoy. It then became America’s second highest-grossing independent eatery (behind The Venetian’s Tao restaurant in Las Vegas). For out-of-towners, a visit to Tavern on the Green became a must on par with seeing the Rockettes or the Statue of Liberty.
Tavern on the Green grew into a glamorous spot popular with celebrities. Among the roster of regular patrons were former most beloved mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, modern-day princess Grace Kelly, and Fay Wray – an actress better known to the world as King Kong’s love interest. Being a close neighbor, John Lennon was a regular. In fact, in 1979 John Lennon and Yoko Ono chose to celebrate his and Sean’s birthdays in the Tavern.
After being in the limelight for the longest time, Tavern on the Green closed in 2009 to be remodeled and reopened in 2014 by new owners. While the restaurant still manages to be cozy, charming, and spectacular at the same time, the food and service reviews have been rather unfavorable.
Stop by for a glass of wine at the bar or visit the beautiful open-air garden.