New York’s bars and restaurants have seen a call sheet of the silver screen’s greats over the past century. But film buffs beware: many real-life restaurants featured in starring roles have fallen prey to the city’s transient restaurant scene. Fortunately, there are still places for nostalgia-hungry movie-lovers to chow down. You’ll need a hearty appetite to do them all in a day; but as Gordon Gekko declared in Wall Street – ‘Greed is good.’
My Dinner with Andre (1981)
Café des Artistes
The Upper West Side’s Café des Artistes has featured in several Woody Allen films, but is best known as the backdrop for the longest restaurant scene in movie history: the whole of Louis Malle’s 1986 arthouse film My Dinner With Andre, in which protagonists Wally and Andre order quail with grapes, fish terrine and a Polish-style potato soup. It’s now an upscale Italian restaurant, The Leopard at des Artistes.
American Psycho (2000)
Smith & Wollensky
The distinctive green-and-white facade of Midtown steakhouse Smith & Wollensky has featured in several movies: in The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Anne Hathaway’s character dashes over to pick up a gigantic steak for ruthless editor Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep). And in American Psycho, McDermott (Josh Lucas) berates Bateman (Christian Bale) for not ordering hash browns with his steak: ‘Jesus, Bateman, you’re a raving maniac!’ He had a point.
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Katz’s Delicatessen, in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, will always be best known for Meg Ryan’s famous scene in When Harry Met Sally. A sign above the infamous table reads: ‘Where Harry met Sally: hope you have what she had!’ Order pastrami on rye or the ‘three meat platter’ which, says the menu, ‘feeds three tourists or one regular customer’.
Neir’s Tavern and Grill
Neir’s Tavern lays claim to being the city’s oldest bar: founded in 1829, it was originally intended to slake the thirst of punters at the adjacent Union Course racetrack in Queens. A century and a half later, it’s where the co-conspirators in Goodfellas plan their US$6 million (HK$47 million) airport heist, and where Jimmy (Robert De Niro) decides that Morrie (Chuck Low) is surplus to requirements. Pull up a bar stool and chomp your way through the ‘Goodfella’ burger.
Wall Street (1987)
The 21 Club
When Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas) first takes his protégé Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) out to lunch, it’s at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition speakeasy in Midtown. He tells him to ‘try the steak tartare: it’s off the menu’. Lunch in the memorabilia-packed Bar Room is a treat – and the steak tartare is now most definitely on the menu.