Prost! will make room for salute when you next click glasses at the bar at the new Old Stein. That’s because owner Mike Selinger has imported the bar of a famous Manhattan Italian eatery to keep the old in the Old Stein, which he hopes to reopen at its Mayo location in August after December 31’s fire.
For over a century, the mahogany bar and bar back was the centerpiece of Carmine’s, a rustic Italian gathering spot in New York City’s South Street Seaport, a working port district that’s gone upscale. Carmine’s closed last year, facing a $13,000-a-month rent hike.
Selinger found the bar on Craigslist. He and childhood friend Lloyd Warble drove a borrowed 20-foot box truck to New York on March 19. Selinger was breathing heavily from unloading when he told the story to Bay Weekly a few days later.
“It was a six-hour trip,” Selinger reported. “We drove past two accidents, over bridges, through tunnels, all through Brooklyn, over the bridge and into Manhattan to an old warehouse, where the bar, a couple hundred feet of 100-year-old oak paneling and old booths were stored. We got it all in except the 22-foot-long brass foot rail. It missed by about a foot and a half.”
The change of ownership was first reported in DNAinfo.com, an online report of Manhattan local news.
The weighty purchase signals how far Selinger and wife Beth have come since the pre-dawn New Year’s Eve fire rearranged their plans for 2011.
“We’re submitting our shell permit request March 25,” Selinger said. “Inside, everything is gone down to four walls.”
Construction could begin in early April on architect Catherine Purple Cherry’s new and slightly larger Old Stein.
While Selinger waits, he’s got his work cut out for him with his new old bar.
“Wear and tear needs to be addressed with repairs and a really good cleaning to save the wood’s age and patina.” His woodworking skills aren’t great, he says. But “I have a lot of elbow grease.”