Stone Street Then vs. Now: From Bro-Pub Central to Worldly Melting Pot
Stone Street has changed. Once a reputed post-work destination for the Brooks Brothers set, the narrow yet cozy strip has recently transcended its previous bro-ey iterations and evolved into an exciting, multicultural restaurant row. Not to disparage the traditional alehouse, of course — we are huge fans — but in the last couple of years, Lower Manhattan has diversified across industries and vastly boosted in residential numbers. The shift is also evident in the types of drinking and dining establishments at the neighborhood’s happy-hour epicenter.
Just look at the changing of tenants at the cornerstone address of 45 Stone Street. Two decades ago, one could belly up for a steak and brewski at Brouwer’s, a restaurant quite literally named in honor of the Dutch merchants who sold dry goods along the “Brouwer Straet” cobblestones way back when. A few years later, the space changed hands and reopened as the Dubliner — about as close a recreation to an Irish watering hole that any American homage could get. Then, the Dubliner shuttered. In 2022, instead of Guinness pours, fiends for mojitos started patronizing the location’s new tenant: the vibrant Cuban hangout Havana Social.
It doesn’t take a historic society to recognize the makeover as a direct and more honest reflection of a changing downtown, whose population has increased somewhere north of 66,000 residents (per 2022 estimates). Plus, in the last 15 years, roughly 35 percent of all office relocations have stemmed from the worlds of tech, advertising and media — an explanation, in part, for the shakeup in Stone Street’s sitdown options during lunch and cocktail time.
At 57 Stone Street, where Vintry Wine and Whiskey used to peddle an especially heavy selection of scotch and brown liquors from the Scottish highlands, the Spanish tapas spot Gran Via now runs the show. Pairing Havana and Gran with its Mexican neighbor Mad Dog & Beans (83 Pearl St.) and the Italian newcomer Etrusca (53 Stone St.), the corridor has become arguably one of the borough’s more multi-culti medleys for international cuisine.
Of course, hearty pints still continue to flow out of the taps at Ulysses (58 Stone St.) and Stone Street Tavern (52 Stone St.), and Harry Potter fans can still flock to the Cauldron (47 Stone St.) for touristy elixirs. So, to those nostalgic for the classic pub scene, there’s still plenty to imbibe — in fact now more than ever, bro.
photos: Havana SocialTags: stone street