"Finding The Fedora Bar"
The Fedora Bar
239 W 4th St (between Charles and W. 10th Sts.)
New York, NY 10014
Hours: Mon, Wed–Sun 5–11pm
Travel: (Subway) Take the 1 train to Christopher Street–Sheridan Square
The Fedora Bar is oddly placed in the middle of a residential block; it is less of a bar and more of a quaint little restaurant, with only about 20 tables. While the bar is open to those just wanting a drink, it is mainly there to serve cocktails to the restaurant customers.
During Prohibition, the restaurant (known as Charlie’s Garden) was run as a law-abiding operation. However, as was the case with many “legitimate” businesses during that time, they also ran a speakeasy in the back of the building, complete with passwords and a hidden door.
In approximately 1952, the son of the original owner took over and renamed the place The Fedora Bar in honor of his wife (whose name is actually Fedora). Fedora and her husband ran the bar as a team until his death some years ago. After that, she assumed all duties as owner/operator. To this day, she still tends bar and even does most of the cooking.
According to Fedora, business has slowed down some but the “regulars” still come in. I think they return for the conversation and memories as much as they do for the food. Although the bar shows sings of age, the warmth and history can be felt and I can see why folks come back even after all these years. When I walked though the doors for the first time, I felt as though I had done it a thousand times before. As I sat down to the bar (third stool from the left) I felt at home, like this was my seat and this was my bar. The sense of belonging was immediate and I was treated like I had been a customer from the early days. Talking to Fedora is like talking to your favorite Grandma. But instead of giving you cookies and milk, you get one hell of a stiff drink and an earful of history. I can’t wait to go back.