Hotel Chantelle Quietly Soft Opens at 92 Ludlow

Posted on: November 9th, 2010 at 6:33 am by

This next story is over two years in the making, and involves the never-talked-about nightspot Hotel Chantelle. Back in September 2008, Eater broke news that the 1920s-Paris-inspired restaurant was to open at the squat 92 Ludlow Street. Brought to you by the owners behind Royal Oak in Williamsburg, Hotel Chantelle promised to occupy an eye-popping 7,500 square-feet of space divvied up between the three levels, including basement and roofdeck.

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Said roofdeck was to be year-round, courtesy of an enclosure, and also boast an “Edward scissorhandian topiary garden with hedges and trees in the shapes of animals.” Meanwhile, the subterranean hangout would be super-exclusive with its own bar, and only accessible to those with limited edition skeleton keys.

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Well, a tipster sent along word yesterday morning that Hotel Chantelle is a go; it soft opened over the weekend.

Two years late, by the guy who owns Royal Oak in WB. First of its kind below Delancey. Going to be a mega-club/restaurant. Will no doubt bring unpleasant crowds, but the decor is really impressive. All the wood is salvaged from 18th century Philadelphia buildings that were being torn down. Everything looks like it cost a shitload. Apparently he still plans to proceed with the “key system” that’s described in the two year old Eater post.

Going on the tip, we stopped by later in the day for an early look at the joint and met owner Benjamin Shih.  First impression – it’s very swanky, with fancy upholstered booths, dim lighting, and plenty of wood. At this point, the ground level restaurant is the only operational part of Hotel Chantelle, and fits approximately 390 heads. No menu just yet, but the fare will be “French colonial.”  Only full bar, salads, and small plates of fruit, cheese, and bread are now available.

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We were told that the grand opening should happen sometime within the next few weeks, with the other floors slated to unlock roughly six weeks out.  Shih candidly admitted to us that it should’ve happened in January 2009, but there were a few roadbocks along the way which delayed the whole process.

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When asked about the basement club, he said that it is strictly a casual hangout for friends of staff, press, and “people in the neighborhood.” But that it isn’t some kind of standard issue velvet rope/clipboard deal.  Regardless, the downstairs area still sounds like it could spiral into an exclusive VIP situation.

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Hotel Chantelle, 92 Ludlow Street, (212) 254-9100

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