This story was written by Linda Li.
Between the self-playing piano, over stuffed chairs and wooden furnishings, Black Cat Café is where nostalgia goes for its midday naps. The art on the walls and the people sipping coffee underneath it are steeped in dim amber lighting. The place appears to be tribute to the past – equipped with a typewriter, plants in jars, knick-knacks, and cat figurines.
This speakeasy-style coffeehouse, reopens under new ownership at 172 Rivington St. today.
After discovering the venue, Pe’er Klein, knew he had found the perfect place. “He just called me and said, ‘I am not changing anything,” says co-owner and wife, Noa Carmel-Klein.
The new proprietors came to New York City to pursue careers in the performance arts. They hope to turn the location into a haven for artists to display their work, sing, recite poetry and screen projects.
The couple added some tables and introduced a new organic menu. The shop offers loose leaf tea by the pot, or simply by the cup. The desserts are homemade – chocolate Guinness cake, gluten-free maple cake as well as a local favorite, the apple surprise.
With the recent approval of the community board, Black Cat Café hopes to be serving beer and wine by summer. In the future, Carmel-Klein would like to extend the hours to suit a late night crowd. In accordance with the speakeasy theme, jazz will be flowing out a few steps below the city street. She coyly describes the enthusiasm of the community board. “They liked the idea of live music, but we cannot promote it.” Since the shop is located in a residential area, the location must not be advertised as a music venue.
As for the grand reopening, there may be flappers and hushed debauchery present Friday night. For those who want to make it until morning, they will be offering free refills of their house blend for one night only.