Monday, November 10, 2014

Navarre Hotel Ladies Restaurant

Ad from the Bath [Maine] Independent,
March 5, 1910
Navarre Hotel Ladies Restaurant

Location: 7th Avenue at 38th Street, New York, New York, USA

Opened: Hotel opened in 1900, ladies restaurant probably didn't open till after 1907

Closed: Hotel demolished in 1930

The 1910 ad for the Navarre Hotel (to the right) appeared in Maine, but I imagine something similar appeared in newspapers all over the east coast.

Notice that a "Ladies Restaurant" is listed under the "Dutch Grill Rooms."

As we have pointed out in previous ladies restaurant posts, restaurants specifically designated for ladies were not unusual in turn-of-the century hotels. Chances are the "Dutch Grill Rooms" were designated as male-only, as cooking meat over an open flame is generally associated with men, masculinity, and men's space, and still is to some extent.

That is not to say that the "Ladies Restaurant" was female-only. Typically male escorts were not only allowed, they could even outnumber the ladies on occasion based on our analysis of other ladies restaurants from the period.

In many cases, the ladies restaurant was an after thought by the management. That also appears to be the case here. In this newspaper ad from 1907, there is mention of the "New Dutch Grill Rooms Largest in City," but no mention of a ladies restaurant.

As for the rest of the Beyond the Guided Age, we're told that the building was designed by Barney & Chapman around 1900 and demolished in 1930.

We get a little more background from this contemporary description:

On the corner of Seventh Ave., at 38th St., is the NAVARRE HOTEL, most conveniently located. 300 ft. from Broadway. Constructed in the French Renaissance style of architecture, it is one of the handsomest structures of its kind, not only in this country. but in the world. It is built and maintained strictly fire-proof throughout, with its ten stately stories of steel construction, stone and brick walls, red-tiled roof and marble mosaic and terrazzo floors. Among many hostelries of a great city, the Navarre stands unique in this respect. It truly offers the maximum of comfort and luxury at minimum cost. Its richness and high-class appointments, while affording all that is attainable as to the substantial and elegant in hotel service, are to be enjoyed at rates reasonable beyond ordinary expectations.

Navarre Hotel Main Lobby
The colored postcard above accompanied this description. And in this postcard, which appears to be from the 1920s, there is mention of the "Most Artistic Grill Rooms and Restaurants in the City," but no specific mention of a ladies restaurant, so I suspect it was gone by then.

Judging by the few images we have of the interior, this hotel was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside. Unfortunately, we have no images of the ladies restaurant. And I don't find any images from the time of the (men's) grill room either. However, you can see an artist's rendition of what the Navarre Hotel "Gentleman's Café and Bar" looked like here.

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