NEW YORK — Bar louie, the beloved Manhattan bar that’s been the center of the debate over whether men and women can drink at each other’s tables for years, has gone on the hunt for a new owner, according to the owner of a popular restaurant in the area.
Bar Refaeli owner David M. Leibowitz, who also owns a bar and eatery in Queens, said he is exploring an acquisition and will seek out the right partners for the business to expand in New York City.
“I think it’s a big opportunity for us,” Leibowsky said.
“I know there’s some competition, and it’s important that people like the experience.”
Bar Refae has been in the business for almost 20 years, with its namesake, an Italian-American man named Louis Refaelio, as a patron of the restaurant.
The restaurant, known for its traditional drinks, is owned by Louis Leibowits wife, Susan Leibovitz, and serves up the most expensive drinks in the city.
Lebovitz and Leibwitz said they hope to expand the restaurant in New Orleans.
Bar Refa has had a long history in New Jersey.
The former owner of the New Jersey branch of the United States Post Office opened the first restaurant in 1971, and the restaurant moved into the old National Bank building in 1982.
It opened in the former St. James building on Broadway in the early 1990s, and closed its doors in 2006.
Leebovitz said he recently contacted Louis’ wife, who was in the process of selling the company, but he was told she had decided not to pursue the sale.
He said he plans to buy the New York branch, which is in a former building at 14-17 Broadway.
In his view, Leibowski said he wants to expand Bar Refaelie to serve all New Yorkers, including people from all walks of life.
“There’s no one else out there that can compete with what we do, and that’s why we do it,” Lebowitz said.
Leibowitz said he was looking for partners for Bar Refa, a popular New York establishment with a good following among New Yorkers and locals alike.
The bar is located on the upper floors of the building at the corner of the Broadway and 42nd Streets and offers a full menu of cocktails, wine and beer, including the iconic Louis Vintner’s signature Vodka and Gin, as well as more exotic cocktails such as the $20 “Bar Refuela” or $20 Champagne.
The New York business has been successful, Lebowski said.
The business has grown by about 20 percent a year, he said.
Leibowsky plans to make a few changes to the menu, including increasing the menu to $20 a drink, he told the New Yorkers for Food, Music and Art show at the Museum of Modern Art.
New York City has a reputation as one of the most competitive cities for dining, and Lebowits desire to expand his business could help attract more diners to the area, he added.