New York City

The Regency Bar & Grill, the signature restaurant and bar at Loews Regency Hotel was the original home of The Power Breakfast in New York City. While it has that rich history, the restaurant now has a brand new look. The space, on the lobby level of Loews Regency, was given a complete overhaul by the design team Meyer Davis as part of the hotel’s $100 million renovation completed this January. We spoke to principals Will Meyer and Gray Davis, along with their colleague Meaghan Apfel, about the studio’s work on and inspiration for The Regency Bar & Grill.

What was the direction you were given by the team at Loews Regency for the design of  The Regency Bar & Grill?

The overall assignment was to give the hotel a life for the next 20 years — for the next generation. To look at the project in terms of preserving things from its past, like the Power Breakfast, but also making it a hub, a center of activity for the neighborhood and community but also for the hotel guests. If you think geographically, the corner the hotel sits on is a very interesting connected corner — for business; for fashion, being close to Madison Avenue; for the Upper East Side residential neighborhoods; and for culture, being the beginning of the Museum district. If you think about all those coming together and then consider that this hotel has been the interface that travelers have to New York in all those different distinctive parts of New York… the restaurant had to speak to all of that.

The big move was taking the bar [from its old position] and moving it to the corner of the hotel. The bar becomes this sort of lantern on the corner of 61st and Park. Because before, the windows had drapes and you couldn’t really see in. What’s nice now is when you’re walking by, you see the activity inside. The bar becomes a real destination. One thing we’ve noticed a lot is that, within hotels, the restaurants are becoming their own destinations and can easily stand on their own. That’s what’s nice about this, is that The Regency Bar & Grill can easily be an individual space but it meshes well with the hotel. They complement each other.

What was the inspiration for your work on this space?

We did case studies of other international hotels in places like London and Paris — major cities — and we took inspiration from a lot of those. In terms of what they have: a great bar that everybody knows, that is a great place to meet up. They have great dining rooms. They have places where you can be and be seen — but they also have nooks and little areas you can tuck into and have a more private dinner. We took all those considerations and made little zones and pockets for each of those kinds of experiences.

Also, the [tile] pattern in the Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar… You know, over in Italy, they do these beautiful mosaic patterns in the piazzas. We were somewhat inspired by those and wanted to have some of that Italian edge. It was fun coming up with a pattern and a palette that was very New York but was also respectful of where [restaurateurs] Gherardo [Guarducci] and Dimitri [Pauli] are from, their heritage.

Did The Regency Bar & Grill being the home of The Power Breakfast affect how you approached this?

It certainly did. We were told, ‘This is where these people will be sitting’ and ‘This is where traditionally they have had their tables.’ So we accommodated for different kinds of people sitting at different tables. Mr. Tisch had said that there are certain diners who like to be seen and other ones who like tables that are kind of tucked away so they can have a little more private or intimate conversation. Which was kind of interesting, hearing the dynamics of who likes to be seated where. So the whole five years designing this space, we were also thinking: well, where is that individual going to be sitting? We were strategizing that way, too.

The Power Breakfast at Loews Regency Hotel

Have you seen it come to life? Have you enjoyed the Power Breakfast?

We have not. We’ve been too busy working on everything else! But we will. We’re finishing up the salon for Julien Farel at Loews Regency and that’s a lot of work. But soon we will be regular fixtures. Maybe we’ll have that ‘special’ table!

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