The Library at The Public

4.3
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1006 Reviews
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$30 and under
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American

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About

The Library at The Public is an Astor-era lounge tucked away in the mezzanine level of The Public Theater's new downtown home at Astor Place serving classic and inspired cocktails, wine, and Chef Andrew Carmellini's eclectic American menu sourcing local ingredients and New York influence.
What 1006 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.1
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
3.7
value
Noise · Moderate
90% of people would recommend it to a friend
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F
New York Area
61 reviews
Dined on March 6, 2020
Overall4food4service4ambience5

The prices are on the high side, but with the member discount they are more reasonable. Service is friendly and accommodating. It is a perfect location for a bite before seeing a show at the Public, but would not consider it to be a destination restaurant.

J
New York Area
51 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2020
Overall3food2service5ambience5

The Library is a lovely, clubby kind of room with a very talented wait staff. The food, on the other hand is uneven, satisfactory but often lackluster. The convenience and comfort of the restaurant is a serious draw but I think serious thought should be given to improving the menu.

f
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Perfect for dinner before the show. Literally like having dinner in an elegant but cozy library.

Z
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on February 15, 2020
Overall4food4service5ambience4

A great place to eat before a show downstairs. We ate early (5.30pm) so the ambience was quiet and very relaxed, probably a bit different after a show! Service and staff were great. Food was good - we shared quite a few appetizers to make a meal where we could sample lots of the dishes. Not cheap but its NYC and super-convenient before a show.

CB
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall2food1service4ambience2

I was excited about going to this local place but in fact we ended up going somewhere else. I was never informed that it was a special $90 prix fixe that night, even though my reservation was checked on several times. Decor was a bit tired and worn. Music was sort of a loud frantic collection of unpleasant sound. We were surprised but decided to try to make the best of it. After looking at the menu, which offered a few not very appealing options and several things, brussel sprouts and walnuts, that I really dislike, we decided to chance it and try to find another place to eat. Staff was lovely but everything else was a unfortunately a big disappointment.

S
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

From the specialty drinks to the salads and main course all of the tastes were on point and service was excellent! We called because traffic was heavy and we got to our waiting table 15 minutes late and everyone was very nice! Great hidden gem!

PF
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Some of the most delicious food I've had. The service and staff are fantastic. Great ambiance.

OT
Nashville
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2020
Overall3food5service1ambience4

Service was awful. Waited 20 minutes before a waiter filled our glasses, and then another 20 minutes for our first drinks. We asked for some aioli for our fries twice and we never received. There weren’t even many people at the restaurant. The food was great but the service was horrible.

OT
Key West
1 review
Dined on January 29, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Went for a late Tuesday night dinner during restaurant week. Burger was fantastic. Fish and chips were pretty good. Cocktails on point though a little pricey. Service was excellent.

M
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2020
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Great gathering spot pre/post theater..nice ambience, good vibe, excellent service

BL
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2020
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved it. Great food. Great Ambience. the service was teriffic.

M
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on December 14, 2019
Overall1food1service3ambience1

If you are expecting to “dine,” don’t bother with this place. It’s really a basic bar, not posh at all despite its advertisements, and strange overpriced menu. Odd entree choices like $34 Spanish octopus, and $24 burgers. Wine list deplorable. This is a pass!!!

No diners were here for good reason. We left and went across the street to Lafayette and had a lovely time.

H
New York Area
79 reviews
Dined on December 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Can be quite good at times with the occasional quality lapse. Lobster rolls now off the menu were overrated and overpriced. The menu in general is a bit overpriced but if you're a member of Public, the discount helps considerably. Servers are pleasant and atmosphere is clubby and nice. French fries are worth the price of admission.

NK
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 1, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience2

We sat for almost an hour waiting for food
Ind dish cold had to be reheated...other was burger..grisly and tasteless
Very pricey for mediocre food and terrible service
They comped glass of wine..should have comped dinner

G
New York Area
41 reviews
Dined on November 29, 2019
Overall4food5service5ambience4

The Library at The Public doesn't have to be as good as it is. It has a potentially captive audience - patrons of the excellent performance space - with a 20% discount for contributors. The drinks are delicious, the beers are interesting, and the food cannot be faulted. The service is friendly and competent.

D
Baltimore
50 reviews
Dined on November 26, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

There's no reason to eat at The Library unless you have tickets to see a show at the Public Theater. But we did, and it was perfect. We had a lively and informative conversation with the couple at the next table.

DM
New York Area
151 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Ideal location for dining when we have a show at the Public. Terrific hamburgers but steak special for the day was just OK. And why so many french fries????

T
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2019
Overall3food2service4ambience4

Very comfortable room with great service. But the food is ridiculously overpriced and mediocre. The cheapest thing on the menu is a $23 burger which was over cooked and dry. The fries, however, were great.

A
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on November 20, 2019
Overall5food3service5ambience5

Love the atmosphere and service. One of our dishes -- the cauliflower cassoulet -- was a bit of a disappointment. Portion quite small and it wasn't interesting; moreover, too much cornstarch. On the other hand, we very much liked the caesar salad. Overall, I find the prices a little high (two tacos for $15?) but on the other hand, appreciate the convenience of eating at The Public right before the show. Again, the service is wonderful, as is the setting.

OT
New York Area
288 reviews
Dined on November 19, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Not bad for Members of the Public, who get a 20% discount, otherwise, it is expensive. Roast Chicken dish was steaming hot and tasty. The Tagliatelle was lukewarm but flavorful. It took a long time to place the order and receive our meals. Pre-theater, the place is packed. Make a reservation!

A
New York Area
23 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience5

Lovely place....I do find the prices somewhat high (for not particularly large portions) but the membership discount helped somewhat. Our server was really excellent. It was on a Monday when the theaters weren't having performances, so it was quite quiet (a rare treat).

S
New York Area
102 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

My friend and I shared a large burger, cooked to perfection and made of wonderful beef. I only wish I had enough of an appetite to order my own and have the full pleasure.
Wether before or after a show at The Public, The Library its an excellent choice.

P
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 10, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always my favorite pre-theater restaurant and of course at my favorite theatrical home

S
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 8, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Birthday dinner... everyone loved what they ordered. I ordered the spanish octopus with potatoes for entree and it was delicious!!

a
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on November 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience3

THE LIBRARY is the ideal dining spot for anyone planning to attend a show at The Public Theater. The room is comfortable - though it tends to get a bit noisy (not overwhelming, but far from intime), the service is polite and efficient, the food is better than average and agreeably priced.

Possibly the best thing about The Library is it's convenient access to The Public. And the best thing about The Public is ..... Buy your tickets and find out for yourself. But first, have dinner at The Library...it's so restful not to have to worry about getting to The Public in time!

n
New York Area
44 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

wonderful f fries but so many I had to leave some as they got cold.

we were warned that rare burger would be raw, so ordered medium, but that was too well done.
need to calibrate description with real doneness.

n
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall3food3service4ambience3

only book it when time pressured or inclement weather...prices outrageous for ok food...2 hamburgers and 2 glasses of wine and 1 fish and chips cost $125 after a 20% discount

SJ
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2019
Overall4food3service3ambience4

I love The Library but things were a little off this time for our pre theater dinner. Firstly, when i gave my name to check into our reservation I was told "you're already here!" and some confusion reigned as the maitre d' realised she had given our table to someone with a similar name. Eventually we were seated and the food was fine but the menu is in desperate need of a refresh. When you're a member of The public and dine here 5 or 6 times a year for several years, you soon long for something different... or maybe even a special or two? Overall pleasant, but not special.

MT
New York Area
75 reviews
Dined on October 30, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Great choice before any performances at the Public. I miss the wonderful lobster rolls but the burger is great with its mountain of French fries!! Pity there are no interesting coffees like latte and cappuccino, only ordinary caf or decaf.

NY
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on October 27, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Great service

GM
New York Area
11 reviews
Dined on October 25, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Public theatre membership plus!!!

MC
New York Area
171 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

The food was very good this time, and the service was really excellent—friendly and attentive but not intrusive. The problem is that the menu is so limited and changes so infrequently that it always feels tired. I’m a fish lover, but I can’t bring myself to order the fish again here. They always seem dreary. The pastas, however, are dependable. Excellent bar.

J
New York Area
51 reviews
Dined on October 17, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

We enjoyed our pre-theater dinner. Food was delicious and service was excellent!

NS
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Excellent!!!!

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NC
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall4food3service4ambience4

An excellent pre- or post- theater choice. The staff was warm and welcoming. The food was delicious but the portions were too large.

m
New York Area
75 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Impeccable service, varied and always wonderful menu, and ideal for pre- theatre dining at the Public. A total pleasure.

JE
New York Area
37 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Excellent service, delicious meal...what more can you ask for? The food is relatively unfussy which we love and the portions were substantial, although maybe a bit too many french fries! We love coming here.

AT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on September 27, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience4

Very good service- kind staff; tasty food and drinks. Trout wasn’t great but loved the charcuterie, cavatelli, and beet salad, and apple crumble!

l
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on September 11, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Best reason to go here is convenience if you're going to a show at Joe's Pub. Nice atmosphere, good food. On the expensive side with appetizers $12-$18 and main courses in the $30+ range. Drinks are expensive too. $18 for a cocktail and glasses of wine $14-$22.

Beet salad is particularly good.

l
New York Area
14 reviews
Dined on August 28, 2019
Overall2food3service2ambience2

The menu is very limited, the service not very good and the prices much more expensive than they are on their menu online. I had a $23 hamburger which is listed at $18 on line. I would not recommend this restaurant.