The Library at the Public

4.3
891 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
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.
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Private Dining

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What 891 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
4.3
service
4.4
ambience
3.8
value
Noise · Moderate
89% of people would recommend it to a friend
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CF
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Good ambiance. Food is okay, but nothing amazing. Prices are high. $18 for small cocktail. Joe Papp would not be thrilled by the expensive menu, but good oasis if you’re seeing a show.

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h
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

I love the atmosphere and everyone is so nice. I've been here many times. However, it's just too expensive, and the menu needs to be changed up. The lobster roll used to be a bit bigger and better. Now it's absurd.
Please fix.

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KH
New York Area
21 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 3

Crazy loud, but we only had an hour and our waitress took care to make sure we got our food quickly and got out in time for a show.

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s
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on January 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Convenience at a price. It just isn't a good value.

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PA
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I really liked the understated but classy experience.

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U
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

This is the Public Theater restaurant. The location is stylish and beautiful, the menu has nice variety and the drinks are above average.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

The food did not come out as ordered. 2 x a return on a burger, 1st well done, 2nd raw! One and done!

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B
New York Area
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 5ambience 2

Menu gets to be repetitive and boring. Portions are tiny so sharing is ridiculous. Ambiance is pleasant and waiter was very nice.
Same identical menu every time.

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US
New York Area
70 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Very straightforward menu, revised periodically to keep matters fresh and flavorful. We had two pasta dishes -- one with mushrooms, the other with shrimp & tomato -- both strikingly good.

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C
New York Area
19 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Good food, excellent service and in a cozy, stylish environment. Great for pre- or post-theater.

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OT
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Service is inconsistent and mostly slow. Tables are so close to each other you are intimately part of conversations with strangers. Host not especially accommodating on seating. Finally the food was mediocre at best.

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v
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We loved it here! We had a burger/fries dinner before the theatre and it was all just perfect! The burger was delicious and the fries were amazing - shoestring w/o a hint of grease, just delicious flavor. The service was unobtrusive but great. My sister had a delicious cocktail, and I had a glass of excellent pinot noir. We will come here again, even w/o tickets!

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N
Washington DC
30 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Good for a meal before or after seeing a play at the Public.

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J
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

Lovely space, good service, poor food. The sticky ribs were tender, but over-seasoned with Middle-Eastern spices. Not expected at all. There were two ribs on the plate, but no vegetables, although there were nice salad greens taking up at least 1/2 this plate. The ratio of wild mushrooms to pasta in the wild mushroom pasta dish was about 1:5. In addition, someone had a very heavy hand when adding the hot pepper flakes. The high cost of these dishes in relation to the so-so quality was too high.

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OT
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fist class dinner , excellent service and food

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C
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on December 19, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 4

This was a big disappointment. We had tickets to the Public Theater afterward so it was convenient and the service was fine. While the menu SOUNDS interesting, the things we ordered were short on flavor. Everything from the "lobster roll" (a square with no discernible lobster) to the Moroccan chicken (bland) to the fish and chips (lukewarm tasteless fries to accompany a fatty serving) was just "eh". At these prices, it should much better.

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DB
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on December 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Good food -- charming room -- obviously extremely convenient for Public Theater, especially on a cold and/or rainy evening

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j
Indiana
4 reviews
Dined on December 15, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Perfect spot for dinner before a play at the Public Theater. Lovely room, well-designed. Excellent service and as you'd expect the servers are very conscious of curtain times. My duck was ok, not terrific, but everything else we had was excellent.

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l
1 review
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Not only a super convenient restaurant for before/after Public theater venues, this is a great place to dine in that neck of the woods. Maitre d interesting as well as interested in guests. (Called to report 30 minute delay due to insane traffic) Menu creative, seasonal and delicious. (My husband and I had the Steak frites - prepared perfectly medium rare) Server nice disposition and courteous. Only complaint: although we each ordered a different wine by the glass, they tasted weirdly identical...) We will be back.

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AE
New England
3 reviews
Dined on December 8, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

cozy restful place after or before theater at the Public.
Quite good food, not amazing but very very good.

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DG
1 review
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Excellent service, good food, lovely ambiance made for a pleasant meal that got us to the theatre in plenty of time.

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g
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on November 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

When you enter, they ask you the time of your theater and time everything accordingly. Service was well-paced without being rushed. Menu was small but varied, and food was excellent.

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BH
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Why would you eat anywhere else when you're seeing a play at the Public? Perfectly reasonable food, fun theatre crowd, better than average cocktail menu. Best of all you can sit down at 5pm, finish up 10 minutes before a 7pm curtain.

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OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on November 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent in all ways!

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F
New York Area
45 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Service was attentive as always. Ideal for pre theater meal before going to any of the evening shows at the Public Theater.

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RO
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Good food good wine good service. Expensive. We were able to take our time and eat which was nice, but still a little pricey

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f
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on November 21, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 5

Excellent pre-theater dining. Cashew salad highly recommended - enough for 2

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L
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

We were celebrating with our friends thanksgiving as we do ever year. Wanted to try somewhere new. Made a reservation at the suggestion of someone else. Had someone from the restaurant call and confirm and I spoke with them. When we got there at 8:45, we walked into not 1, not 2, but 3 large parties taking place and taking over all but about six tables as you walk in with a large buffet of food in the middle of the restaurant. We were not happy, yet we tried to make the best of it. We waited for a while to have a waiter noice we were there, finally took a drink order, we asked how long it would take, we waited a while and still did not get the drinks and decided to leave after sitting there for 30 minutes. I did speak with the manager who was very apologetic. If the person that called to confirm the reservation told me there would be three parties taking place, we would have made a different decision and gone to the library another night. I’m so disappointed. It ruined part of our night and that could have been taken care of with respect for your customers.

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BN
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on November 17, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 1

The management has put too many tables in the space so that some diners are shoehorned into uncomfortable and small space- the prices are a little high for the quality of the food and the service is spotty

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MC
New York Area
138 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Twice in a row have I had a disappointing meal that ended up spoiling the evening. How difficult is it to get food out in a reasonable time in a restaurant that announces that they will get you to your theatre on time. It really feel like there’s a big disconnect between the kitchen and your table. Food comes out initially quickly, then the long wait begins. You finally get the entree and then hope to have a quick coffee. Then coffee doesn’t come until you have to rush out to your show. It feels like there’s a premium on extracting as much money as possible from you for the least effort possible. Thank goodness the bar is skilled or there wouldn’t be anything to salvage of the evening.

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s
London
30 reviews
Dined on November 15, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

The restaurant has good food and has a wonderful ambiance. It is also great to be able to eat there if you are attending an event at the Public theater. My dinner this time was not very good, however I have had better meals there. My friend ordered the hamburger and was very happy. I ordered the caesar salad which was delicious and a chicken and cous cous entree, which was dry and tasteless. Next time I might order the burger!!! But the service is great and the restaurant has a really nice vibe.

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VA
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This restaurant at The Public Theater is an excellent pre-performance dinner place, and would also probably be top notch for a business lunch. My son and I both had fish, which was cooked perfectly and came with tasty though small vegetable servings. An intriguing menu...check it out online.

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M
New York Area
64 reviews
Dined on November 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Terrific as usual

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

Did not know a private event prior to the reservation, they came by and asked if everything's fine for every 5-10 minutes for more than 10 times which means 'get out we have a private party, we don't care your date'. Not going again.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The host and waiter both asked if we were seeing a show. I told them both it was a surprise (for the guest I was with - who was standing right there) and they still proceeded in making me tell them the show (“so they could get us out on time”) thus ruining the surprise. I booked the time I booked b/c I can manage my own time and didn’t need the restaurant to make sure I got out on time. When I said it was a surprise that should have been the end of the discussion.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Food was pleasant albeit $35 for fish and chips is extremely ridiculous even for NYC standards. And someone’s dog was running around. The wait staff asked us if we wanted more to eat and drink about five times, so we just left. Will not be returning for after show eats.

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CB
London
2 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Great place for pre-theater dining. Wait staff is friendly and accommodating and food is very good.

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PG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 1, 2018
Overall 4food 2service 3ambience 5

Tasteless fries
Small not great hamburger
Great soft serve frozen custard

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W
New York Area
119 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Both the burger and the ribs were delicious. Nice service and your manager did a good job of taking care of a problem.

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YP
1 review
Dined on October 27, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I enjoyed the atmosphere at The Library at the Public greatly. My friends enjoyed their meals and drinks as well. I was not the biggest fan of the ceasar salad as it was just large pieces of lettuce and the dressing had a very strong anchoive flavor. But the hummus, fries and drinks were great.

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