Monday, 29 December 2008


Scheffel Hall, the striking German Renaissance building at 190, Third Avenue at 17th Street, was a beer hall named after German balladeer Joseph Victor von Scheffel. The East Village was chock-a-block with German immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was modeled by the architects after the Friedrichsbau at Heidelberg Castle. The interior was covered with murals based on Scheffel's once-famous songs (or, still famous songs in Germany, perhaps.)

Another name on the building is "Allaire's" and this relates to the name of a restaurant that was there later. In 1909, O. Henry set one of his short story's here, describing it as a "big hall with its smokey rafters, rows of imported steins, portrait of Goethe, and verses painted on the walls."

During World War I, German spies congregated here and plotted away. Tammany leader Charles Murphy, apparently holding no grudges against either side in The Great War, also held court here. It was later Joe King's Rathskeller, a business which, thankfully, didn't put it name on the outside. After Joe King got out it became Fat Tuesday's, a premier jazz joint, best known for hosting regular Monday-night gigs by legendary guitarist Les Paul.

It now houses Sal Anthony's Movement Studio focusing on Pilates and is an occasional Stand-up Comedy venue.

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