Wise Men was born out of wanting to welcome people over. We take our name from another Wise Men that opened in the early 1970s, in Chinatown, NYC. The owner, Betty Chin, had recently emigrated from Hong Kong with her husband, a chef. Their American dream was to start a restaurant. Their unconventional idea was to open the neighborhood's first western-style steakhouse. It would prove to be a great success.
Betty created a spot that became a second home for locals and a favorite retreat for those visiting downtown. When we decided to open our place on the Bowery, we wanted a name that symbolized this same atmosphere. We found our namesake in the family photographs pictured here.
Our bar's signature is the classic cocktail. Our food menu uses simple, fresh ingredients, with plates that work both for sharing and for snacking. Andy Harmon, the sculptor and set designer, created our interior by paying homage to old-school New York and by mixing in elements of Memphis Group designs and Brutalist architecture.
The owners of Wise Men are Christina Chin, Danielle Levitt, and Caroleyn Ng. Danielle is a photographer. Christina has a magazine. Caroleyn has fifteen years' experience in food and hospitality. In our thinking, every village has its wise men. We visit them to talk and lift our spirits. Our hope is that the shared spirit of the locals and visitors that stop by will be wisdom enough for dropping in again. We do not pretend to be anything from the past or the future. We are New York City, here and now, come on over.
Friends always come first.
                                  _Betty Chin, Wise Men. 1971, Chinatown, NYC