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424 East 9th Street, Alphabet City, Manhattan, New York City, New York40.72761800-73.98366500American

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What is Exchange Alley? Well, it’s a restaurant and bar, but it’s more than just that. It’s a hideout, a clubhouse, and a new century twist on the iconic spaces of the past where high and low could find common ground and drink, eat, laugh and carouse together to the small hours. The way we see it, it’s an outpost for the mad ones.

Located in the East Village a few steps down from the sidewalk on 9th between 1st Avenue and A, Exchange Alley is inspired by both the spirit of venerable New York gathering spots like the San Remo Café and Max’s Kansas City and the vibe of classic New Orleans bars, but takes those influences and adds three-chord cuisine created by chef Paul Gerard. It’s a philosophy that’s all about simple, delicious food, a menu that comes from a lifetime on the frontlines in the back of the house.

Exchange Alley is the type of place you could spend the whole day if you wanted to, starting in the morning with breakfast and coffee and a book; where you could maybe move up to something stronger as the afternoon wears on and the music segues from Lee Dorsey to the New York Dolls; and then cap the whole day off with friends, lingering over a good dinner and a bottle of wine, and then coming away feeling so comfortable and so right that you’d want to do it all over again the next day.

Paul Gerard (chef, co-owner): Got his first taste of the kitchen as a teenager in his native South Brooklyn, never looked back. Became a Lost Boy in New Orleans for years and worked under Spicer, Besh, Link, etc. Made it back to NYC (via Panama of all places) and was the skipper at Sweetwater, the Soho Grand and Soho House, among other places. Favors Johnny Thunders, brass knuckles. Still kind of sensitive, though.

John Harris (co-owner): A son of Chicago and fellow vet of the kitchens of New Orleans. Met Paul in a bar (naturally). Opened Uptown NOLA’s Lilette and started racking up accolades (including – count ‘em – four Beard nominations). Expanded his empire with the Bouligny Tavern and is now reverse carpetbagging it with his stake in Exchange Alley.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars, and in the middle, you see the blue center-light pop, and everybody goes ahh…”




Paul Gerard


Casual Dining


between 1st Avenue & Avenue A
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