“Hiya, Marge!” calls out Steve Jones to a white-haired woman who’s just being seated in one of Knickerbocker’s roomy booths. The co-owner and manager of the elegantly informal boite tucked into the corner of East 9th Street and University Place in the East Village, Jones takes pride in being on a first-name basis with his “regulars”. A lifelong resident of Greenwich Village himself, he exudes that particular New York gruff friendliness mixed with a dash of wary savvy.
Jones is the manager and co-owner with two-time Tony Award winning Broadway producer Frank Granat (Any Wednesday, Dylan), who first opened Knickerbocker in 1977. The distinctive, inviting decor might be called updated turn-of-the-century classy saloon. “Frank’s got a good aesthetic eye,” observes Jones. Only recently renovated, the room which can seat 125, has walls covered with antique New York-themed posters like the circa World War I “Volunteer in 71st New York Infantry” and many Al Hirschfeld sketches of such quintessential New Yorkers as Bobby Short, Leonard Bernstein, Joe Papp and Liza Minnelli.