Della Robbia Bar

1900-1917ManhattanRestaurant

4 Park Avenue, NY, United States

ARCHITECTS
Warren & Wetmore; R. Guastavino Company; Rookwood Pottery Company

BUILT 1913

INTERIOR DESIGNATED 1994

DESIGNATED AREAS
Ground floor interiors

Della1

The subterranean space was fondly dubbed “the Crypt” when it served as the bar area of the elegant double-height Della Robbia Grill restaurant in the Vanderbilt Hotel. The restaurant interior has a vaulted ceiling of Guastavino tile framed by polychrome ornamental tile by the Rookwood Pottery Company of Cincinnati.

As part of a 1967 modernization, the hotel was split into apartments and commercial space, the grand public rooms were destroyed, and most of the original Della Robbia Grill was converted to a parking garage. The bar room and a portion of the grill room escaped demolition and was reborn as a new restaurant. Today, it is one of only two intact interiors finished in terra cotta by Rookwood Pottery. The space was designated as a landmark when the Friends of Terra Cotta drew attention to it after the terra-cotta-finished Marine Grill was removed from the nearby Hotel McAlpin. The Della Robbia bar remains in situ as a stunning surround for diners in Wolfgang’s Steakhouse.

Photographs 1–3 by Larry Lederman © All rights reserved

Paraphernalia courtesy Friends of the Terra Cotta Collection