Descending into Lure Fishbar, one enters a world that is at once a fantasy of the moneyed life—the subterranean restaurant’s gleaming teak panels and white leather banquettes call to mind the interior of some billionaire’s yacht—and its embodiment.
A favorite of tech and media moguls, Lure is where the city’s sleek and prosperous come to sup on $46 steamed lobster tail, socialites slurp their weight in oysters and Gwyneth Paltrow goes for dinner with Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
When it opened in 2004, Lure was both the apotheosis and the seeming endpoint of Soho’s transformation from an enclave for scruffy artists into an upscale shopping and dining district. Nine years later, Lure seems, if anything, even more at one with its surroundings, a short walk from Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
So it came as something of a shock when rumors started circulating this spring that Lure was closing because of a massive rent hike. Mom-and-pops have been struggling for decades, of course, and Soho has had more than its share of casualties. But Lure doesn’t fit the profile of a beleaguered small business. Owned by John McDonald, a savvy veteran of New York’s restaurant scene, Lure caters to the kind of clientele that does not balk at paying a lot more for things they deem worthy. Moreover, it had washed into the neighborhood on the waves of gentrification in the first place.