My favorite part of maintaining Lost City are the occasions when, while reaching out to New York’s past, New York’s past reaches out to me. After writing about their family’s long-gone businesses, I have been contacted by descendents of the founders of Krauser Hardware and Cafiero’s restaurant in Brooklyn and The Colony restaurant in Manhattan.
Recently, I posted something about the Grand Saloon on 23rd Street, a former brothel and speakeasy that spent a good deal of its existence (as an extant sign, above, attests) as Klube’s Restaurant. Soonafter, I received an e-mail from the great-grandchild of the Klube who founded the place! As I usually do in such situations, I pressed this person for information. After all, the information we have on Klube’s is sketchy at best.
The original Mr. Carl August Klube had worked in Germany as a waiter before he came to America and bought what would become Klube’s in 1911. In 1908, he married Agnes Klinger, who had also been born in Germany. Agnes’ brothers Henry and Joe had butcher shops on Third Avenue.
Klube’s was a restaurant and bar. It was actually originally called Klube & Klinger’s, which is, frankly, a mouthful. Since the Klube family owned it during Prohibition, it’s a pretty safe bet that they ran it as a speakeasy in the 1920s. In its day, it was known as the Little Luchow’s—a reference to the more famous German restaurant.
The family apparently did pretty well by the place. Old man Klube wore three-piece suits, a diamond stick pin and a pinky ring. His wife was an avid shopper with a driver and a personal maid. The couple had one son, Carl Henry Klube, who eventually assumed control of the place and ran it into the 1960s. Victor Borge was a regular guest. A 1950 Times account has a man named Hans Nitzsche as having been Klube’s chef for decades. The third-generation Klube worked there for a short time, but soon after it was sold.
I have also discovered some old recipes from Klube's, but I'll save them for a future day.