Graydon Carter’s 12-year stint at the helm of Monkey Bar has come to an end.
The celebrity magazine editor — who ended his 25-year run as editor of Vanity Fair two-and-a-half years ago — is handing over the keys to the famous Midtown eatery, leaving its fate up in the air, The Post has learned.
Carter, along with the rest of New York City’s restaurateurs, was forced by a state-ordered coronavirus lockdown to shutter the posh hangout in March. A rep said he wasn’t immediately available for comment on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old muckraker and his business partner Jeff Klein have decided to call it quits with just a few years left on the lease, deciding that the costs and hassles of reopening wouldn’t be worth it, according to sources. Klein also owns the City Club Hotel on West 44th Street.
Richard Born, who owns the Elysee Hotel at 60 East 54th Street — Monkey Bar’s home for the past 84 years — likewise owns the intellectual property of the iconic restaurant, famous for its Art Deco decor and all things monkey including the lamps, murals and dishes.
Nevertheless, Born said he isn’t focused on Monkey Bar at the moment, as he needs to first reopen the Elysee Hotel. Another source familiar with the eatery noted that high-end restaurants are facing higher hurdles to reopen than casual restaurants.
“I believe the Monkey Bar will reopen, but it won’t be exactly the same,” Born told The Post.
Indeed, Monkey Bar may never pack in as many celebrities as it used to, say its ardent fans.
“A lot of celebrities don’t go to Midtown, but Graydon Carter brought them there,” said Jeremy Murphy, a former CBS executive who runs his own public relations firm, 360 Bespoke. “The Conde Nast sheen and media presence made it something special and that would be missing without him.”
Just last November, Carter held a bash at the eatery to celebrate the book “Life Isn’t Everything: Mike Nichols, as Remembered by 150 of his Closest Friends.”
In attendance to fete the late Hollywood director and actor were Candice Bergen, Christine Baranski, Barry Diller and Peter Gallagher.
At its height under Carter, reservations were notoriously difficult to score, partly because most seats were reserved for Carter’s famous friends. At one point, the eatery installed a separate line for reservations — but only for lunch guests.
Like many fine dining restaurants during the pandemic, Monkey Bar never reopened after it closed in March. Carter gave notice about a month ago, Born said.
Carter owns another clubby restaurant in the Big Apple, Waverly Inn at 16 Bank St. in the West Village, which will reopen on Aug. 13 for dinner service, according to its OpenTable listing.
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