Is Hell’s Kitchen becoming a tropical paradise? Hold my piña colada! A new rooftop watering hole could be about to join underground speakeasy The Friki Tiki in the landmark Film Center Building, cementing 9th Avenue and W44th as a multi-level beachy bar crawl destination.

Film Center
The Film Center at 630 9th Avenue before it was blanketed with sidewalk sheds in March 2022. Photo: Phil O’Brien

The team behind the well-established 230 Fifth Rooftop bar is creating the as-of-yet unnamed indoor/outdoor restaurant and lounge that will occupy the rooftop of the famous Art Deco design Film Center building. Built in 1928, it once housed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures and Lowes Cineplex Entertainment. Today, the 13-story office building hosts 5 Napkin Burger, Schmackary’s, Marseille and Nizza at street level — and was previously home to fabled New York soul food restaurant, Jezebel.

The eatery “will be a tropical oasis in the heart of Manhattan, decorated with many different trees and plantings,” read a public letter from a 230 Fifth team’s representative to Manhattan Community Board 4’s Business Licenses and Permits Committee. “It will be a place where people can escape the busy and loud streets of the city, and relax while dining in a beautiful setting perched above the streets of New York.”

Film Center
The Film Center once served as the New York offices of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Photo: Phil O’Brien
Film Center Lobby
The landmarked, Art Deco-style lobby at the historic Film Center. Photo: Naty Caez

Serving shareable bites and entrees sourced with local ingredients — guacamole and chips, sliders, Margherita flatbreads, meat-based and “Impossible-style” burgers, steak frites and salmon, plus desserts like fancy doughnuts, tiramisu and sorbet — the lounge will also feature bespoke cocktails that according to the group’s application, “will be infused with fresh grown mint from the rooftop, among other herbs grown on the rooftop space.” 

The team is led by Sal Rozenberg, a longtime restaurateur who managed the popular Gansevoort Rooftop in Chelsea and has served as a managing partner at 230 Fifth Rooftop since 2006. “With our team and 25+ years of experience in the outdoor dining and food and beverage industry, we believe that this restaurant will be a positive impact on the city as a new business,” read the application.

The team has filed a proposal to operate the indoor space with a capacity of 45 from Monday to Saturday 12pm to 2am and Sunday 11am to 2am with background music as well as selected live music and DJ. The outdoor space with a capacity of 250 would open from Monday to Friday 12pm to 12am and Saturday/Sunday 11am to 12am with recorded background music only. The application included an extensive rooftop audio audit and recommendation from sound engineering firm Acoustilog on their soundproofing designs. 

Representatives from 230 Fifth will present their case to the Business Licenses and Permits Committee later this spring for approval to proceed. Slated to present this evening is the team at Try Alpha, the operators of proposed club Magnitude on 11th Avenue that was previously rejected over capacity and noise concerns on their rooftop space. The public can attend the meeting at 6:30-9:30pm this evening via Zoom using this link.

Film Center Rooftop Bar
There’s a new rooftop bar planned for the top of the Film Center on 9th Avenue. Photo: Google Maps

The 230 Fifth team weren’t ready to make a formal announcement about the space, but told W42ST that they were looking forward to sharing more details about the 9th Avenue concept soon. 

Join the Conversation


  1. After a recent productive meeting with community board members and local block associations, the owners have withdrawn the March presentation and will reschedule for May in order to consider design changes to potentially address concerns.

  2. This is horrifying. So upsetting. We do not need outdoor, bass-heavy noise from prerecorded music assaulting residents, including senior citizens in Manhattan Plaza. This will negatively impact the lives of so many blocks of Hell’s Kitchen residents. Why is the proposal even under consideration? An OUTDOOR nightclub catering to 250 people every night? Just say no. Why not make something that will enhance the lives of people who live here?

    1. Is it that horrifying and upsetting to you that someone actually wants to put a nice rooftop restaurant in a history-rich building like Film Center? Have you seen our neighborhood in the past 3 years?? Hell’s Kitchen was a thriving pre/post-theatre neighborhood with countless quality restaurants and watering holes pre-pandemic. The blocks of this neighborhood used to be vibrant and exciting. Now, many of the best bars and restaurants in this neighborhood have closed and drug addicts and erratic homeless people have taken back over this neighborhood. Not a great sign for our future. Do you forget what this neighborhood was like in the 90’s? I think our opinions differ a bit on what enhancing the neighborhood means. You chose to live blocks away from Times Square – the most tourist driven neighborhood in the entire city, but you are concerned with ONE rooftop restaurant/bar two blocks away from you? Do you think they’re throwing concerts on the rooftop?! I love that Board 4 listens to all the hyped up people who don’t want our neighborhood to change, instead of realizing this neighborhood NEEDS change, and fast.

      1. AGREED!!! Community Board 4 needs some new, fresh blood in their ranks. With it’s proximity to Times Square, this neighborhood should be a no-brainer for people to bring new and exciting projects to Hell’s Kitchen, but instead we are so worried for it “assaulting” and “horrifying” it’s residents, that we scare new projects out of happening. Get a grip. This neighborhood is heading backwards in a hurry and it’s sad, scary and not safe anymore. I’ve been to a couple of Board 4 meetings and they do NOT represent the opinions or demographics of the community at all…

  3. Is this an outside nightclub? What else could it be with 250 people? How many times have we heard “background” music when the reality is different. This will impact many residents in buildings on 44th and 45th that surround the Film Center. The problem is that Community Board 4 just hands out liquor licenses like candy.

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