17 Broadway, where the 19 Broadway Bar and Nightclub is today, was built in 1921 and operated as the Fairfax Hotel & Restaurant by Albert Bolongaro. The next year, Mr. Bolongaro purchased three adjoining lots. On one, he erected an addition to the hotel, at 19 Broadway covering the front with the same brick as was used in the original building, giving the impression of a single structure.
In 1923, L.M. Clifford leased the hotel and restaurant from Bolongaro and ran them both, with a pool room and a card room upstairs.
In 1929, Bella Celoni, Jerome’s father, purchased the Fairfax Hotel and Restaurant, moving his family into the former hotel’s rooms. His Restaurant, which included a small bar was downstairs at what is today 19 Broadway’s piano room and the back of the show room. 17 Broadway was the banquet room of the restaurant. A Speak-easy existed from 1922 to 1931, with slot machines in the back.
After World War II, Bella Celoni decided to retire. His two sons, Jerome and Louis, decided to close the restaurant. Jerome obtained an “off sale” liquor license, and the brothers opened a liquor store at 19 Broadway and a bar at 17 Broadway, called Celoni’s. The present bar was built by Tony Tetroni, Jerome’s uncle, in 1940. Remember, the address of the present 19 Broadway Bar & Restaurant is actually 17 Broadway…So much for Irish thinking.
Since the beginning of it’s existence, the building at 17 and 19 Broadway has been dedicated to fun and entertainment, a tradition carried into the new millennium!