Fly-Fishing Club Casts Line for Liquor License
By Julie Shapiro
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — It’s easy to pass the headquarters of the Anglers’ Club of New York without looking twice.
A small blue flag waving from the modest landmarked building on Broad Street is the only indication that a 105-year-old fly-fishing club is housed there.
And that’s exactly how the club’s officers like it — private.
"The contemplativeness and low-key spirit of the club reflects the spirit of the sport itself," said Chris Matteson, 41, director of the club.
But the club is emerging briefly into the public this week to apply for a liquor license for its private 65-seat dining room on the second floor of 101 Broad St.
Serving alcohol will allow the club to do more evening events and will be an added amenity for members, Matteson said.
The 2,500-square-foot space already hosts daily lunches and monthly evening events for the club’s members and their guests. Speakers sometimes come in to discuss fishing or conservation, but mostly the members enjoy each other’s company and trade stories about their experiences, said Matteson, who lives in Connecticut.
The club’s private restaurant is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features a $23 seared striped bass and a $20 stuffed loin of pork, according to documents submitted with its license application.
The club’s 600 members come from all over the world and have fished from the Arctic Circle to Mongolia, said John Mundt Jr., 45, president of the club. Members pay an average of several hundred dollars a year in fees, depending on where they live, he said.
The Anglers’ Club has no website and does not solicit new members — rather, people who are part of the fly-fishing community naturally find their way to the club through an introduction from a current member, Mundt said.
Founded in 1906 by downtown fly-fishing enthusiasts, the club moved to its current home on Broad Street in 1940. The space is adjacent to the Fraunces Tavern Museum.
On Jan. 24, 1975, a bomb exploded in the Anglers’ Club’s dining room, killing four people and injuring others both in the club and in Fraunces Tavern. Puerto Rican nationalist group FALN claimed responsibility for the attack.
The club’s history has been much quieter since.
Interest in fly-fishing peaked in the mid-1990s after the release of “A River Runs Through It,” Mundt said.
Mundt, a Connecticut resident, said he is drawn to fly-fishing's peace and naturalism.
"It allows you to be out in beautiful places," Mundt said. "It’s relaxing."
Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee will consider the Anglers’ Club of New York’s liquor license application Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. at 49-51 Chambers Street, room 709.