Meat Markets: Stock Exchange–Themed Bar Hits Gramercy

Photo: Courtesy of Exchange

Plenty of restaurants have tried to court finance types by “speaking their language” — take Maloney & Porcelli’s expense-report generator and Smith & Wollensky’s stocks-for-steak offer. But this? On April 1, a couple of buddies — one of them a former trader at Deutsche Bank and stock broker at Prime Charter LTD (now a consultant for a Merger & Acquisition group), and the other an econ major who has lately been a GM at Murray Hill’s finer establishments — will open a stock exchange–themed lounge called (what else?) Exchange Bar & Grill in (where else?) Gramercy. The gimmick: The prices of drinks and bar food will fluctuate in 25-cent increments according to demand — meaning your wings could be $2 to $3 cheaper or more expensive depending on who else is ordering them. So it’s like the exchange floor but with drunk chicks! Will the place manage to lure away Stern school’s brightest from Tonic East? Read the press release, check out the dinner menu (still a work in progress), and you decide!

NEW YORK, NY — On April 1st, 2010 Exchange Bar & Grill will open their doors officially (with a media tasting to be held on Thursday, April 7th), introducing a full bar and food menu, with prices that will be based off of their own in-house stock market.

A new venture for friends Levent Cakar and Damon Bae, Exchange is the result of their collective experience in the finance and food industries. Cakar, who has a Masters degree in Economics and is now 11 years deep in the restaurant business, says of the concept: “It was the perfect merger of my two passions, we wanted to do something unique and entertaining for the neighborhood.”

Meant to be a fun challenge, the “Exchange Stock Market” will be based on the demand at any given point in time and will be featured on a ticker screen that runs the full 35-foot length of the bar. For example, if everyone is ordering vodka, the value will go up. Keeping patrons on their toes, the bartenders will also introduce a reverse market, encouraging what Cakar and Bae have coined as “drinking camaraderie” where a group of friends (or strangers) could decide to order a round of the same bar item, forcing the price down and making it a victory for all. The exchange will occur in 25 cent intervals ensuring that it’s not going to break your bank whether you’re winning or losing at their game.

The menu will include traditional bar items like fried calamari, mozzarella sticks and hot wings (appetizers ranging from $5 to $9), as well as entrée items such as salads, pastas, fish, chicken and steak (ranging from $9 - $24), using only the finest of ingredients and premium meats.

The space has an upscale lounge appeal, with the bar and standing room at the front and a sit down dining area with table service in the back. Exposed brick and antiqued mirrors line the walls with custom leather chairs, large flat screen TV’s, and an intricately-lighted ceiling in between.

Adding to the enjoyment of the ‘exchange,’ patrons can also request specific, free messages to run on the ticker screen for special occasions, whether it be a birthday message for a friend or to ask that certain someone they’ve been eyeing at the other end of the bar over for a drink.

Happy hour will run from noon to 7pm daily, featuring $3 beers and $5 well drinks, and the kitchen service is open late throughout the week. Special lunch and brunch menus are expected to be introduced at a later date.

To celebrate its opening, Exchange will be offering new customers a complimentary beer or glass of wine with purchase of any meal ($9 or more). To take advantage of the limited-time promotion, mention the code “Market Price” to your server at the next visit. Promo expires April 15, 2010.


Fried Calamari 9

Mozzarella Sticks 6

Onion Rings 6

French Fries 5

Shrimp Cocktail 10

Chicken Fingers 7

Hot Wings (6pc) 7
(12pc) 12


Shrimp Scampi (6pcs) 12

Sautéed Mushrooms 6

Sautéed Chicken 7

Grilled Calamari 9

Sautéed Potatoes 6

Steamed Vegetables 7


100% Certified Angus Burger (10oz) 9
*Add $1 for cheese, $1 for bacon

Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich 9

Tuna Melt 8


Grilled Cheese 7

Tilapia Sandwich 10

Grilled Striped Bass Sandwich 12

Cheesesteak Sandwich 12

**All burgers and sandwiches served w/ fries


Caesar Salad 7
Romaine Lettuce, Parmesan Cheese, in Caesar Dressing
*Add $3 for chicken

Garden Salad 7
Mixed Greens, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Green Peppers, in House Dressing
*Add $3 for chicken, $4 for shrimp

Monterey Salad 7
Romaine Lettuce, Dill, Feta, Scallions, in Virgin Olive Oil and Red Vinegar
*Add $3 for chicken, $4 for shrimp

Avocado Salad 7
Mixed greens, Celery, Mushrooms, Avocados, in Citrus Dressing
*Add $3 for chicken, $4 for shrimp

The Exchange Salad 7
Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Onions, Scallions, Pepper, Parsley, in Oil and Vinegar
*Add $3 for chicken, $4 for shrimp


Penne Primavera 15
(Penne w/ mixed vegetables
*Add $3 for chicken, $4 for shrimp

Penne a la Vodka 14
*Add $3 for chicken, $4 for shrimp

Fettuccini Carbonara 16
*Add $3 for chicken

Linguini w/Shrimps 18
In red or white sauce

Chicken w/ Mushrooms 17
Served w/ salad

Grilled Striped Bass 24
Served w/ salad

Fresh Fish and Chips 11

Rib Eye Steak 23
Served w/ fries

Exchange Bar & Grill, 256 Third Ave, nr. 21st St.; 646-596-9039

Meat Markets: Stock Exchange–Themed Bar Hits Gramercy