Cipriani S.A.

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Cipriani S.A. is a privately owned international corporation based in Luxembourg that owns and operates luxury restaurants and clubs around the world including Harry's Bar in Venice and formerly the Rainbow Room in New York City. It specialises in simple, traditional Italian food.[1]

It traces its history to family patriarch Giuseppe Cipriani (1900–1980) [2] who founded Harry's Bar in Venice in 1931. According to the company history, Harry Pickering—a rich, young Bostonian—had been frequenting Hotel Europa in Venice, where Giuseppe Cipriani was a bartender.[3] When Pickering explained that he was broke because his family found out his drinking habits and cut him off financially, Cipriani loaned him 10,000 lire (about $500 US [$7,839 in 2015 dollars]).[3] "Mr. Cipriani, thank you," he said, according to the Cipriani website.[3] Harry's Bar became a popular spot for celebrities like Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart. The Bellini cocktail and the food dish Carpaccio were reputed to have originated there.

Giuseppe's son Arrigo Cipriani (born 1932) is the majority owner. Arrigo is Italian for Harry.[2] His son Giuseppe Cipriani (born 1965) is the main business manager.


In 1958 the elder Cipriani built the Hotel Cipriani in Venice. In 1967 Cipriani Sr. sold rights to the Cipriani name trademark.[4]

However the family went international in 1985 under the Cipriani name when it opened a Harry's Bar branch in New York City in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel.[5] Within two years they were evicted from the hotel and opened the Cipriani Bellini bar nearby.[2] Eventually they would return to the hotel.

110 East 42nd Street

In 1997 the Ciprianis bought 55 Wall Street, noted for its huge ornate former First National Bank lobby. They sold it in 1999 and bought the Bowery Savings Bank building across from Grand Central – again noted for its huge ornate lobby.[6] 55 Wall Street Cipriani's, Grand Central Cipriani's, and Cipriani Tribeca, were designed by Anthony Morali of Morali Architects.[7]

In 1998 they leased the Rainbow Room, performed minor modification/major gutting of the 87' Rockefeller Restoration, and fired the members of Local 6 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union which picketed it. The labor dispute was settled in 99' resulting in a recall of the displaced Local 6 employees for 10 years until 2009 when Cipriani was evicted by the current Owner/Operator Tishman Speyer.

In 2005 the company won a right from Hudson River Park board to develop Pier 57 into Leonardo's a luxury complex that included a museum, catering hall, shops, restaurants, a rooftop pool and a public park.[8] Their principal competition was the Chelsea Piers which was just north of Pier 57.[9] After winning the bid Michael DiLeonardo, an associate of Peter Gotti, turned state's evidence against the accused mobster. In his testimony DiLeonardo said the Ciprianis had paid $120,000 to the Gambino crime family to make union problems at the Rainbow Room disappear.[10] The charges were never confirmed. However the Ciprianis were unsuccessful in firing the union workers. The Ciprianis relinquished their rights to develop the pier after co-investors in the project withdrew.[5][11]

In April 2004, Cipriani opened in London. The site on Davies Street in Mayfair was co-founded and established by Fabrizio Cerina of Swiss banking group Credit des Alpes, who also acted as strategic advisor to Cipriani in the sale and leaseback of the Saxony Hotel, Miami in 2009 – one of the biggest property deals in Miami to date.[12]

In 2006 in partnership with attorney Steve Witkoff, Cipriani bought 55 Wall Street again.[6]

Arrigio and Giuseppe pleaded guilty in 2007 to misdemeanor tax evasion for defrauding $3.5 million in state and city taxes for six years beginning in 1998. They were placed on probation through 2011 and an independent auditor was assigned to monitor future payments.[5]

In 2007 and 2008 it had a bitter dispute with the landlord L&L Holdings Company headed by David W. Levinson of the International Toy Center over its ballroom in the lobby of the landmark building in the Flatiron District at 200 Fifth Avenue and 23rd. The Ciprianis ultimately agreed to pay $12 million and vacate the building by the end of January 2009.[13]

In December 2008 the High Court of England and Wales ruled that Orient-Express Hotels (which owns the Hotel Cipriani) owns the Cipriani trademark and that the use of "Cipriani" in the name of the London restaurant infringed its trademark rights.[4][14] The decision was upheld on appeal by the Court of Appeal on 24 February 2010, which ordered that the restaurant's name would have to be changed by 24 April 2010.[15] The new name of the restaurant is "C".[16]

In January 2009 the Ciprianis announced plans to close the Rainbow Room in a dispute with 30 Rock owner Tishman Speyer Properties. Tishman in turn responded that it was evicting Ciprianis from the Rainbow Room.[17]


New York City
Los Angeles
  • Cipriani Beverly Hills (planned in 2010 in the former Tower Beverly Hills Hotel)[26]
  • Cipriani's Downtown & Bellini Lounge Club
  • Booom! IBIZA
Porto Cervo
  • Cipriani Porto Cervo[27]
Hong Kong
  • Cipriani Hong Kong [28]
Miami Beach
  • Cipriani Mexico City
  • Cipriani Monaco


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c "Behind the Coup at Cipriani" (Google Books). New York Magazine. 19 October 1987. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Harry's Bar". 
  4. ^ a b "Hit London restaurant told to drop Cipriani name". Reuters. 10 December 2008. 
  5. ^ a b c "Father and Son Restaurateurs in New York City Plead Guilty to Tax Evasion". New York Times. 1 August 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "Mr. Cipriani Takes His Name to Wall Street Condominiums". New York Times. 26 February 2006. 
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ Bagli, Charles (2005-04-07). "Cipriani Wins Bid for Italian Makeover of a West Side Pier". New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  9. ^ Bagli, Charles (2005-02-05). "On the Waterfront, Dueling Developers; Two Visions and the Challenge of Making a Choice". New York Times. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Gray, Geoffrey (2009-12-13). "Bellini Troubles". New York Magazine. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Anderson, Lincoln (2006-05-10). "Cipriani says arrivederci to Pier 57 Leonardo plan". The Villager. Retrieved 18 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "Florida hotel added to Cipriani empire". The Independent (5 February 2008). 
  13. ^ "CIAO CIPRIANI: LEASE TO END IN '09". New York Post. 1 July 2008. 
  14. ^ Hotel Cipriani SRL & Others v Cipriani (Grosvenor Street) Ltd & Others [2008] EWHC 3032 (Ch), [2009] Bus LR D81, [2009] RPC 9 (9 December 2008)
  15. ^ Hotel Cipriani SRL & Others v Cipriani (Grosvenor Street) Ltd & Others [2010] EWCA Civ 110, [2010] RPC 16 (24 February 2010), Court of Appeal
  16. ^ a b "C London". 
  17. ^ "Rainbow Room's Lease Terminated". New York Times. 9 January 2009. 
  18. ^ "Harry's Dolci". 
  19. ^ "Harry Cipriani Bar". 
  20. ^ "Club 55". 
  21. ^ "55 Wall Street". 
  22. ^ "Cipriani Wall Street". 
  23. ^ "Cipriani 42nd Street". 
  24. ^ "Cipriano Dolci". 
  25. ^ "NYC Landmarks Re-Opening as Event Spaces". sequence. Retrieved 7 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Cipriani Beverly Hills". 
  27. ^ "Cipriani Porto Cervo". 
  28. ^ "Cipriani Hong Kong". 
  29. ^ "Cipriani Miami" (dead link?). 

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