Keith McNally

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Keith McNally
Born1951 (age 71–72)
Known forRestaurant founder

Keith McNally (born 1951) is a British-born New York City restaurateur, the owner of several establishments including Parisian brasserie Balthazar, and formerly Nell's nightclub.

Personal life[edit]

McNally was born into a working-class family in Bethnal Green, London. He is the son of Joyce and Jack McNally. His father Jack was an amateur boxer and docker.[1] His brother, Brian McNally, is also a restaurateur in New York.[2] His first wife, Lynn Wagenknecht, is also a restaurateur.[2] One of his children (with Wagenknecht) is actress Isabelle McNally.[3]



McNally has been active in the New York City restaurant scene since the 1980s. In that time, he has opened several restaurants. These include Augustine, Balthazar, Cafe Luxembourg, Cherche Midi, Lucky Strike, Minetta Tavern, Morandi, Nell's, Odeon, Pastis, Pravda, Pulino's,[4] and Schiller's.[5] Frank Bruni awarded three stars to Minetta Tavern in 2009.[6] The New York Times has referred to him as "The Restaurateur Who Invented Downtown."[2]

In October 2022, McNally banned, unbanned, and rebanned James Corden from entering his restaurants after Corden had behaved rudely towards a server at one of the locations after receiving an improperly prepared order. Corden later apologized to McNally and on his late night show (but not to the server), after which McNally removed the ban. McNally then reinstated the ban after Corden did a pre-planned Vanity Fair interview in which he expressed his belief that he'd done nothing wrong.[7][8]


McNally was a member of the original London cast of Alan Bennett's play Forty Years On in 1968 playing the part of Macilwaine.


McNally has faced controversy on Twitter and in print for his ardent support on Instagram of Woody Allen in the aftermath of the documentary series Allen v. Farrow and his equally supportive posts about Ghislaine Maxwell.[9]


  1. ^ Jenkins, Allan (16 February 2013). "Just another quiet night out for Keith McNally". Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "The Restaurateur Who Invented Downtown - New York Times". The New York Times. 2004-01-18. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  3. ^ Barbuti, Angela (10 January 2014). "Isabelle McNally, Jonah Hill's Girlfriend: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  4. ^ Platt, Adam; critic, a features writer at New York who served for many years as the magazine’s. "Adam Platt on Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria -- New York Magazine Restaurant Review - Nymag". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2022-12-13.
  5. ^ Sifton, Sam (2010-05-04). "The Bowery Through Keith McNally's Lens -". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
  6. ^ Bruni, Frank (2009-05-19). "The Minetta Tavern Is Back -". The New York Times. Greenwich Village (NYC);New York City. Retrieved 2012-02-02.
  7. ^ "James Corden Banned from NYC Restaurant, Owner Says". Peoplemag. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  8. ^ Sharf, Zack (2022-10-18). "James Corden Unbanned from NYC's Balthazar After He 'Apologized Profusely,' Owner Says After Calling Him the 'Most Abusive Customer'". Variety. Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  9. ^ Askinasi, Rachel (May 7, 2021). "Patrons are turning against a famous restaurateur over his controversial Instagram posts about Ghislaine Maxwell". Retrieved May 7, 2021.