Tavern Chief Executive Jennifer Oz LeRoy blamed the filing on the financial crisis and New York City's decision to give the Tavern license to a new operator.
In a statement, LeRoy said the filing was "our only alternative given the current situation." She said the decision was the result of "two factors the extreme financial distress brought on by the current financial crisis and the City of New York's decision not to renew our license."
The new license was granted to Dean J. Poll, who runs the Central Park Boathouse restaurant.
The federal bankruptcy filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York lists 20 creditors, including $26,299 to Urbani Truffles in New York and $53,550 to Buckhead Beef in Atlanta.
Poll, who takes over Jan. 1, plans to renovate with green technology. The original building, which dates to the 19th century, housed sheep.
LeRoy's father, Warner, took over the Tavern in 1976. He died in 2001.