Lately I've been writing a lot about restaurants in Landmark-protected buildings. Historical sites are fantastic for restaurants, because they come equipped with a natural sense of history and ambience that is really difficult, and expensive, to fake. The down side to that, however, is that the Landmarks Protection and Preservation Commission is extremely dedicated to keeping these spaces as they are, and they can be tough about letting restaurateurs change things like lighting and fixtures.
New York Magazine's design editor, Wendy Goodman, discovered that the Ace Hotel in New York found a clever way to get around the problem by installing hanging lamps that ring the space's columns without actually touching them.
While we're on the subject of Landmarks, another benefit to landmark status is that your insurance is required to replace everything exactly as it was in case of a fire or other emergency. Without Landmark status, an insurer can, and probably will, argue that there is no need to replace a 19th-century tin roof with another tin roof, when something modern and cheaper would do just as well.
For more landmark restaurants, see also:
The Oak Room