Midtown Bars & Nightlife
The Rose Bar
2 Lexington Ave., Midtown
By night, the Rose Bar comes alive, often with the who’s who of New York’s music, art, and fashion scenes thanks to a packed roster of cultural events. But we love to dip into the blush-colored bar for a cocktail in the early afternoon, when the scene is more mellow. Sinking into those pink velvet seats and simply admiring the beautiful rosy décor after a long day running around the city is—in our book—a form of therapy. Walls are heavy with works from the twentieth century’s heavy hitters like Richard Prince, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and in the depths of a New York winter, when the limestone fireplace is lit, there is nowhere cozier for an afternoon cocktail.
Upstairs at the Kimberly
Kimberly Hotel, 145 E. 50th St., Midtown
With several distinct lounge spaces, the rooftop at the Kimberly Hotel, which is a full 30 stories above the street, has retractable glass walls and a glass ceiling that make it wonderful for all seasons. With a classica New York view of the Chrysler building (specially magical at night when the building is all lit up), it's an impressive place to bring out-of-town guests.
King Cole Bar
The St. Regis, 2 E. 55th St., Midtown
The St. Regis completed a major renovation back in 2013, an investment that included an overhaul of the hotel's famous King Cole Bar. The signature Max Parrish mural still hangs, 25-feet wide, across the back of the beautiful, old-world mahogany bar. Order a Bloody Mary—legend has it that long-time bartender Fernand Petiot invented the drink here back in the 1920s.
Salon de Ning
The Peninsula, 700 5th Ave., Midtown
Salon de Ning is a bit of a franchise for the Peninsula—there are bars by the same name in their Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Manila hotels as well. Like its sister restaurants across the Pacific, New York's version is decorated in a subtle Asian style, with potted bamboo trees and Chinese screens. The cocktails are pricey even by New York standards, but the Peninsula's exceptional service (including some very accommodating bartenders) more than makes up for the expense.
Refinery Hotel, 63 W. 38th St., Times Square
The Refinery Hotel in Bryant Park has a warm, industrial interior style—an aesthetic that's probably best exemplified by the stunning rooftop, decorated with wooden cupolas (complete with porch swings), round string lights, and plenty of plants and greenery. A retractable glass roof allows for ample open-air space in the summer, but fireplaces keep things cozy in the winter. Even from inside, there's a stunning, close-up view of the Empire State Building.
Bar 44 at The Royalton
44 W. 44th St., Times Square
Roman & Williams executed a beautiful refresh of Philippe Starck's iconic first hotel back in 2007, and it continues to exude their signature moody style, with dark woods, brass fixtures, and plenty of leather. It's great for after-work drinks when you actually need to hear the conversation.
MoMA, 9 W. 53rd St., Midtown
Aside from the Michelin starred dining experience—care of chef Gabriel Kreuther—we love coming here just for a drink at the bar, which is one of the city’s most elegant, as a long white marble slab punctuates the spectacular space. >>Photo: Ellen Silverman
Grand Central Terminal, 15 Vanderbilt Ave., Midtown
Warm, dimly-lit and super old-school, this looks like a place the guys would have taken their clients for a drink in Mad Men. It's often crowded, especially for the "after work" drinks crowd, but worth a visit for a taste of old New York. The space used to be a financier's office back in the 20's and retains that dignified feel. Being in Grand Central and not becoming a tourist trap isn't easy, but they've managed it. A recent renovation has also led to a relaxing of the formerly-strict dress code, but don't relax too much, this is New York after all and the Campbell is seriously elegant.
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