Midtown Bars & Nightlife

Establishment neighborhood
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.
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.
The Campbell
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.