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The Carlyle Hotel, 35 E. 76th St., nr. Madison Ave. (Upper East Side)
New York, NY
(1) 212-744-1600 | www.thecarlyle.com
AMBIANCEOld New York
HOURSMon.-Fri.: 12:00pm-11:30pm; Sat.-Sun.: 12:00pm-12:30am
DOOR POLICYRelaxed, but must be appropriately attired
PRICE (COCKTAIL)USD 20-25
YEAR OPENED1930 (renovated in 2002)
SIGNATURE DRINKClassic cocktails
BARYes - black granite bar
FOOD SERVED?Yes - lunch; light dinner; bar snacks
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?No
SUBWAY77th St. (6)
This swanky 1930s piano bar in The Carlyle pairs classic ritz (think: gold-plated ceilings and plush carpets) with quirky New York charm, thanks to whimsical hand-painted murals of Central Park by Madeline author Ludwig Bemelmans. Virtuosos tickle the ivories while well-heeled clientele sink into the deep leather banquettes for discreet chitchat and perfectly mixed classic cocktails served by well-mannered waiters.
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
Cocktail dress and classic heels.
GO HERE WITH
A date; parents; clients or colleagues
A mature mix of New Yorkers, expense accounters, and couples looking for romance.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Perfect spot for wooing clients or having a quintessential “old New York” style date. And, of course, the witty imagery in the Bemelmans mural is a must-see (and a great conversation starter).
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
It’s “re-mortgage the house” pricey. (Though we comfort ourselves with the fact that it’s still quite a bit more affordable than Café Carlyle across the lobby, and most agree the drinks here are better, too.)
GOOD TO KNOW
There’s a cover charge after 9:00pm Sunday and Monday and after 9:30pm Tuesday through Saturday. Though Bemelmans is best known for his Madeline books, he was also an illustrator for many high-profile publications like The New Yorker and Vogue. The mural in the bar is the only surviving example of his large-scale artwork that is available to the public. A fun fact for Carlyle history buffs: when Bemelmans painted the mural in bar, he forfeited payment in exchange for 18 months of free accommodation for his family at the hotel.
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