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Hotel Elysée, 60 E. 54th St., nr. Park Ave. (Midtown East)
New York, NY
(1) 212-288-1010 | monkeybarnewyork.com
AMBIANCEJazz Age Chic
HOURSMon.-Fri.: 11:30am-12:00am; Sat.: 5:00pm-12:00am; Sun.: Closed
RESERVATIONSNot accepted for the bar
DOOR POLICYRelaxed, but can be difficult to get a seat at peak times
PRICE (GLASS OF WINE)USD 12-17
YEAR OPENED1936 (renovated in 2009)
SIGNATURE DRINKWine; champagne; classic cocktails
BARYes - restored 1930s bar backed by legendary monkey murals
FOOD SERVED?Yes - New American lunch, dinner, and dessert
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?No - but private functions can be accommodated
SUBWAY5th Ave.-53rd St. (E, M); 51st St. (6); Lexington Ave.-53rd St. (E, M)
Monkey Bar was already steeped in swinging Jazz Age history when Vanity Fair editor Grayson Carter (partnered with a cohort of high profile restauranteurs and hoteliers) swooped in circa 2009, restored the lush interiors, and ramped up the fashion factor, making it a swanky vintage hangout for the Midtown A-list set. The focus remains on that rich history: legendary images of saucy monkeys still circle the bar, the red leather banquettes evoke the original décor, and the cocktail menu sticks to the classics, while recently commissioned murals by illustrator Ed Sorel recall the 1930s greats who once knocked back drinks here, like Condé Nast, Isadora Duncan, and Babe Ruth.
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
A chic, vintage inspired dress and heels.
GO HERE WITH
A date; colleagues or clients; scene-seeking friends
Back in the (mid 20th century) day, sharp suited Mad Ave advertising execs drank here alongside colorful residents of Hotel Elysée like Tallulah Bankhead. Since Grayson Carter’s revamp, high profile media, film, and political figures mingle with Midtowners looking for a place to unwind.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Cocktail swilling at Monkey Bar is a classic NYC experience–we particularly dig the tastefully restored vintage digs and the stylish crowd.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The bar food is fine, but not outstanding.
GOOD TO KNOW
The Hotel Elysée, which houses Monkey Bar, is where Tennessee Williams met his untimely and mysterious death after allegedly choking on an eye dropper. There’s also a full restaurant at Monkey Bar, in case you’re looking to enjoy a meal.
Bemelmans Bar (New York)
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