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Wilfrid

New York Upscale (and would-be) Bars

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I think I should review the kinds of bars nobody cares about.

 

21 Club Not the classic semi-circular bar in the dining room (which is a joy, but standing only); the “new” bar just as you turn into the lounge. Excellent classic martini. Seasoned bartender who had worked a lot of places, knew his history, and could tell some stories. Theoretically jackets for gents, but not if you’re a friend of the house.

 

Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Spotless, comfortable, very good martini. Service excellent, almost too much. Good snacks.

 

Old King Cole You have to be lucky to get a seat at this bar (I stopped trying for years). If you do, good drinks, first rate complimentary nuts (etc). The bartenders here have been around the block; ironic but solicitous.

 

Lamb’s Club Upstairs. The entrance and greeting are grand, but the second floor is so capacious, there’s no atmosphere even when people are dining there. No conversation with bartender, no snacks, competent drink.

 

Blue Room at the Algonquin Swift service from hotel staff. Martini big, but not cold. The ambience ruined by these really piercing blue lights embedded in the bar.

 

The Rickey at the Dream Midtown. Nice ambience early evening, and bar staff trying to create a downtown mixologist vibe. Good drinks, but signs clearly warning of DJs later in the evening.

 

Bar Pleiades adjacent Cafe Boulud. Good drinks and top level service, professional, personable, even funny. Zero atmosphere.

 

Every place mentioned had comfortable bar seating, Blue Room seats a little low (@ Attaboy).

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The stools at the Ludlow Hotel’s bar look gorgeous, but they’re not comfortable. Bartenders are harried because they’re making drinks for the whole big lobby area.

 

No snacks.

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I want to see Sneak's equivalents [presumably because many of them would be Downtown?].  :P

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I used to love going to the King Cole Bar, especially when I wasn't paying. Then about six years ago a bartender fixed me a red snapper for my first time guest and he didn't shake the (presumably) home made mix that was housed in a plastic bottle he was about to add to the vodka so all the spices were at the bottom. The roll of the eye I received when I brought it to their attention made it clear that it was not a place I'd be spending any more of my (or anyone else's) money.

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