Vino/Cocktails in Midtown West/Hell's Kitchen
Looking to have some drinks with a friend/colleague, and we are both staying in the west 40s. Trying to avoid Theatre District cheesiness. Preferably somewhere tasteful and elegant, but not noisy, trendy, distracting. We are both chefs and love great vino and imaginative cocktails...
Is Kemia Bar (44th off 9th) still open? Can't vouch for the wine selection, but the cocktails are imaginative. For wine and beer, maybe Single Room Occupancy (53rd btw 8th and 9th)? SRO is hidden, so look for the blue light (middle of the block, south side of the street) and ring the doorbell. I don't, however, believe SRO serves mixed drinks.
Would you consider the West 50s???? So many great places. On warmer nights, the Pentop (rooftop) bar of the Peninsula hotel is great. Sitting outside with a nice view is a nice bonus. The inside bar however feels rather dated-hotel-like. But great, albeit pricey, drinks.
The upper lobby of the Chambers Hotel is very nice for quiet drinks. The have a bar on the lower level that I've never been to, but it seems cramped and loud. Upstairs however you can just sit on chairs/couches, and a waitperson will come over and take your drink order. It's nice and quiet and relaxing.
I recently passed by what I think is a new, upscale hotel called The London. From what I could see of the bar and its patrons, it looked very sophisticated. Not "after-work" types, not "scene/hipster" types, but what looked like more discreet/sophisticated types.
Oh, I just thought of another GREAT place. There is a restaurant at the bottom of Central Park (I never know if that's called 59th Street and/or Central Park South?) Anyway, if you are at Columbus Circle and begin to walk East, on the SOUTH side of 59th Street/Central Park South, on that first block you will pass a restaurant called San Domenico. It has "white strings" for curtains, and a revolving door entrance. They have a very tiny, intimate bar that seats about 10. The one bartender is phenomenal. He was in GQ magazine this past year I think, as one of NY's best. He takes REAL good care of you. If you order a glass of wine, he'll top you off with a second. If you are curious about all the grappa bottles on the top shelf, he'll take a few down and give you samples. Sometimes it can be a "bit" crowded for its size, and you may have to stand. But it's never "loud" either. People are usually quite friendly there.
Sortie for good cocktails. (51st between 8th and 9th)
Riposo for cutest wine bar ever (great snacks too, 46th and 9th)
Perdition, 10th ave. between 48th & 49th has a good variety of specialty cocktails and a nice vibe.
The wine store on 9th ave and... 46th? opened a wine and beer bar next door that has a cool vibe. On the west side of 9th ave. A few doors down, there is a small but cool-looking Italian small plates place. Never been to either, but on my list.
You could also try the Japanese dessert place that recently opened - I think they make unique cocktails too. 9th and... 51st or so?
SRO is really cool space. Only in NYC. Pretty good Belgian beer selection. Try the wine before they pour you a glass though.
Head up to the Hudson Hotel on w58th if you want stylish. The Library Bar there is a favorite of mine.