Question about The Bar @ The Modern
My sister and I are having dinner next week, an all to rare occurrence. The challenge is always there to find some place where the food is good and interesting - but not too strange for her - AND it is quiet enough to talk. I made a reservation for The Bar @ The Modern for next week but I have no idea of what to expect. Is the sound level reasonable so that we can have a conversation? We don't need utter quiet but we'd like to avoid a din. Any dishes you'd especially recommend?
I went twice and both times were very different. The first time I went, in summertime, it was very subdued and not too crowded. My friend and I shared the salad, arctic char tartare, beef tartare and lamb. Everything was incredibly good, the service was also good and wines by the glass are not too expensive. The second time I went was on a weeked in January and it was full packed! I ate at the bar and was less impressed. The food was once again excellent but I would sit at a table if I would go back.
Have a great time!
The Bar Room at the Modern is quite loud. It can be hard to hear your companions if it is more than half full (it is often full for weekday lunch, weekend lunch, and weekend dinner). It is because there are a lot of reflective surfaces, straight and hard lines, etc. I love the food there but if you want it quiet enough to talk, I would avoid it, especially on a weekend night.
We've been there many times and my wife and I like to converse. The Bar Room at the Modern provides the ambiance for you to have a conversation without straining. The tables are spaced out sufficiently. It is appropriately lively, but that's fine and it will not intrude into your conversation.
In regards to the food, there's more than enough in the menu that are good to excellent. The Onion tarte dish is popular and deservingly so. Try the choucroute, if offered. The beignet dessert is also deserving of its popularity.
Each time we've been there the atmosphere has been lively, but the acoustics are such that we are able to have a normal conversation without yelling or straining to hear. All around a great room.
And for what it's worth, the bar room is a bit separate from the bar where it can get a little noisier. While the two share the same space, the room is big enough, and the design is well done so that you never get the sense you are eating in a bar area (which is the case at many other restaurants that have bar seating).
Hope this helps... Enjoy!
My experiences at The Bar @ The Modern were much more in line with kathryn's. They were loud because the room was full and I did have trouble conducting conversations. The service was spotty (probably because of the packed room) which was surprising to me given that it belonged to Danny Meyer. I stopped going there due to the noise and service factors, albeit delicious food.
For similar caliber of food and price point and better service + noise level, I go to Maze at the London Hotel more often these days when I am in the neighborhood.
How loud it is in the Modern Bar really depends on time of day and where you sit. During off hours (I'd say before about 6 p.m.), all four areas -- bar, low tables behind the bar, lounge chairs near the bathroom, and regular tables in the Bar Room are all quiet enough for normal conversation. When things get busier and the room is full, conversation can still be more or less normal volume while seated at the regular tables, but the sound level while sitting in the other three areas of the room are pretty darn loud, as Kathryn and others pointed out.
A better option than any in the Bar Room would be the Modern Dining Room which is always a manageable volume and serves even better food than the Bar Room in preparations that are probably more accessible to not-so-adventurous diners. I have been going frequently for years and never had bad service in the Dining Room. (It is true as Kobe says that it can be hard to catch a wait person's attention in the Bar Room, especially if you are not at one of the regular tables.)