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Classic Cocktail Bar/Lounge...

Thanks for everyone's help in the other thread, it was very much appreciated... this one may be a bit of a long shot though!

I'm looking for a "classic cocktail" bar-lounge to sit and stir a glass of rye or single malt scotch with atmosphere in and around Manhattan. ie. Haute/Hipster-free with no pretentions!

1940-50's Manhattan style time warp... or anywhere that I can get a first-rate martini with retro decor/ambience in the city!!

Does such a place exist? Hotel bar maybe?

Thanks!

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  1. For whiskey, brandy and yes even great martinis you can go to Brandy Library on N. Moore in Tribeca; they have never let me down and it is a great atmosphere. There is never an overcrowding as they do not let anyone stand. I have never had a problem nor a complaint here.

    In addition, for the vibe you described, Flatiron Lounge would hit the spot. I would steer clear on Fri and Sat evenings; weeknights post happy hour would be best.

    -----
    Flatiron Lounge
    37 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

    Brandy Library
    25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

    4 Replies
    1. re: jacquelines

      Wow, Brandy Library looks perfect.. I love it!!

      Just a question: Would it be suited to latenight post-dining walk-in for cocktails or is it more of a sit-down adv. reservations spot and would 20-somethings seem out of place? What's the attitude like here? Is it accommodating for those not ordering exorbitantly priced drinks, rather swilling cocktails and chatting intimately... or is the service/attitude on the agressive side? Do they stay open late?

      Thanks very much!

      1. re: OliverB

        Brandy Library is totally chill. Granted I've usually been on Thursday nights, but I've never seen it packed, and Tribeca empties out for summer weekends so you'll be fine. They have never rushed me out, I often spend 45 minutes nursing a Chartreuse and they are always cool about it. They stay open til 2am I think, but it's worth calling ahead with the reservations/last call questions.

        Also try Pegu Club.

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        Pegu Club
        77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

        Brandy Library
        25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: picklesister

          Pegu Club is excellent but they get slammed on weekend nights with a line out the door. Their focus is also more on cocktails.

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          Pegu Club
          77 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012

        2. re: OliverB

          I've always found Brandy Library's staff to be approachable and friendly. 20-somethings would not seem out of place. Haven't been impressed by the cocktails there but their brandy, scotch, whisky, etc. lists are great, especially if you order a tasting flight (get the gougeres as well). They're open until 4am on weekends If you get there too late sans reservation, though, they might be full already, so make a reservation just in case.

          Reservations policy & hours are here:
          http://www.brandylibrary.com/sections...

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          Brandy Library
          25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

      2. Raines Law Room
        http://www.raineslawroom.com/

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        Raines Law Room
        48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

        1 Reply
        1. re: chow_gal

          Thanks to both of you... a friend just hipped me to Raines and this is definitely where we'll be! It looks fantastic!!

          Back to Brandy for a moments... would we expect to find ourselves surrounded by yuppie wall street executive types on a late 1am Thursday night?

          Thanks again!

        2. Oops, I read this as non-hip 40s - 50s, in other words midtown!

          My midtown suggestion would be the oyster bar at Oyster Bar in Grand Central Terminal. Enjoy your rye while watching the master shuckers, and slurp down some oysters off their raw bar menu under the Guastavino arched ceilings. I recommend trying a few different oysters, including whatever giant oysters are on the menu.

          I've never actually had a drink there, but the Campbell Apartment is stunning. There is absolutely nothing hip about the crowd there, and the night I went by, it seemed like a post-sorority crowd.

          The Algonquin Hotel has a nice lobby bar, with a great history, and it's never been crowded when I've been there.

          For hip joints, I enjoyed the heck out of Milk & Honey, one of the first establishments of the faux speakeasy wave, but admittedly that was a few years ago.

          -----
          Campbell Apartment
          89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

          7 Replies
          1. re: flower_puppy

            Oliver B posted in another thread and non-hip, midtown, older crowd is not what he and his date are looking for. But Milk and Honey is a good idea.

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            Milk and Honey
            134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

            1. re: chow_gal

              I'd feel weird going to Milk and Honey and asking for something neat. Their focus is on bespoke, individually customized cocktails, and it's a small place.

              -----
              Milk and Honey
              134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

              1. re: chow_gal

                That totally makes sense. I'm still confused about what "Haute/hipster-free" means.

                1. re: flower_puppy

                  "haute/hipster-free" just means I'm not looking for a "fashion scene" with loud music and flocks of skinny jeaned twenty-somethings from Williamsburg, nor the polar opposite ie. designer decked socialites and wall-street types. Something completely unpretentious and a slice of old school retro Manhattan. I really like the look of Raines speakeasy.. seems like my kind of place!

                  Btw, we'll be down for an entire week and spending most of our time with friends in Brooklyn and the East Village eating on a much more meager budget at mostly neighborhood spots with a group, so it's just this one particular night that I'd like to live it up and plan something special. Hence my being so specific about what I'm after... she's leaving town for a couple of months when we get back and I have special plans for this night to celebrate. Thanks for all of your help though!

                  1. re: OliverB

                    Campbell apartment and Raines Law Room I will second; though Raines Law Room is a bit more "hip" (though not filled with hipsters-it's just that it is definitely part of the big speakeasy craze)

                    Another spot is Bar Central-classic cocktails only, hidden away along Restaurant Row (about the only reason to head in that direction for food/drink) above Joe Allen Steakhouse. It gets much busier after Broadway lets out. Nice selection of scotch.

                    A spot that I have not been but have been meaning to try is Lexington Bar and Books or one of its brethren (I think there are 3 in total) Reportedly an excellent spot for drinks (especially a nice scotch) with 1940s-style, but warning is that it is a smoking establishment as it is also a cigar bar. There is a dress code in the manner of an old-style mens club, so men must have jackets.

                    -----
                    Joe Allen
                    326 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

                    Lexington Bar and Books
                    1020 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021

                    Raines Law Room
                    48 W 17th St, New York, NY 10011

                    1. re: OliverB

                      Dude, if you eliminate "flocks of skinny jeaned twenty-somethings from Williamsburg, nor the polar opposite ie. designer decked socialites and wall-street types." ....you eliminate 99% of the population up after midnight...

                      1. re: Cpalms

                        It's funny 'cause it's true! The rest of us are at home, drinking cava and playing board games.

              2. BTW, these discussions about where to drink scotch might be interesting for you:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/667780
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/637547

                1. I'd suggest Keen's Steakhouse bar.

                  PJ Clarke's is also great, but it does get crowded.

                  1. what about the Apartment in Grand Central. Very cool.

                    1. Thanks for all the help and suggestions... one question about Campbell Apartment: does it get busy and crowded after twelve or is Grand Central dead at this hour? What's the afterhours scene here?

                      -----
                      Campbell Apartment
                      89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: OliverB

                        Campbell Apartment can be pretty dead late on a weeknight (is it even open?) Plus it gets a real bridge & tunnel crowd...it's not what you're looking for Oliver.

                        Brandy Library is a good choice, but it's not really an "old New York" vibe. But it's very civilized and pleasant, I like the service.

                        I also really like the bar at Eleven Madison Park - the space is gorgeous, art deco, and the martinis are classic and expertly executed.

                        You could always do the King Cole Bar at the St Regis Hotel...doesn't get more classic NY than that.

                        -----
                        Eleven Madison Park
                        11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

                        Brandy Library
                        25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

                        Campbell Apartment
                        89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                        King Cole Bar
                        2 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

                        1. re: OliverB

                          I just had another idea...how about the 21 Club?

                          -----
                          21 Club
                          21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                            Thanks a lot, I love the bar at the St Regis but it's a haul from the East Village and probably not right for this particular night. I'd go myself in a heartbeat and will surely find my way over at some point during our stay on this trip. We'll be spending a full day at the Lincoln Center for a weekend event, so we'll probably make a few midtown stops on the way!

                            As for 21... I absolutely love old supper clubs but not sure it's best suited for a lone couple at 1am, don't think my girl would be as into this. We might head over to Library after Kyo Ya for a couple of spirits and then back towards Battery Park and the High Line to pop open some sparkling wine under the skyline and stars before swinging back to our hotel.

                            Thanks again for the great recs!

                            1. re: OliverB

                              If you're in the East Village you should consider the Summit on C.

                              1. re: bookhound

                                I was curious about the Summit. Would we need reservations there?

                                1. re: Nancy S.

                                  I've never been on the really popular hours and nights but my guess is no unless you plan on going at 10 pm on Saturday but I think you can walk right in most nights. I live in the neighborhood and I should really go more often but I already have my steady stable of bars.

                              2. re: OliverB

                                If you want to stay downtown then Brandy Library is a great choice...

                                FYI 21 Club is not just a "supper club" the downstairs is a bar/lounge...also very civilized.

                                -----
                                21 Club
                                21 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019

                                Brandy Library
                                25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

                          2. Campbell Apartments, Algonquin, Carlyle, and a few other hotels will give you nice old rooms and good drinks....but we're talking $16-22 for a drink, just to warn you. Campbell would be the best choice from the sounds of it, but keep in mind they specialize in punch drinks, and most people go for the room. It gets an after work crowd and then clears out. Best to check their hours.

                            After that, you have the Brandy Library, and Lexington Bar and Books type places that offer leather armchairs. Hudson Hotel's library room is another, but all of these will either be dead or filled with a hipster of a different sort. Also, look into Schulbred's.

                            Then you have the new generation mixologist places who will happily serve you up any drink you want.

                            I'm going to go in a different direction, and suggest Lillie's in the Flatiron, near Union Square, which is an irish bar inside of an ornate room, or Walkers which is one of the oldest bars in the city. They make a good martini. Old Town Bar is another old timer with separate booths, and no thrills drinks. There's also Ear Inn, but now we're getting progressively into the old dive bar territory. White Horse Tavern is another.

                            In the East Village, you can try the newly opened Ninth Ward.

                            -----
                            White Horse Tavern
                            567 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014

                            Brandy Library
                            25 N Moore St, New York, NY 10013

                            Campbell Apartment
                            89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

                            Ear Inn
                            326 Spring St, New York, NY 10013

                            Lexington Bar and Books
                            1020 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021

                            Ninth Ward
                            180 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003