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May 16, 2012 10:30 AM

Classic Cocktails in Manhattan

Hi everyone-

My father is coming to visit me in Manhattan for the weekend and has requested a night at a classic NY cocktail bar. We're talking no-frills Manhattans/Martinis, a knowledgeable bartender and an old-fashioned NY decor. Not too worried about cost, but we don't need it to be stuffy either. It can also be a restaurant! Wondering if anyone has any ideas or favorites.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The bar at Monkey Bar might work. Good cocktails (list is done by Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club, Lani Kai), great decor. Might be a little loud due to the after work crowd, but a Saturday will probably be OK.

    Another good option would be the pub room at Keens Chophouse. Say hi to Miss Keens at the bar, and don't forget to peruse their amazing scotch list.

    See also:

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Also, although perhaps a bit dingier than lingonberry's father would like, the downstairs bar at Sardi's, with the redoubtable Jose behind the bar. Just don't eat there.

      Strong second for the bar at Keens.

      1. re: Sneakeater

        All great suggestions, thanks- the Times link is really helpful. Perhaps we'll do several. I'm sure he'd also love a classic dingier NY bar. And an amazing Scotch list!? How did you know?

        1. re: lingonberry

          If you can pry him from the Scotch list, tell your father that the Manhattans at Keens are really superb.

          1. re: Sneakeater

            Absolutely, he'll love that. Thanks!

      2. re: kathryn

        The Bar at Monkey Bar has always been packed to the rafters the several times I have been there recently. I only go because Ms. Franky Marshall is one of the best bartenders in the country. She won several competitions in the last week alone.

      3. I was at Union Square Cafe, and whilst not a bar (there is a bar there) the menu featured nicely classic Negroni's and Old fashiond's - which is important in my book.

        1. It's too bad the current bartenders at the King Cole Bar are so terrible.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sneakeater

            I was wondering why the King Cole wasn't mentioned. I am sorry to hear was my go-to after Cafe des Artiste died and when the Oak Bar was closed. I guess I'll have to settle for one of those caves on W 44th.

          2. Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle is, to me, the quintessential Manhattan bar. Art Deco decor -- brown leather banquettes, black granite bar, and a 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling -- with fabulous, whimsical murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the Madeline books illustrator...and of course all the classic cocktails. Just delightful!

            2 Replies
            1. re: City Kid

              Great atmosphere, okay drinks, ridiculous prices.

              1. re: Spiritchaser

                I wouldn't even call the drinks "OK".