First Peek Oak Long Bar & Kitchen (FKA Oak Bar at Copley Plaza Hotel)
Stopped by for a drink last night.
They have combined the spaces of the former bar and restaurant into one large room.
Although they have kept the beautiful architectural details, they have lighten the space considerably. There are now 3 entrances, much more light from the street, lightened up the wood paneling etc. I'm sure there will be some folks who will miss the coziness of the old space, but I found it to be attractive and comfortable.
The bar is much larger, stretching front to back, with sizable bar chairs , so you will not be crowded against the person next to you. The old bar area still has many seating areas for cocktails and the back half is set up for dining.
A new wood fired grill dominates the bar and produces flatbreads -- with toppings ordered off the menu, and as a cracker served with your drinks. The cracker snack is tasty, but a bit of a small snack compared to the nuts they used to bring you. As a menu item, it is a nice option for a light app with your cocktail. There were also charcuterie plates as a good snack option. As for the rest of the menu, it seems like they just slightly brightened up the old menu. There was a good looking beet salad, hearth roasted lobster seemed appealing. Many expected standards available as well -- burger, steak, lamb chop roast chicken. (menu is online)
The martini-styled cocktails are as large as ever and are still served with 1/2 of the drink in a carafe on the side. The only change is a more contemporary ice bucket. Wines by the glass are mostly in the $10-15 range.
Staff was extremely attentive. Referencing a recent thread, this IS definitely a place you can have a drink and not be pressured into eating dinner at the bar.
I'll definitely be back to try the food from the wood fired grill.
I don't know; I thought the old Oak Room had gotten pretty tired and not very special for the money beyond the atmosphere. They clearly made a decision to go for a younger audience, and the physical makeover is pretty easy to take: they kept a lot of the nice old details. The prices still carry a hotel dining room premium, but I've enjoyed the few small plates I've had so far. Bartending is solid if not particularly crafty, cocktails much less expensive on average (though they still have the deluxe $18 Martini service), and the wine list went in a much more affordable direction, too.
re: MC Slim JB
I enjoyed the Saturday lunch I had recently, starting with the martini "service" at the bar by personable bar pro Alejandro. Bitters selection was limited to Angostura and orange, so I had orange in my "kinda wet" libation with a lemon twist: it was outstanding. (I am sorely tempted to "gift" the bar with celery bitters, which would make a more vegetal martini as would be my preference before a meal.) I love the martini "service" at the Copley Plaza.
My meal consisted of 3 exquisite Oysters Rockefeller (roasted supposedly in their blazing hearth, on a kosher salt bed) and the steak salad, which was artfully composed, with steak done exactly to medium-rare specs. Very tasty. Though the tariff was larger than I would have liked I thought the food and drink were top-notch. A bit more variety on the lunch menu would have been welcome, but I was pleased with my choices and I do sincerely praise the staff for their excellent service.
I stopped for a drink looking forward to see what they did with such beautiful space, high ceilings, lots of light from the windows. I was very disappointed, a mismatch of the old with the new. Clashing colors and designs.
And the stuff, although friendly, were dressed and behaved like they were working in a diner in the early morning hours.
Cocktail was ok and although I didn't eat, my companions said that the food was ok but uneventful.
Will not go back
I was devastated to learn of the closing of the Oak Room. Eating at that restaurant was a chance to step back in time and be treated to a truly magical experience. I used to go every year for my anniversary and was looking forward to dinner this year as well. If anyone knows what happened to the old wait staff I would love to see if Pasquale found another job. I saw some pictures of the renovations and took a peak at the menu and can safely say I won't be going.