Bar of the Week: The Empire Room

Donhae Koo

If you're like most New Yorkers, chances are you've already relegated the Empire State Building to the visor-fanny pack set. Well, never say never because the sparkling (literally) new Empire Room on the ground floor of the Empire State Building is finally open and ready to redefine "tourist trap." With its sleek Art Deco lines and ornamentation, the Empire Room provides a seamless transition from landmark viewing to swanky cocktailing, though the number of suits in the crowd attests to a non-tourist-friendly dress code. It's hard to believe the 3,500 square foot space once housed disgruntled postal workers, especially when you can now expect to be graciously served by hostesses in slinky kick-pleat dresses fingering jaunty strings of pearls and spit-shined bartenders shaking up a martini or two. Under the twinkle of chandeliers, with Sinatra crooning from the speakers, it just feels right. But the picture wouldn't be complete without the clinking of glasses, tinkle of ice, and an old school tipple in hand. Vintage offerings of note include the Bertha (tequila, grenadine, lime and grapefruit juices; $13.50), which lets the spirit shine through layers of tart and sweet, and the Clover Club ($13.50), which brings together gin and vermouth with raspberry liqueur, lime juice, and egg white. Small plates like truffled popcorn ($10) and rib eye sliders ($19) are available, but we personally wouldn't waste our time or money. But the next time mom and pop are in town and ready to see the sights, the Empire State Building may just make it to the top of our list.

Empire Room
350 Fifth Ave.
Murray Hill
(212) 643-5400

Photo courtesy of the
New York Times.

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