BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
What’s On… Lexington Avenue? (Between 48th and 50th Streets)
If walls could talk, rooms of the hotels looming above on Lexington Ave. here would speak of political figures, entertainers and artists alike. Joe Di Maggio and Marilyn Monroe called the Radisson home during his 18 seasons as a Yankee and presidents Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton were loyal customers at Intercontinental NY Barclay, making it their headquarters when in town. The famed Waldorf Astoria (whose backside shows on Lexington) housed presidents Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy, along with Henry Kissinger, Dwight D. Eisenhower and a slew of movie stars. So, next time you’re grabbing a drink in the hotel bar after work know that the residents above could be dreaming up ideas that will someday change the world.
On Lexington, where droves of the finance world working on Park like to visit after work, is hotel bar after hotel bar, which can get pretty daunting – unless of course you’re part of the string of hotels who realizes this and has capitalized fully on it. Below, the bars and restaurants that call Lexington Avenue home.
Barclay Bar and Grill (111 E 48 Street @ the Intercontinental NY Barclay)
Although the address says 48th Street, the Barclay Bar and Grill’s windows take up a large chunk of storefront space on Lex. Although the American menu choices are geared toward the hotel guests who dare not venture out for a meal, the bar offers a sophisticated sense of New York to guests and after work patrons alike – just try to ignore the “Big Apple” themed cocktails.
517 Lexington Avenue – Lexington Brass (@ the Hyatt)
The recently opened Lexington Brass’s nautical themed restaurant features a selection of seafood centered small plates and a raw bar. The comfortable atmosphere and laid back (but not slouchy) vibe make Lexington Brass a winner in this part of town. *Don’t forget to try the warm chocolate chip cookies for dessert!
525 Lexington Avenue - Shelton Grille AKA 525LEX (@ the Marriott)
The Shelton Grille pays homage to the building’s original tenant, the Shelton Hotel and is the sleepiest of the hotel bars on this block. Food is offered all day accompanied by a hefty price tag targeting hotel guests, so most agree 525LEX is best for grabbing an after work drink if you’re trying to avoid the crowds.
Bull and Bear (301 Park Avenue @ the Waldorf Astoria)
Another choice bearing its backside on Lexington, Bull and Bear offers a taste of old New York, sporting leather seating and mahogany dressings. Your meal at this steakhouse won’t come cheap and some say its past it’s prime, but no one can deny the grandeur of dining or grabbing a drink at the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
541 Lexington Avenue – Whiskey Blue (@ the W Hotel)
It’s always crowded, and a see and be seen type of place (however, what W isn’t?), but if you can grab a cozy booth along the wall lined with beautiful people or snag a seat at the bar, it’s easy to sip on their signature cocktails or a glass of whiskey and watch your tab add up. Just don’t let it go to your head!
Oscar’s (50th Street @ the Waldorf Astoria)
Another of the Waldorf Astoria’s finest, Oscar’s offers breakfast and lunch to those visiting or on a business luncheon. Buffet breakfast and lunches coupled with made to order menu items make this stop at the Waldorf feel a bit more casual if you can manage to ignore the $42 breakfast buffet.