Crowd Pleaser: Bar 65 Where Are You?
Classic, Art Deco, Roof Top Bar at Rockefeller Center
Over the holidays I had an opportunity to meet with friends at Bar 65 atop Rockefeller Center in Midtown. It's a classic meeting destination, particularly if you're hosting friends from out-of-town as the Manhattan rooftop view is unbeatable. You can get in without reservations, but during the holidays it's highly recommended you don't leave things to chance, and the reservations will also save you a wait in line.
The photo at right shows the breathtaking views provided by Bar 65, the rooftop bar and restaurant at Rockefeller Center.
The bar is located on the 65th floor at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which is on 49th Street between 6th and 5th Avenues in Manhattan. The bar is also located across from the world famous Rainbow Room which first opened in 1934 shortly after the repeal of the Prohibition. The Rainbow Room is now mostly used as an event space, as it was landmarked in 2012, and carefully remodeled / restored around that same time. Between the Bar 65 and the Rainbow Room, there is a third location, which is a long bar looking south over Midtown Manhattan.
Interior Design magazine compared the rooftop complex configuration to the old fashioned elegance of luxury ship, like the Titanic, over a century ago. The restaurant and dance floor are located at the fore of the ship, the gallery looking south in the middle and the Bar 65 in the rear.
The whole complex is beautifully designed reflecting the height of 20th century, modern, art deco style. The 1936 film Swing Time, considered Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers finest, was set in part at a club modeled after the Rainbow Room. The room is two stories high, with multiple levels, floor-to-ceiling windows and a revolving dance floor.
The photo at right shows the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center which is now used exclusively to host private events.
Meanwhile, back along the west side of Rockefeller Center is Bar 65 which is a private dining club during the day, and open to the public as a bar at night. Although Bar 65 doesn't match the elegance of the Rainbow Room [few places in the entire world do], it also has high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, inset lighting and stunning views. There's a door at the south end of the bar / restaurant where you can walk outside to enjoy the view and take photos.
The night I was there, the service was quite good, even though it was the week before Christmas and bustling with tourists. We enjoyed a bottle of wine, along with some Crispy Chicken Sliders, Braised Beef Short Rib Sliders and Roasted Artichoke Hearts and Lemon Hollandaise. The appetizers which we split cost just under $20 apiece and the bottles of wine was about $60, plus gratuity.
The sliders were done with some culinary panache that augmented the sense of excitement of being at the Top of the Rock. The Chicken Slider was made with succulent pieces of chicken covered with bacon and lime-chili mayonnaise. The Braised Beef Short Rib Sliders may have even been better as they included a mouth-watering serving of short rib beef flavored with a horseradish sauce and pickled green tomatoes. The artichoke hearts were good, but the least surprising.
The photo on your right shows the Beef Short Rib Sliders and the Artichoke Hearts at Bar 65 atop Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan.
And then there were the views ... on all sides, save the bar behind which were the elevator banks and the Rainbow Room. But we could see south the whole length of Manhattan, glistening with jeweled lights, and north to Central Park and down 65 stories to the streets of Manhattan.
It's a great place to spend a bit of time, feeling like you're on top of the world ... because in a sense you are.
Flatiron District: Le Coq French Restaurant
Midtown French Restaurant has become a Crowd-pleaser
I took a trip into the Flatiron District just after the July 4th holiday to try out a new French restaurant that came recommended by friends. I arrived a bit late and my table had been seated in the main room in the back of the restaurant.
As I walked past the long modern bar to my left, I found myself tempted by its airy openness and ambiance as the front of the restaurant opens onto the street and the ceilings are in the neighborhood of 12 feet high. Just past the bar, along to my right there were bottles upon bottles of refrigerated champagnes. Hmm.
In the main room there were between a dozen or two tables. Some of the tables for couples were set in front of the walled booth-like benches, which were arranged next to one another. There were round tables for larger groups and families in the middle of the room, and an alcove containing a couple of tables set away from it all. The lighting was well done, with the inset lights on the ceiling radiating a quiet ambient light, supplemented by accent lighting on the ceiling that provided ample light on the table.
My party had already begun ordering, so in an attempt to be a good, but late guest, I went along, to get along.
St Pat's Day Bars, Restaurants and Historic & Irish Pubs in Manhattan
Historic Manhattan St Pat's Day Pubs, Irish Bars & Restaurants On St. Patrick's Day In NYC, UES, UWS, Midtown & Village
St. Patrick’s Day is upon us once again and it’s time for one and all, regardless of genetic history, to don their green clothing and head out to the Irish bars for a pint of ale or to the Irish restaurants for some down home Irish fare … or something like that.
This report is about some of the Manhattan Irish bars and restaurants that have survived the test of time, and likely a might bit … more. The Irish pubs include Irish bars and restaurants from the Upper East Side [UES], the Upper West Side [UWS], Midtown Manhattan as well as the East Village, as McSorley's remains not just a pub, but a good piece of history.
Click here to read our report about the St Pat's Day Bars, Irish Pubs & Restaurants in Manhattan NYC.
Valentine's Day Restaurants In Manhattan
UPDATED FOR COVID - Manhattan Romantic Restaurants For Valentines Day in Manhattan on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, East Village, West Village, SoHo, Tribeca & the Lower East Side
UPDATED 2/12/21 - Editor's Note: Previously indoor dining was to resume in NYC on Sunday, February 14th, 2021, Valentine's Day. The Governor moved up the date to Friday, February 12th, so restaurants that may have sold out on Sunday, likely have indoor dining openings over the weekend. This report provides an update on who's open and taking reservations, but also highlights quite a number of local restaurant closures.
Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away. It's a good time to let your loved one know you care. Flowers, gifts and dinner are always welcome treats, and / or some thoughtful gesture that shows that the lady [or man] you're with still means a lot to you.
This year it's especially important to make restaurant reservations early as restaurants first open for indoor dining at 25% capacity on Friday, February 12th, 2021. And given Valentine's Day is on a weekend, it may be challenging unless you make your reservation now. But that said, restaurants also have outside dining capacity - so depending on the weather - you may have some luck the weekend of Valentine's Day. So if you're thinking about doing something this Valentine's Day for dinner on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown or East Village; it's best to do your research early, and call a week or at least a few days ahead to make the reservations.
Valentine's Day History - Romantic Restaurants In Manhattan
The origins of Valentine's Day are not well documented. It's believed to have been named after Saint Valentine who was apparently a Catholic martyr who died over 1500 years ago. Today the holiday is not associated with religion so much as flowers, candies, cards and romantic dinners. And the holiday spokesperson is now Cupid, a Roman god of desire, and quite a mischief maker.
UPDATED FOR COVID. Click this link to view a brief guide of Manhattan Valentine's Day restaurants - Manhattan NYC where you will find links to Manhattan restaurants we've visited in the past or have reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines. Enjoy.
Manhattan New Years Parties & Restaurants 2021 / 2022 NYC
New Years Parties & Restaurants on the Upper East Side UES, Midtown, West & East Village, Upper West Side UWS, SoHo, Tribeca & Downtown in Manhattan NYC
December 18, 2021 / Manhattan New Years Eve Parties & Restaurants NYC / Manhattan Buzz NYC.
As happens every year, there will be a number of great New Years parties in Manhattan preceding and following the dropping of the ball at Times Square.
New Years Eve occurs on a Friday this year. While New Years Eve is one big party, it's important to keep in mind, that like St. Patrick's Day, all the amateurs come out to play [it's not just the Irish who are out drinking on St. Patrick's Day]. So some measure of caution is advised and you have to be careful.
This year we also have the lingering effects of the pandemic to contend with, and a mandatory mask mandate goes into effect in NYC and NYS from December 13, 2021 until January 15, 2022 - at which time it will be re-evaluated. An early rsvp is highly recommended given the environment.
The following are a number of different New Years restaurants in Manhattan NYC where you might consider booking a reservation.
Click here for Manhattan New Year Parties - Manhattan NYC.
Indian Restaurants in Manhattan Midtown
Curry in a Hurry Delivers Sumptuous Meals for the Budget Diner
I made my way up from the 28th Street & Park Avenue subway on a warm November evening. I was running a bit late to meet a friend for a quick bite to eat at Curry in a Hurry. Curry in a Hurry is an Indian restaurant located only one block east of Park Avenue on Lexington Avenue at 28th Street.
My friend was waiting outside, enjoying the quirky ambiance of the 49 year-old restaurant [opened in 1976]. We had both spent time traveling in India [separately] and Curry in a Hurry is a restaurant, which still emanates a late 20th century Indian vibe. The exterior, as mentioned, is a bit unique and quietly & visually tells passerbys that what awaits inside, is a trip to south Asia. Curry in a Hurry is shown in the photo at right.
Curry in a Hurry Indian Restaurant Midtown Manhattan NYC
We entered the restaurant for the first time in many, many years. I had moved out of the Gramercy Park neighborhood nearly 15 years ago, and it might possibly have been that long ago since either of us had visited the restaurant. In fact, while scheduling the get-together, neither of us was sure whether Curry in a Hurry would still be there, given how quickly things had been changing in Manhattan … but like the flag that still stood at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 - made legendary by Francis Scott Key’s dedication in the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ – Curry in a Hurry was still standing.
As if walking through a time warp, we entered facing the counter, where a cafeteria style selection of Indian dishes was laid out before us [see photo at right]. The aromatic culinary flavors of India wafted in the air while behind the counter stood a couple of Indian men ready to serve up the delicacies of our choosing. They don’t call it Curry in a Hurry for nothing because the servers are ready to go ...
Click here to read the rest of the story including photos of one of the leading budget Indian restaurants in Manhattan NYC.
Taste of Gramercy Hits The Spot
Taste of Gramercy Showcases Gramercy Park Neighborhood Restaurants
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon as I made my way up Irving Place to the Taste of Gramercy Park. Irving Place had been cordoned off between 17th and 18th streets and there were a number of food tents, tables and bar stools situated in the midst of the blocked street to let attendees sit while tasting the delicious morsels served by restaurants from the surrounding Gramercy neighborhood.
I began visiting each of the booths, surveying their goods and sampling some of them. Chef Brando De Oliveira is shown in the photo at right standing in front of a collection of Florian's famous short rib meatballs.
We'll post more about the Taste of Gramercy later tonight.
Bryant Park Grill, Cafe & Restaurant
Lunch At The Bryant Park Cafe In Midtown Manhattan
It was a beautiful day in early June as I made my way to meet a friend and occasional Gotham Buzz contributor at the Bryant Park Cafe in Midtown Manhattan. We had planned to meet early afternoon, following the lunch rush, so we could relax and enjoy the day a bit before resuming our respective duties.
The Bryant Park Cafe is located just behind the New York Public Library which runs along Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 41st Streets. And it looks out onto Bryant Park which begins at the back of the library and runs westward toward Times Square, but ending a bit short of it one long block away at Sixth Avenue. In the other direction lies Grand Central Terminal which is only two blocks away.
Thus Bryant Park Cafe not only overlooks a festive location, but is a convenient meeting location for folks traveling from various parts of the city. On most days and at most times, the park is fairly well traveled because it's a green oasis in the heart of the city. It's a place where locals, tourists and workerbees all intermingle. And thus the Bryant Park Cafe is generally populated with some fair measure of guests, which adds to the joyful ambiance.
We'll have more on the Bryant Park Cafe restaurant in Midtown Manhattan at a later date.
Taste Asia Times Square
2nd Annual Celebration Of Asian Cuisines
The second annual Taste Asia Food Festival was held last Friday and Saturday in Times Square. The event is part outdoor cooking show, part street fair and part Asia buffet and it is sponsored by the Epoch Times.
I attended the event early Saturday afternoon. About every hour or two there's a cooking demonstration / competition wherein a number of the chefs from participating restaurants compete for prizes in live cooking demonstrations [see photo at right].
The competition is fierce as most of the chefs are life long curators of their ethnic cuisines and marshall their talents and trade secrets to win the prize.
The event was held in Times Square along Broadway between 42nd and 43rd streets, which given the attraction and the natural crowds, was crowded.
Midtown Restaurants & Bars Business Listings
Click here to view a listing of other Midtown restaurants and bars in NYC.
Mother's Day Restaurants In Manhattan 2021
Restaurants For Mothers Day Brunch & Dinner on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown, East Village, West Village, SoHo, Tribeca & Downtown NYC
Mother's Day is soon upon us. It's a good day to let your wife or mother or daughter know you appreciate her efforts in the most important role of her life. Flowers, gifts and brunch or dinner are always welcome, as is any thoughtful gesture that provides some measure showing your recognition of her efforts in her role as mother of some children. After all, without mothers, we would all cease to be.
Normally it's best to book a restaurant reservation for Mother's Day brunch, as on Mother's Day in Manhattan, many restaurants are full. So if you're thinking about eating out at a restaurant this Mother's Day on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Midtown Manhattan, the East or West Village, SoHo, Tribeca or Downtown NYC; it's best to do your research early, and call ahead to book Mother's Day restaurant reservations.
Unlike last year, indoor dining is now available at most Manhattan restaurants, but at only at 50% capacity for restaurants located in New York City. Restaurants outside of NYC can accommodate 75% of capacity. That is likely because of the difference in the amount of space allocated to each diner in restaurants in the city versus restaurants outside of the city, as well as the higher density of population, etc. But that said, restaurants also have additional capacity via all of those outdoor shacks built during the pandemic, which has greatly increased overall space / seating capacity, and with the weather warming [the thermometer is expected to break the 80's tomorrow], outdoor dining is a pleasant, even welcome option.
But as the saying goes, the early bird gets the [worm] better seating, so book early.
COVID PRECAUTIONS. Lastly, be advised that most - if not all - of these restaurants may take your temperature prior to indoor seating and require masks except during dining. Other CoVid guidelines like social distancing also may apply.
Mother's Day History - Restaurants In Manhattan
The origins of Mother's Day in the United States began with the efforts by Anna Jarvis to honor her own mother. According to Wikipedia, Anna began the campaign in 1905 - the year her mother died - and in 1910 West Virginia was the first state to adopt Mothers Day as a holiday. In 1914 Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Click this link to view a brief guide of Mother's Day restaurants in Manhattan where you will find links to Manhattan restaurants we've visited in the past or have reviewed. The restaurants we've reviewed include a mix of high, medium and budget priced restaurants that are spread throughout the borough and offer a large variety of ethnic cuisines.
We've identified over a half dozen Manhattan restaurants open for indoor / outdoor dining on Mother's Day in Manhattan. Enjoy.
Manhattan Halloween Parties NYC 2021
Manhattan Halloween Parties in Midtown, UES, Upper East Side, East Village, UWS, Upper West Side, SoHo, Harlem, LES, Lower East Side, Downtown NYC Seaport, Inwood & Washington Heights Manhattan NYC Halloween Events
With a little more than two weeks to go before Halloween, we decided to do a round up of some of the Halloween parties planned in Manhattan.
The weather around Halloween is usually about 60 during the day time and around 50 degrees at night. It's too early to tell what the precipitation will be the preceding weekend as well as on Halloween, but we provide weather updates each Friday.
The 46th Annual Village Halloween Parade NYC starts at 7 pm at Spring Street and 6th Avenue and marches north to 16th Street on Sunday, October 31st. It runs through the West Village neighborhood for three to four hours with the official end time at 10.30 pm. We've heard that there are over 35 bands and an innumerable showing of creative costumes.
The following is a short list of Manhattan Halloween parties at local bars, restaurants and arts and public venues will be added over time. In most cases we suggest that you call ahead and rsvp a spot to be sure you get in.
Click here to view our report on Halloween Parties Manhattan Midtown Upper East Side UES Upper West Side UWS & East Village SoHo Harlem LES Downtown NYC Inwood Washington Heights & Tribeca Halloween Parties nyc.
Taste Of Times Square
Festive Food Event Along Restaurant Row In Theatre District Of NYC
I went to the Taste of Times Square on Monday evening. The festive food event was held on 46th Street between Broadway and 9th Avenue, and it had begun at 5 pm and was to run until 9 pm.
Needless to say, Times Square is nearly always crowded and busy, and this Monday evening was certainly no exception. The sun was out, the temperatures were in the 70's, and it was fairly dry and comfortable. I started in from Broadway, where the restaurateurs were busy serving the hungry attendees, who paid $6 per ticket which was good for one taste.
I sampled a number of delicious morsels and had a chance to talk to some of the people working the event. As near as I could tell, all of the participants were from restaurants from the immediate vicinity and the offerings ran the gamut from appetizers to full meals.
In the top photo at right you can see the Taste of Times Square between 8th and 9th Avenues along 46th Street in the Theatre District of Manhattan as the Taste of Times Square was winding down. In the photo at left, you can see a crabcake croquette from O'Lunney's Times Square Pub which was so good that I'm still thinking about it.
This is a fun, food-filled event in Midtown NYC that occurs every year compliments of a neighborhood / community / business group.
Gramercy Park Restaurants
Friend Of A Farmer Gramercy Park
One of the more popular brunches served in Gramercy section of Midtown is at the Friend Of A Farmer. The Friend Of A Farmer is located at 77 Irving Place, just a couple of blocks south of Gramercy Park.
It’s a cozy restaurant with only a few tables on the street level, and about a dozen upstairs, so you may have to wait in line; but our experience has been that it’s worth it. The service is generally friendly and good, and the food is wholesome and delicious. In the better weather they offer outdoor seating looking out onto a street with little auto traffic and neighborhood foot traffic.
Gramercy Park Restaurants
Pete’s Tavern was once a writers’ haven and is located just across the street from The Friend Of A Farmer at 129 East 18th Street. O’Henry wrote ‘The Gift of the Magi’ in the first or second booth of the tavern nearly a century ago. And Washington Irving, who wrote ‘Ichabod Crane’ among other great works, lived only a block away [there’s a plaque on the small house on 17th Street].
Pete’s contains a lot of the history of New York and allows you to go back in time if you wish. But they are also a good place to grab lunch and dinner and they have outdoor seating along the front and side of the restaurant on quiet streets.
Flatiron District Restaurants
Millesime Restaurant, Event Space & Party Rooms in Midtown
A place that opened only three years ago (2010), Millesime, is located at 92 Madison Avenue, only a couple of blocks north from Madison Square Park.
Millesime is a modern restaurant in a prewar building that handles a variety of special events such as weddings, company parties and other such events. There’s also a grand piano and performance space on the lower level.
Restaurants Near Stuyvesant Town & Peter Cooper Village
Ess-a-Bagel is located just south of 23rd Street along First Avenue. The traditional bagel, deli and bakery is conveniently located across from both Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and easily accessible by those coming up First Avenue.
They are best known for their bagels and it's pretty busy in the morning as folks load up with their favorite fresh bagel and coffee as they make their way to work. Things taper down after that - except on weekends - as they move into sandwiches and lunch. Ess-a-Bagel closes around 7 pm.
Bryant Park Grill & Cafe In Midtown
Midtown Neighborhood / Midtown Restaurants NYC / Gotham Buzz. Bryant Park has become one of the most beautiful parks in the city. It is a green oasis in the heart of Midtown, at 25 West 40th Street, just behind the New York Public Library.
The Bryant Park Grill overlooks the park where you can get a fine meal in a large and spacious restaurant that offers generally good service. They also have outdoor seating, and not far away is BP Café, where in the good weather you can be served drinks and food outside.
24 Hour Diners in Gramercy Park Near Midtown
Orion Diner - Greek Diner Open 24 Hours Each Day
The Orion Diner used to be the Cosmos Diner. The Orion Diner is located at the corner of 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue in the Gramercy Park neighborhood.
It is under new management and has been completely updated and remodeled. It still maintains its character as a Greek American diner and it is open 24 hours each day in NYC, seven days a week including holidays. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner 24 hours a day in NYC.
Murray Hill Restaurants - Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant in Midtown
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