On my recent trip to New York I met up with a friend for what I was expecting would be a mediocre night out. Instead I was treated to a fantastic New York night.
We started the night off at Bookmarks Lounge, situated on the 14th floor – which is actually the 13th floor – at the boutique Library Hotel. During the summer months this rooftop bar is open and throughout the winter the space is enclosed and heated.
The rooftop itself doesn’t have an expansive view, meaning you’re not going to get to the top and see the entire New York skyline. But there is something very special about the view. By the time we were there most of the skyscrapers were empty and seeing the lights out with just a few rooms lit was hauntingly gorgeous
When we arrived it was busy, but not packed. We were directed to a small area with a bench and some stools. The seats are a bit uncomfortable, almost like a park bench. Because space is limited, they will seat you really close to other groups. This lounge was not the place for secrets. I was eavesdropping on about five different conversations myself. It was less people watching and more people listening.
Drinks were around $12 and had kitschy names to match the library theme. One kink the lounge needs to work out was it took nearly 20 minutes for our drinks to come once we placed our order. We learned our lesson and ordered our next drinks before we had even sipped our cocktails.
After our literary themed cocktails we headed to the Yale Club. We were greeted at the door – a genteel way of saying they checked for our membership – and found our way to the second floor lounge.
The main hall on the second floor has a chandelier and three-story ceilings. The atmosphere is quiet and stately and despite the grand size of the room you can hear faint whispers and the softly crackling fireplace. The tone screams of prestige – discretely of course, as this is a WASP haven after all.
The main room is the complete opposite of Bookmarks. You can sink into the leather high back chairs sharing your innermost thoughts and no one will hear unless you want them to. In between sips, I peeked up at the huge portraits of Yale-attending presidents on the wall and wondered what secrets they’ve heard over the years.
We were there for a few cocktails and it was fantastic; although I may be a bit biased as the conversation was brilliant. While I wanted to stay there all night, we both realized we had far too many cocktails and not enough food. So off we went to grab a late-night dinner.
Just a few steps out the door of Yale Club was Ammos Estiatorio. Since we arrived late at night and because it was a weekday, there was hardly anyone in the dining area with a small crowd at the bar.
We had attentive servers but I’m not sure if that’s the status quo or they were just trying to get us out of there since it was so late. It was a cool night and the tall windows were open to let in the breeze. The menu was typical for Greek restaurants and I went with the lamb shank. The lamb pulled easily from the bone and was seasoned nicely.
One of my favorites from Ammos was the Restina. Restina is a Greek white, resinated wine. Resinated? First time I heard of it as well. A resinated wine is a type of wine deriving part of its flavor from exposure to tree resins.
I had never tried it before and my friend had said it was an acquired taste. Some reviewers and many the wine snob have compared Restina to pine-scented bathroom disinfectant. Well this was one acquired taste I acquired immediately. It complemented our Greek dinner perfectly and tasted nothing like disinfectant. Thankfully.
In the end, perhaps what should get my most rave review that night was my friend who planned it all. He knew just when to move on to the next place, selected spots nearby Grand Central so I didn’t have to hike New York in heels and kept me riveted in conversation. A visit to a rooftop lounge, WASP haven and a Greek eatery all added up to a New York night.