Bar Review: Bemelmans Bar, The Carlyle Hotel, New York in the USA
It’s not an understatement to say Bemelman’s is a time capsule, straight out of the 1920’s. This Art Deco bar oozes charm and decadence and is aptly named after the author and illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, who’s kooky, whimsical drawings line the walls. It’s a time capsule in all elements apart from the atmosphere, which is well and truly alive. Every evening, the space comes to life with musicians who play anything from jazz to folk – if you’re lucky you may even catch one of Woody Allen’s sets.
If you’re seeking glamour, this is the bar for you; everything from the interior to the clientele oozes it. The ceiling is coated with 24-karat gold leaf. The lighting is soft with a golden glow. The mocha-coloured leather booths are rich and inviting. The miniature lamps on every table are delicate yet grand. Every table faces the piano. And then there’s the cocktails, which are taste sensations. Among their offerings are the expertly-made Passion Royale and the Fleur de Paradis – recommended to my mother and I after we told the waiter of our preferences.
The Royale is a gorgeous blend of passion fruit- infused vodka and lime juice, topped off with champagne – it’s light, fruity but sophisticated too. The Fleur de Paradis is another fruity, champagne-based concoction, but, instead of vodka, it’s served with gin, grapefruit and lemon juice and a tea spoon of St Germain Elderflower liqueur. It’s sweet and classy, both in appearance and taste.
Unsurprisingly, the glasses are small and the prices high (our cocktails cost $25 and $22), but you’re paying for the experience of drinking in one of New York’s most iconic bars as well as the opportunity to spot a socialite, politician or movie star. For this crowd, sipping martinis whilst listening to cool jazz is a frequent pastime, but, for my mother and I, it was a total treat and something we won’t forget in a hurry. Unfortunately, booking isn’t an option, but it’s well worth the wait.
Address: Bemelmans Bar is located at the Carlyle Hotel at 35 E 76th St, New York, NY 10075.
Phone: +1 212 744 1600