Party Earth Review One glance at the elegant Monkey Bar, an old New York-style bar on the ground floor of the luxurious boutique Hotel Elysée – nicknamed the “easy lay” in the 40s – will convince dapper patrons they’ve been transported to... ... read full review
60 East 54th Street
New York, NY 10022
E, M: 5th Avenue-53rd Street; E, 6: Lexington Avenue-53rd Street
M–F 11:30am–midnight, Sa 5pm–midnight
Restaurant: M–F 11:30am–3pm and 5:30pm–midnight, Sa 5:30pm–midnight
Midtown, New York –
One glance at the elegant Monkey Bar, an old New York-style bar on the ground floor of the luxurious boutique Hotel Elysée – nicknamed the “easy lay” in the 40s – will convince dapper patrons they’ve been transported to the era of brandy, cigars, and effortless class that marked the bar’s original opening in 1936.
Ambient jazz fills the small room, whose mustard-yellow walls are enlivened by a delightful décor featuring monkey murals and tufted leather banquettes warmly lit by candles and brass monkey sconces.
Once the stomping grounds for Hollywood and literary luminaries, the bar has found new life since Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter reopened its doors in 2009 as a place to entertain his celebrity pals.
Now popular for after-work vintage cocktails and stimulating conversation, the swanky bar draws an upscale and sophisticated clientele of midtown business and finance types who swarm in to sip Manhattans in classic red leather booths, while perfectly suited and coiffed singles mix and mingle at the sleek mirror-backed wooden bar.
Just beyond the zebra carpets in the marble hallway lies a spacious restaurant offering upscale comfort food and an impressive Ed Sorel mural that pays homage to sixty Jazz Age figures like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Babe Ruth, Cole Porter, Mae West, and Billie Holiday.
The hallway also leads to the stunning marble lobby of the hotel, whose walls have witnessed such significant historical events as the ironic death-by-eye-dropper of colorful playwright Tennessee Williams.
Monkey Bar’s fascinating history and charmingly nostalgic décor give the venue a subdued elegance that attracts a new generation in the mood for more sophisticated revelry.
Professionals and corporate types earlier in the evening, young fashionable professionals later on, mid-20s to 50s.
Bar menu of upscale cocktail treats from crispy oysters to grilled sardines. The restaurant offers full lunch and dinner menus featuring sophisticated comfort foods like Normandy duck and Berkshire pork. Kitchen closes at midnight.
Bar menu $12–$22. Restaurant: appetizers $11–$24, entrées $19–$36+. Beer $8–$25, wine $9–$30/glass or $40–$120+/bottle, cocktails $12–$18.
No dress code, but tends to range from business casual to dressy. Suits, conservative dresses, heels.
Weekdays after work, and Thursday nights for a good mix of business types and the pre-Friday and Saturday night going-out crowd.
Fifth Avenue features hundreds of chic boutiques, perfect for a shopping binge before a world-class lunch or dinner at Monkey Bar.