From New York- Favorite Cocktail Stops

One must always know where to stop and linger

for Cocktails or afternoon tea. Most of these are in mid-town, as this is where I frequently walk and shop in NY.

Merci to my dear friend Nancy, former New Yorker, who taped this list to my city walking map; as a girl never knows when one may be in need of a glass of bubbly and a little bite – parched and peckish is never an acceptable condition anywhere!

King Cole Bar The St. Regis Hotel
2 E. 55th St.
Work your way through the lobby and wander back to the luxurious dark wood refuge of the King Cole Bar. The mural looks like a Maxfield Parrish, but it is not, doesn’t matter. The clientele is always well dressed, cocktails and snacks are spendy, but the environment is a special place, sink in to an intimate banquette and enjoy. Cocktails or tea to assuage your spree at Takashimaya.

Palio Restaurant
151 West 51 Street Midtown
Drop in for a pre dinner drink if you are in the neighborhood, sit below Sandro Chia’s mural of a centuries-old horse race in the Palio Bar, lyrical in its own sense. Amazing bold mural of the famed twice-yearly Palio races in Tuscany

Le Cirque
Beacon Court 151 E 58th St.
I love to hate Le Cirque, sometimes known only for it’s own celebrity billing, but it has endured and it is a NYC icon. The glass bar, which appears & disappears like a magic circus box serves as an interesting element. Drop in only when it is crowded, otherwise the energy level lapses, part of the electricity is the crowd after all.

Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel
35 East 76th
Best remembered as the creator of the classic Madeline books for children, Ludwig Bemelmans once joked he’d like his tombstone to read: “Tell Them It Was Wonderful.” Well, wonderful it was, and still is, at Bemelmans Bar. Named in honor of the legendary artist, Bemelmans is a timeless New York watering hole that has drawn socialites, politicians, movie stars and moguls for more than five decades. The bar maintains its Art Deco legacy with chocolate-brown leather banquettes, nickel-trimmed black glass tabletops, a dramatic black granite bar and a 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling. Featuring the only surviving Bemelmans public work.

Campbell Apartment
Vanderbilt Avenue side of Grand Central Station
15 Vanderbilt Avenue between 42nd & 43rd Avenue
In Grand Central Station- very cool jazz bar- best in the evening although lunch is served. – Balcony level, kind of hard to find, but the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Terminal is truly a spectacular one-of-a-kind space (within a one-of-a-kind space). Formerly the luxurious office and salon of ’20’s mogul John W. Campbell, this fully refurbished space revives the lifestyle of that storied era. The breathtaking interior features intricate architectural details and craftsmanship including extensive woodwork, a balcony, a decorative beamed ceiling, an immense leaded glass exterior window, and a massive stone fireplace. Classic cocktails.

Four Seasons The Bar
57 E 57th Street
One of the original ‘power bars’ also a location where the clientele may be ‘professionals’, however, great people watching can be found here.

21 Club
21 West 52nd Street
Every President since FDR has been a guest of ’21’ with the one exception of George W. Bush. In true fashion, JFK dined at ’21’ on the eve of his inauguration. If you are in the neighborhood, historic NYC location- go for the history.

The Peninsula
700 5th Avenue
Rooftop bar-Salon de Ning, stylish bar and lounge in Midtown with a stunning view over Fifth Avenue, 23rd floor rooftop terrace of the Peninsula. Glamour and style of 1930’s Shanghai. How many rooftop bars can you name in midtown, go!

Neue Galerie Café Sabarsky
1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street
Art and architecture of course, but one of my favorite stops on my way to the Met. Café Sabarsky which bears the name of Neue Galerie co-founder Serge Sabarsky, draws its inspiration from the great Viennese cafés that served as important centers of intellectual and artistic life at the turn of the century. It is outfitted with period objects, including lighting fixtures by Josef Hoffmann, furniture by Adolf Loos. A Yamaha grand piano graces one corner of the Café, and is generally played by a talented pianist, Viennese waltz music only adds to the dreamy environment, linger and nibble on savory sweets Sachertorte Classic Viennese dark chocolate cake with house made apricot confiture or Linzertorte Hazelnut tart with fresh raspberry confiture. One reason to walk from midtown to the Met, savory sweets!

From my dear friend Diane:
Perhaps secret fave, at around 5pm after shopping or museuming or meetings uptown, is to go to the little restaurant/bar at Bergdorf”s, on the 7th floor near the book shop and home design dept–and the ladies room, by the way, which is very nice. The bar there, also very lovely tables if you are lucky–overlook Central Park and the plaza and statues and everything…lovely at twilight…and you can have a drink a soup a salad or tea…very civilized with the best view.

One must always know where to stop and linger.

From Montecito

Another SFO – SBA one hour flight arrive at the tiny and mostly sunny Santa Barbara airport – and yes, your jet can land here!

The chic village of Montecito is stomping grounds of Oprah and many vv well known celebrities; on a personal note, it was home to several of my high school proms! I make a stop here on every journey to southern California; the original Pierre Lafond and Wendy Foster shops on San Ysidro Road are old haunts of mine. Patio tables and chairs line the small plaza, a delightful stop for breakfast, an afternoon latte or a gourmet snack from the Pierre Lafond deli market. I’ve enjoyed spying on Jonathan Winters in full costume performing his madcap comedy table-side with his pals, a marvelous people watching location and if you must start the day with the SF Chron or NY Times, they can be found here. Upstairs don’t miss the eclectic and luxurious selection of clothing, interesting books, and exotic global accessories at Upstairs Gallery Pierre Lafond, something for everyone.

Montecito is chock a block with luxury shops in its two mile paved palm lined roadway of village purveyors, park your car and walk, the weather is almost always warm, no matter the month. To Sleep- my two favorites are The Four Seasons Biltmore on the beach and San Ysidro Ranch. Two diversely different luxury properties; the Four Seasons is perched across a narrow lane from the ocean, and the Ranch is nestled in the lush Montecito foothills. Both are tranquil retreats offering fine dining and outdoor activities if you need action. My dear friend, Joel Huff, former chef at Silks Mandarin, is resident head chef at the Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club at The Four Seasons. Another reason to check in, Joel is here! An exclusive landmark perched atop Butterfly Beach, open only to members and hotel guests; an afternoon here feels more like a glamorous club along the French Riviera.

Of course, I have private trainers here, can organize horseback riding on the sandy beach or in the hillsides above Montecito and Santa Barbara, private beach dinners- as always, just make a request.
Linger. Ultimately what matters most is what you do once you reach your destination.