Hopped across the globe to Europe, and enjoyed a quick overnight in New York, it does cut down the air time and I never say no to a visit to the Big Apple.
Happily, this stop also included dinner at the iconic Monkey Bar restaurant, where my friend, David Tanis, has been brought in to revamp and refine. One NY restaurant that’s endured decades of the city’s ups and down, is the Monkey Bar. Few surviving restaurants have as celebrated history—even fewer in the ever changing midtown Manhattan dining scene. You may remember I followed David to Sicily a few summers ago to indulge in his cooking class.
Several months ago, the New York Times announced that David Tanis, a longtime contributor to the newspaper’s weekly food section with his “Hungry City” column, had been brought in as the new chef. Co-owner Jeff Klein expects “refinement and subtle changes,” under Tanis, who says his food “will be straightforward and simply presented.” Keeping up with the times, the chef will swap steakhouse staples for more salads, seafood and seasonal dishes made with sustainable ingredients—or, how people want to eat these days.
Monkey Bar has long been on my little NY walking map of historic stops to quench a thirst 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! One must always know where to stop and linger.
With the repeal of Prohibition close at hand, a humble new establishment opened its doors on the ground floor of the still-new, luxurious Hotel Elysée in the Midtown: The Monkey Bar. Known as a comfortable locale to while away an afternoon with an impromptu companion, the new bar at the Elysee – known to some customers, between drinks, as the “easy lay” –would become the New York home of Tallulah Bankhead and the site of a number of historically significant events during its lifetime, such as the untimely death of Tennessee Williams, when the playwright mysteriously chocked on an eye-dropper. For decades, the Monkey Bar provided a cozy outpost for ad men in bespoke suits, after-hours politicians, and media barons looking for a little fun. After a few years in disrepair, the Monkey Bar was purchased, in 2009, and returned to its former glory by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, his wife, Anna, and hotelier Jeff Klein. Renowned illustrator Ed Sorel was commissioned to paint a three-paneled mural paying homage to the great Jazz Age figures who once sailed through the saloon doors. The dining room’s lush red leather banquettes and dim, attractive lighting have restored the fizzy thrill of both glamorous and cozy-and harken back to a bygone era when a gentleman never left the house without a tie and a lady always had a pair of white gloves in her purse.
Monkey Bar is one of those Classic NYC Establishments that “has history.”
Highly Recommend Monkey Bar Manhattan!