From lunch until late at night, Blue 82's contemporary lounge fosters delicious moments of synesthesia. Bartenders artfully decorate glasses by pouring bold strokes of specialty drinks such as bright green-tea martinis or Cha Cha mojitos with hints of raspberry, mimicking the green-to-magenta fade of the illuminated wall behind the bar, which doubles as a stoplight for overaggressive segway riders. More than 15 varieties of scotch add distinguished flair to evenings spent on a velvety sofa, and the tunes of live music or those spun by weekend DJs permeate aural canals with mellifluous sustenance. Slider burgers wedded to bacon and Boursin cheese or chicken flatbread pizza with sweet-and-spicy brazilian mustard treat palates to comfort food augmented by gourmet overtones, like a Stephen Foster melody played on a Stradivarius violin. The eatery also presents daily specials, and induces or nurtures merriment by hosting parties.
Backed by the 60-piece human melody machine of the Johann Strauss Orchestra, conductor and violinist André Rieu enchants audiences with an evening of swooning in seats and dancing in the aisles. A violinist since the age of 5, André radiates his lifelong love of classical music to the audience with celebratory renditions of beloved pieces. As Rieu interacts with the audience, the air fills with kaleidoscopic balloons, lilting tenors and sopranos, and special surprises, which may include a John Philip Sousa séance or an explosion of confetti fired from tubas.
In the 1940s there were two places to spot Babe Ruth: knocking homers out of baseball parks around the country and knocking back cold ones at Albany Baseball Club meetings held in the upstairs room of what is now Franklin's Tower. Chefs commemorate his frequent appearances with their Babe Ruth Bubby Burger, a Swiss cheese- and bacon-topped patty that diners can eat with two hands or whack into their mouths with a bat. Burgers are one of many American-style items on Franklin Tower's massive menu, which includes grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade pesto and wraps with grilled chicken breast and homemade Caesar dressing. Wine, beer, and whiskey wash down each feast, which unfold in a dining room that maintains the building's 1920s atmosphere with art deco flourishes.
The chefs at Justin's forge a menu of snappy American fare inspired by the eatery’s live jazz performances. After completing their dinner application forms, guests can feast on orange-brandied glazed duck breast positioned atop mounds of mashed sweet potatoes and beans ($20.95). Jamaican jerk chicken weaves a complex tale of meaty flavors ($17.95), and Cajun-stuffed chicken breasts prove that what's inside counts with a hidden trove of crabmeat and shrimp stuffing ($18.95). Perfect for satisfying rumbling tummies or anchoring a plate made of balloons, shrimp and clam puttanesca weighs down its pasta with a heaping helping of capers, black olives, and anchovies ($19.95). Patrons can also excavate spinach and gorgonzola ore from a stuffed and mounted filet mignon adorned with a portabella demi glaze ($26.95). As they absorb live jazz among flickering candles in Justin's softly lit interior, couples can whisper sweet nothings to one another or show their love by planning a joint synchronized swimming routine.