Rose petals speckle the candlelit stairway that descends into Shalel Lounge, establishing a romantic vibe that permeates the entire space. As vanilla smoke curls from a smoldering incense stick, guests canoodle in shadowy corners or private cavernous rooms. Here and there, lanterns and sequined throw pillows channel a Moroccan aesthetic that extends to the menu, which includes marinated olives, bruschetta, and lamb cigars. Each small dish occupies a square ceramic, supplying three or four heavily spiced bites. According to Serious Eats, Shalel Lounge is best suited for "a sexytime date."
Sweetwater's serves up an eclectic array of eats, quaffs, and entertainment, continuing the traditions of the Manhattan Sweetwaters in the ’70s and ’80s. Start a nautical-themed meal with Sweetwater's signature bowl of tortilla soup ($5.95) and a sea-sourced entree such as the fried shrimp ($11.95, with fries), and then cast a land-anchor with a hefty bacon burger (with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles, and a side of fries, $8.95). Patrons can sample the full spread of bathypelagic bites with a seafood tray—fried fish, calamari, shrimps, and seafood quesadillas served with fries ($29.95).
In 13 words, New York Magazine succinctly described the low-key, yet decidedly cultured vibe inside Barcibo Enoteca: " The wine list is gigantic, the post-Lincoln Center crowds are surprisingly not." From its station adjacent to the illustrious concert hall, the intimate, two-level wine bar trades exclusively in Italian varietals—more than 130 bottles, to be exact. With a little advice from the knowledgeable staff, diners can imbibe on Tuscans and Piedmontese, as well as more uncommon wines such as as Mesa Buio and Foradori. The wine list includes 40 options by the glass and also features artisan bourbons and craft beers. To complement the libations, a menu crafted with sharing in mind features such Italian flavors as grilled sweet sausage risotti, baked veal meatballs, and prosciutto Panini. With 65 seats, Barcibo Enoteca is an expansion of its nearby sister wine bar, Bin 71. Guests dwell in two dining rooms, nestling into high leather booths with marble tables illuminated by Edison-bulb lanterns.
If the zebra-skin walls of Lenox Lounge’s Zebra Room could talk, what stories they would tell. Perhaps they would open with an account of how poet Langston Hughes once mesmerized his audience with “The Story of Jazz.” They might then try to recapture the magic of one of those nights when Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, or Billie Holiday stood close to the mic and everything else came to a standstill. The Zebra Room’s famous—or infamous—reputation dates back to 1939, when Lenox Lounge first opened its doors to the legends of jazz. The club has since appeared in TV shows and movies, but it continues to put live music first. To complement the intimate atmosphere, there’s a menu of traditional soul food such as fried chicken and waffles, stuffed catfish, and collard greens.
Though its name implies a worn out, old hole-in-the-wall-style bar, Dive 75 defies expectations. Here, warm lighting casts over a gleaming wooden bar that supports elbows as guests dig into expansive upscale menu and sip single-malt scotches and choose from a lengthy list of bourbons, tequilas, and wines. The chefs whip up more than just bar peanuts and popcorn, instead fashioning plates brimming with seafood, a range of vegetarian burgers and sandwiches, and a bountiful array of breakfast meals. They further dazzle taste buds with options such as Quebecois poutine and buffalo-met hot dogs, all cooked in trans-fat-free oil, which patrons sample amid views of the expansive built-in aquarium.
Named after the iconic Central Park monument, Cleopatra’s Needle has earned a reputation of its own with a daily schedule of open mics, jam sessions, and jazz performances. As one might expect, the club’s menu references Egypt and other Mediterranean locales, though its cocktail list is classic New York—martinis, wines, and frozen drinks are all well represented. While the performers are taking a break to warm up their vocal cords or massage the grand piano’s tense strings, guests can watch local sports on the big screen.