Mon-Fri, 3pm-1am; Sat-Sun, private events only
3pm-1am; $5 beer, two-for-one specialty cocktails
4, 5, 6, 7, S at Grand Central-42nd St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Lea is a bit tricky to find, on account of its subterranean location underneath the Helmsley Building. And once inside it's a bit tricky to find anything at all, as the place is kept extremely dark. Most of the light comes from the wall of bottles stacked on shelves behind the bar, which helps illuminate the deep-red walls and reproductions of Italian Romantic paintings hanging on them. Small tables house an after-work crowd early in the evening, enjoying better-than-average bar fare from the kitchen, including sushi, bruschetta, and crab taquitos. As the night wears on, the darkness deepens and the music—contemporary hip-hop and house beats that don't quite fit the lounge-y décor—gets louder.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.