E, M at Lexington Ave.-53rd St.; 4, 5, 6 at 59th St.
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P.J. Clarke’s newest owners—actor Timothy Hutton and veteran restaurateur Phil (Docks) Scotti among them—won’t mind a bit if their painstaking yearlong construction job goes unnoticed. In fact, they’d prefer it. That’s why, even though they gutted the ghost-ridden saloon and modernized the infrastructure, they kept careful track of where every last relic went, including the jukebox, the chalkboard menus, and the ashes of an especially loyal former customer. Change is most apparent upstairs at the Sidecar, a posh, artfully aged addition with a separate entrance and its own kitchen, whence will come various upscale alternatives to P.J.’s signature bacon cheeseburger and home fries.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.