E, M at Fifth Ave.-53rd St.; 6 at 51st St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
40th St. to 60th St., First Ave. to Eighth Ave.
The main draw of this enormous, two-story French restaurant set on a prime piece of midtown real estate is its 70-foot-long, wood-paneled bar on the ground floor. (There’s also a second bar upstairs.) It's an asset not lost on the high-energy patrons—a vibrant mix of young singles and colleagues all fresh from work and eager to relax. Facilitating the kick-back atmosphere are a good selection of medium-priced reds and whites by the glass or bottle, and, on the higher end, stray finds like a 2000 Pomerol Chateau Bourgneuf. (There are also more than 25 beers on draft and over thirty bottled beers.) Dining is another matter. The bistro fare—French onion soup and steak frites—while passable is neither as dependable as the hamburger nor as outstanding as the homemade sorbet.Private Parties
Papillon’s two floors include five separate rooms that can accommodate private groups of 5 to 300 people.
Food is served until 2 a.m. every night; the bar stays open until 4 a.m.
Hamburger, $15; homemade sorbet, $8