Bemelmans Bar

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85 Very Good

The Carlyle Hotel’s bastion of old-fashioned romance, with live piano music and Ludwig Bemelmans’s famous murals.

35 E. 76th St., New York, NY, 10075


Known For

The lowdown

Nowhere is the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie more palpable than in this bastion of postwar decadence: Think white-jacket waiters, 24-karat gold-leaf ceilings, and nickel-trimmed glass tables splayed around the ivories. Settle into a leather banquette and order something strong and adventurous from a cocktail list designed by Dale DeGroff, and maybe even catch a Chita Rivera sighting when she performs at the Café Carlyle next door. Murals of frolicking animals painted by bar namesake and former Carlyle Hotel resident Ludwig Bemelmans offer a whimsical counterpoint to what might otherwise be suffocating sophistication (and they repay a close viewing — can you spot the armed rabbit stalking its brethren?).

What you need to know

Insider Tips Come early (before 9 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, and at 9:30 p.m. the rest of the week), if you want to avoid a live-music cover.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized