Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Around The Old Work Place

I used to work where the new W hotel is located across from Union Square. I decided to check out the neighborhood again but decided to take the west side subway. As a result, walking east on 12th I first hit:

416) Gotham Bar And Grill

An upscale bar and restaurant at 12 East 12th Street. A very elegant long pink marble topped bar with a black front. The foot ledge has a similar pattern to it but is just linoleum. There is a narrow ridge in the front of the bar and extending out from the front is a thick round wooden rail. Kind of strange because if you eat at the bar they put your place setting on a wooden board that has a slot that fits over the ridge and then extends across the rail. Seems like they could have just made the bar wider and and eliminated the ridge and rail. A matching marble ledge sits on metal coolers behind the bar. On top of that, and in front of a large arch-topped mirror is a black metal rod and greenish glass set of shelving. It has a bit of an art deco look to it. A large selection of liquors and a an impressive selection of grappas sit on the shelves. Lights over the bar are drapped in a muslin like fabric, as are the overhead lights throughout the rest of the restaurant. Very elegantly decorated in a dark-yellow, olive-green, dusty-rose, and light-gray color scheme.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.

417) Buena Sera

A small Italian restaurant on the corner of 12th and University Place. Large wrap-around windows provide the feel of street-side dining without actually being on the sidewalk. This is usually a good thing when the streets are busy as they are at this intersection. A small black marble and wood topped bar with a red cement block foot rest. An old, not overly fancy, wooden structure frames two good-sized mirrors behind the bar. There are narrow cupboards on each side that are somewhat disguised. Just a narrow shelf in front of the mirrors holds what looks like a fairly meagre liquor supply. There is, however, a fairly large wine rack. A large spray of some kind of small white blossoms (where is that Chinese lady when you need her) in a brown clay vase sits on one end of the bar. The walls are kind of a rose/orange color with some brick trim. A beamed yellow ceiling with overhead fans.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.

418) Piola

Located on 12th Street between University Place and Broadway is this combination of a pizza place and Italian restaurant. It does have a small white and gray marble-topped bar with a metal front. A narrow silver-pipe foot rail. Black bar stools with black vinyl padded seats. Hanging over the bar and throughout the place are multi-colored lightbulbs in multi-colored glass shades. Very festive looking. Just a small tiered, blue lit Lucite shelf holding liquor and glasses. The wall behind the bar is dark gray then switches to a bright red. The rest of the walls are orange, dark green, purple, beige, and aqua. Surprisingly it works. An interesting warren of restrooms and sinks. An eclectic collection of black framed pictures on the walls. There are blue lights over the bar and just in front of it.

I had a Tanqueray and Tequila.

419) Hotel W Lounge

Located at 201 Park Avenue South in the former home of Guardian Life Insurance (previously Germania Life Insurance). There is a cold-to-the-touch metal covered bar with some kind of a tan, textured front. The center island has glass panels that look a bit like very large hard candies. Huge windows with lacy curtains covering the side being hit by the sun. You enter through a revolving door. Glass shelving holds the impressive liquor selection. They also have a decent selection of draft beers. One wall, between the two large windows looking out on Park Avenue South, is covered with ivy. Whether it is real or not, I do not know. There is a nice little lounge area next to the windows with sofas, chairs, and tables. Nice chess and backgammon sets are available. Huge sprays of some kind of pink-blossomed flowers (there we go again, missing the expert on these matters) sat in large black vases in each of the two windows over looking Park Avenue South. Ornate black metal candle holders with small votive candles sat on the bar and by the curtained window. Only complaint is that the restrooms are a long ways away, through the main hotel lobby and up a long winding staircase.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.

420) Park Avalon

Just up the street at 225 Park Avenue South is this fairly fancy bar and restaurant. I ordered my drink and then overheard the manager telling someone how good their margaritas were. I said I was sorry I didn't order one and she offered to replace my drink, that I already had taken a few sips of. I didn't accept the offer though. There is a lovely, polished copper-topped bar with a wide wooden arm rest. A narrow, but functional, silver foot rail. Large floor to ceiling windows opening on Park Avenue South. Very high ceilings. Large tannish glass disk shaped overhead lights make it looks a bit like you are being invaded by flying saucers. Tall shelves for liquor and wine racks behind the bar. Walls and pillars are covered by deep carmel ceramic tiles. Marble tiled floors and lots of mirrors. Large candles come out at night.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic.

421) Lemon

Located on the corner of Park Avenue South and 19th is this bar and restaurant. It has an old dark wood bar with blond wood panels in front that are separated by metal strips. The bar has a bit of a jog to it and has an old wooden bar rail. Regular old wooden bar stools. Shelves, backed by mirrors, are behind the bar. The place was really empty, I was the only one there. It is quite large with a second, kind of a balcony like, level with dark booths. Probably gets much busier in here later in the evening. The top of the winding steps to the second-level is guarded by a red and white paper mache dragon. Nice pictures of rock stars line the walls up top. Votive candles in red glass holders were being lit and placed on the bar when I toddled out.

I had a Tanqueray and Tonic

Well, a decent day with six bars hit, 421 for the year, and 579 to go.


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