Where to Drink Like a “Mad Man”

Mad Men doesn’t resume for a few months, and I’m in total withdrawal.  I couldn’t tell you if it’s the smoke-filled offices of Sterling Cooper, the vintage ads and campaigns, the mischievous plots of Pete Campbell, or simply gorgeous Don Draper that I miss most, but I think I’ve finally found a cure. You, unfortunately, can’t actually join Don and Roger over oysters at The Oyster Bar or drinks at The Roosevelt Hotel, but you can find some cocktail fixes throughout Manhattan that will make you feel as if you are.

Temple Bar: The glamorous oak bar in NoHo is known for its extensive drink list peppered with all the classics. Imagine yourself sitting with Don among the beautiful velvet curtains sipping an Old Fashioned or with Peggy Olsen as she tries a Brandy Alexander for the first time. (322 Lafayette St, 212-925-4242, http://www.templebarnyc.com )

Monkey Bar:  Enter the landmark Hotel Elysée (once known as the “easy lay”) where guests like Joe DiMaggio and Marlon Brandon used to stay and step inside this great piano bar just off the lobby with its iconic monkey mural.  You can just picture Roger downing a Manhattan or two before heading for a room upstairs. (Hotel Elysée, 60 E 54th St, 212-753-1066, http://www.elyseehotel.com )

King Cole Bar: Once a bastion of cigar-smoking power brokers or wannabes like Ken Cosgrove, the King Cole Bar in the elegant St. Regis Hotel is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary (known here as the Red Snapper). This classic bar also is known for its famous mural, “Old King Cole” by Maxfield Parrish. (St. Regis Hotel, 2 E 55th St, 212-753-4500, http://www.kingcolebar.com)

21 Club: Famous for its prohibition-era speakeasy status, this restaurant has attracted every president since FDR (except George W. Bush) to dine or imbibe. Come for a martini just like James Bond in 007 or try New York Magazine’s recommendation, a Southside, the rum and mint cocktail invented here. (21 W 52nd St, 212-582-7200, http://www.21club.com)

Campbell Apartment: This luxurious lounge in Grand Central Terminal will surely bring you back to another era. The space, once used as an office for New York financier John Campbell, still exudes the same sleek, refinement with its low lighting, rich woodwork and beamed ceiling. We’d recommend the Prohibition Punch for aptly named Pete Campbell. (15 Vanderbilt Ave, 212-953-0409, http://www.hospitalityholdings.com )

Bemelmans Bar: Some things never go out of style. Tommy Rowles has been the bartender here for 51 years and has even poured bourbon on the rocks for President Truman. Live piano music, enchanting murals of animals by Ludwig Bemelmans of Eloise fame, plus formally dressed waiters make this an Upper East Side landmark. The perfectly chilled and poured martini comes in a shaker with enough liquor for a potent drink and a half, and the banquettes are perfect for cuddling. (The Carlyle Hotel, 35 E 76th St, 212-744-1600, http://www.thecarlyle.com/dine4.cfm )

The Blue Bar at the Algonquin: Once the hot spot for literary geniuses like Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, The Blue Bar is filled with Al Hirschfield’s artwork depicting a variety of Broadway shows. The cozy bar with its blue upholstery is known for its Algonquin Cocktail, a mix of whiskey, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice.  It’s reputed that the literary ghosts of times past will even sit with you to provide inspiration and absorb the black-tie service. (The Algonquin Hotel, 59 W 44th St, 212-840-6800, http://algonquinhotel.com/blue-bar )

Sardi’s: Since 1921, this legendary restaurant known for the celebrity caricatures adorning its walls has served as the spot to head to before or after theater. It’s also a favorite rendezvous spot for Don Draper and his lady friends like the sultry Mrs. Barrett.  To behave like a true “mad man,” book a table on Thursdays and Fridays for jazz and cabaret and skip the cocktail; a bottle of Dom Perignon is more in keeping with the mood. (234 W 44th St, 212-221-8440, http://www.sardis.com )

The Oak Bar at the Plaza:  Originally filling the entire Oak Room restaurant space in the Plaza Hotel, the Oak Bar was conceived as a men’s-only enclave when it opened in 1907.  Now restored to its original glory surrounded by impressive “frozen in time” murals, the bar serves up a Classic Sidecar to enjoy with a menu of bar items until the wee hours.  (Plaza Hotel, 10 Central Park South, 212-758-7777, http://www.oakroomny.com )

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13 Responses to “Where to Drink Like a “Mad Man””

  1. I just couldnt leave your website before saying that I really enjoyed the useful information you offer to your visitors… Will be back often to check up on new stuff you post!

  2. Great post..!!I already went to the Oak Bar,the ambiance f this bar is truly nice..!!I love the foods that they serve and the drinks were great,no doubt..!!Thanks for sharing,this list would really help.!!

  3. Thanks for your comments, Brian. Do you have any favorites that you would like to suggest?

  4. Wow man, I didn’t new that, cheers.

  5. Shiloh Car says:

    I am sure you might have been told this prior to, but damn you’ve got a very great blog site! I’m jealous and hope I can create one thing as good while you. I’m positive you’ve been informed that before, but seriously lol. Great work and I will surely be back again once again.

  6. Hugo Lopez says:

    i’m a french journalist preparing a documentary about all the Mad Men universe for french TV.
    Gonna be in Los Angeles and New York city in june to shoot some interviews. I’m looking for Mad Men fans to go with them to places (like the Roosevelt) that remind Mad Men universe. Please contact me, hugolotd@hotmail.com
    Thanx for your help!

  7. Dara Cuffman says:

    Hello,I find out that your blog is quite educational and helpful and we were curious if there is really a possibility of getting More stories like this on your web site. If you willing to help us out, we will be willing to compensate you… Sincerely, Dara Cuffman

  8. Please send an email to pr@mdppublicity.com with your suggestions.

  9. I’d be delighted to help you with your documentary and I also speak French. Contact me at pr@mdppublicity.com. A bientot!

  10. Please visit http://www.travelandfoodnotes.com for more stories and to sign up for email alerts. You can also write to me at merylprandwriting@gmail.com.

  11. My daughter loves your post!She and I have the same interest b the way. :)

  12. Gary Velazguez says:

    Great tips!! Mad Men is like my favorite show.

  13. 1aliment says:


Planning a trip to NYC?