Best boozy lunches

Whether you're a three-martini ad exec or an ale-swilling freelancer, there's a liquid lunch for you.

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  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    The Algonquin Hotel Lobby Lounge

    The Algonquin Hotel Lobby Lounge

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Keens Steakhouse

    Keens Steakhouse

  • Photograph: courtesy of Grand Central Oyster Bar

    Grand Central Oyster Bar

    Grand Central Oyster Bar

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

The Algonquin Hotel Lobby Lounge

The Algonquin Hotel Lobby Lounge


Keens Steakhouse
The old-boys'-club vibe at this leather-and wood-lined steakhouse could make even a suds lover call for a pour of Scotch. Happily, Keens stocks more than 275 varieties behind its dark- wood bar. Newbies should try a two-ounce taste of the mild, unpeated Tobermory ten-year ($10) or the smoky Edradour Ballechin ($24). Either is a lovely match for the house's famous mutton chop, available with escarole in a still-massive half portion ($26) from the pub menu. It's a beautiful slab of gamey lamb, pink and juicy on the inside and ridged with a succulent strip of charred fat. 72 W 36th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-947-3636, keens.com)

The Algonquin Hotel Lobby Lounge
In the early 1900s, many of the city's wittiest writers drank their lunch at the Round Table, and the Algonquin Hotel lobby (serving noon to 4pm) remains an ideal hangout for wanna-be literati—it's filled with old wooden desks and towering tropical plants. Head to the Algonquin for a midday tipple: Go classic with a $17 martini and a jumbo shrimp cocktail ($21), followed by a crisp and creamy Caesar salad ($15). Or opt for the Hemingway ($18), a beautifully pink sipper made from Ketel One vodka and ruby-red grapefruit juice. 59 W 44th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (212-840-6800, algonquinhotel.com)

Grand Central Oyster Bar
Like the last century's working stiffs, we can still enjoy a quick pint (perhaps a $7 Harpoon Oyster Stout) and a dozen on the half shell under the soaring white-tiled ceiling of the city's most beautiful oyster bar. In addition to the famous pan roasts—a rich bowl of fresh shellfish and cream over toast, made to order—there are dozens of bivalves to choose from. Try briny Long Island Bluepoints (each $1.95, extra-large $2.25), creamy Kumamotos from Oregon (each $3.15) or the cucumber finish of Hama-Hamas from Washington State (each $2.15). And if beer's not your thing, these days the wine list is massive too: A glass of La Grenouille, a Loire Valley muscadet, is just $8. Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St at Park Ave (212-490-6650, oysterbarny.com)

Roebling Tea Room
There's an old-timey air to this sunlit, all-day dining room, which is tricked out with vintage wallpaper and overstuffed couches. Claim one and spend your lunch hour brainstorming with the help of Roebling's house martini ($9), garnished with the pickle du jour, which varies from pink-tinged ramps and tiny pearl onions in spring to spicy beans in summer. Among the de rigueur musicians and artistes swilling $8 glasses of Roebling's house syrah, regulars include staffers from other artisanal establishments in the nabe. Another popular pick is the $2 Genesee Cream Ales. Whatever you choose to quaff, pair your drink with something from Roebling's excellent menu, which includes a grass-fed steak tartare ($11) topped with crunchy fried chickpeas and sweet Japanese mayo. 143 Roebling Street at Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-963-0760, roeblingtearoom.com)

Savoy
With its horseshoe shape and Soho street views, the bar at this farm-to-table stalwart is the perfect perch for Soho worker bees hashing out the details of their summer collections. The namesake $12 Savoy is a Manhattan-like mix of New York State whiskey, vermouth and bitters; it's an ideal match for the restaurant's grass-fed, house-aged short-rib burger ($15), which comes with a side of fresh-cut fries and house-made spicy ketchup. 70 Prince St at Crosby St (212-219-8570, savoynyc.com). Savoy will close on June 18, 2011.

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