The best new hotel bars: Bar Maialino
Tue Dec 15 2009
Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave at 21st St (212-777-2410). Subway: 6 to 23rd St. Daily 5pm--midnight. Average drink: $15.
Maialino, the Gramercy Park Hotel’s new trattoria, has the makings of another Danny Meyer blockbuster: solid, rustic Italian fare; a packed house; and a bustling enoteca that is quickly becoming one of the neighborhood’s most desirable spots to down a glass of wine. The buzzy bar area was standing-room-only on a recent visit, with the various counters, cozy two-tops and stools all occupied. A Berkel slicer whirs in one corner, dispatching gossamer ribbons of prosciutto and speck. The wine list is all Italian and mercifully compact; most of the selections are available by the bottle, quartino and glass (many are less than $10). We liked a full, fruity Barbera d’Alba ($11 a glass), but the room is festive enough to merit a sparkler, like one of two proseccos ($7--$15 a glass) or an $8 lambrusco (a young, fizzy red wine). If you’re planning on making a meal of the excellent salumi, cheeses and small plates on the bar menu, perhaps indulge in one of the excellent apertivi. The Aviation ($13)—made with Plymouth gin, and maraschino and violet liqueurs—was a floral complement to whipped lardo on toast, sprinkled with coarse rosemary salt ($4). The bitterness of a classic spritz (white wine, Campari and club soda; $13) cut the richness of the cacciatorini (pork salami, $7). All of this bodes well for the Gramercy Park Hotel’s penthouse bar, accessible for now only via keycard. Though it’s currently operated by the hotel, team Meyer plans to take over management of the space in 2010. With its series of richly appointed chambers, a wood-burning fireplace and low-slung couches surrounded by greenery, it’s one of the city’s most beautiful hideaways. If the bar at Maialino is any indication, Gramercy could soon have another nightlife destination on its hands.
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The best new hotel bars