Bemelmans Bar

Bars, Lounges Lenox Hill
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
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Bemelmans Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Don Riddle

Choice acts keep New York’s most dapper nightspot on the map, while the steep cover charge and white-jacketed service makes sure riffraff doesn’t scuff up the bar’s most valued draw: original Ludwig Bemelmans murals. Mixologist Brian Van Flandern’s spiffy (and pricey) potions preserve the bar’s classic character. Try the popular Paradise cocktail (pear vodka, Aneri and prosecco with lime and bitters), or a rum, lime, tonic and Martell cognac concoction named for the spot’s longtime barkeep, Tommy Rowles.


Venue name: Bemelmans Bar
Address: The Carlyle, 35 E 76th St
New York
Cross street: at Madison Ave
Opening hours: Mon–Sat 11am–1am; Sun noon–midnight
Transport: Subway: 6 to 77th St
Price: Cover (after 9:30pm): $20–$35. Average drink: $20. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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David C

In search of a watering hole with plenty of atmosphere, taste and that old New York style of casual sophistication? Look no further than this dimly lit bar adjacent to the majestic Carlyle hotel. Bemelmans takes its name from the prolific novelist and children’s book author Ludwig Bemelmans (1898–1962), who covered the bar’s walls in his signature fantastical drawings (an elephant ice skating in Central Park, dogs having a picnic, that sort of thing). The waiters are highly professional and nattily attired in uniforms; there is a bottomless serving dish of nuts, cheesy crackers and potato chips; and often there’s a silken-fingered pianist plying his trade. Oh, yes, and cocktails. The martini is top-shelf and packs a punch. The Old Cuban is perfect if you’ve ducked in from a hot summer day. Or any season, really. The burger sliders and fries will help you cushion the booze. None of this is cheap, but if you’re fine with spending a $150 or more on some drinks and a bite, you won’t regret it.

Katie L

This cozy bar on the Upper East Side is discreetly charming and decadent at the same time. It takes you back to another era--waiters wear white jackets alongside live piano music (and sometimes even trios). The murals on the wall are by famed artist and children's book author, Ludwig Bemelman, author of the Madeline books. Martinis are to die for--and even though they are $25, you get a sidecar, which is basically another entire drink. Cover applies after 9pm but is totally worth it. Perfect romantic date night spot.