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The Moxy’s Recreation is the tucked-in polo shirt of bars. It’s not our style—both sartorially and venue-wise—but there was a large crowd that certainly seemed to be enjoying it on the weeknight when we went, so if that’s your look, then go for it, sport.
Inside the Financial District hotel, elevator doors open to a 5,000-square-foot area that, during bankers’ hours, is a communal workspace, but by happy hour it becomes a bar and the preferred fuel changes from coffee to cocktails. The intent was to make Recreation feel like “the ultimate living room for the neighborhood,” with shuffleboard, Skee-Ball and Ms. Pac-Man in digs hugged by warm wood and throwback, yellowish lighting. That sounds good on paper—and looks great in photos—but, in person, it felt as if Refinery29 Rooms had built a 30th facade called “Cool-Guy Man Cave” and dropped it in Manhattan.
The on-tap cocktails and shared plates do have the going-over-to-a-friend’s-house-to-watch-the-game vibe—that is, if your friend is adept at mixing a pitcher of margaritas (note, however: there are no TVs at Recreation). Curiously, even though the cocktails were premade, the service crawled, but the snacks were dad-on-Pinterest-level cute: We are now adding the everything-bagel–inspired flatbread and the chicken-and-waffles on a stick to our Super Bowl menu.
In a room off the bar sits a slick, single-hoop basketball court. A private holiday party was underway—the space is open to the public, when not rented—but we crashed it. Smartly, some farsighted manager had locked the balls away lest we start a game of H-O-R-S-E (“Underhand, from behind the cheese platter”) around the well-heeled guests. For trying, we award Recreation a participation trophy.