It’s not surprising that Sid Gold’s Request Room is the kind of bar where everyone knows everyone—you don’t get much more niche than a Chelsea-set piano bar. The campy joint effort of Beauty Bar proprietor Paul Devitt and Loser’s Lounge founder (and Psychedelic Furs ivory tickler) Joe McGinty, Sid’s has the kind of downtown clout that draws New York notables (Parker Posey, Andrew Rannells), without the velvet-rope snootiness. Instead, a pink-bowtied gent cheerfully ushers you through the velvet surtains separating the tamer front bar from the razzly-dazzly clubhouse in back, an anything-goes sanctuary of Hemingway daiquiris and Celine Dion belt-alongs.
ORDER THIS: Cocktails ($13) that are both girlishly pink and seriously stiff. The El Pepino Fresco distracts from tequila’s bite with soothing cucumber and elderflower liqueur, tinged rosy with a pepper-smoke dash of Creole bitters, while the blush-hued goes-down-easy Texas Porch Sipper offsets a generous vodka pour with blackberry puree, fresh mint and a sweet swirl of honey. Snacks of the midcentury variety, including plump shrimp cocktail ($12) and radish-flecked deviled eggs ($7), round out the menu.
GOOD FOR: Grown-up theater kids. (Fittingly, the place is named after a Broadway agent.) At 9pm nightly, game guests flip through karaoke-style songbooks, decamp from lowly lit half-moon booths and take to the stage, accompanied by a pianist on a Baldwin baby grand. Show tunes and cheese-ball ballads are well represented, but for every Tanya Tucker wannabe, there’s a Taylor Swift channeler to liven up the multigenerational crowd.
THE CLINCHER: The bar’s $10 Monday-night series brings in a rotating cast of performers, including one-man orchestra Corn Mo and gay Aussie troubadour Brett Every. A recent night hosted the cabaret hijinks of Angela Di Carlo, serving up melodic vignettes on issues both topical (Caitlyn Jenner) and not so much (leggings as pants). At the set’s end, Di Carlo toasted the lively room with “may your drinks be gay-bar strong!” Oh, they are, Ang, they sure are.