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Raise a glass to nostalgic decadence with classic cocktails and live jazz at Fine & Rare

By
Alyson Penn
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Every bit of flare and fancy at Fine & Rare harkens back to Old New York, from the midcentury-style Chesterfield sofas to the Art Deco wallpaper to the vintage teller windows sourced from the nearby Grand Central Terminal. Set on a quiet street near the Morgan Library & Museum, this sophisticated spirits den from Tommy Tardie, proprietor of the whiskey-forward Flatiron Room, oozes retro glam beyond the tufted leather banquettes and oversize fireplace—we’re talking live jazz acts crooning onstage and a $15,000 bottle of whiskey on the menu. It could all seem gauche in 2017, but if you’ve been wanting to feel like a magnate of yore, this is your spot.

ORDER THIS: Novel takes on classic cocktails include the Choose Your Own Smoke old-fashioned ($20), which comes with a choice of a rye or rum base that’s then smoked with either hickory, applewood, mesquite or cherrywood. The resulting elixir is a fireplace-scented quaff with just enough sweetness (a swipe of fig jam for the rum version, a sprinkling of demerara sugar for the rye) to lighten the smog. For something more youthful, the gin-based Forever Young ($15) has all of the fresh virtues of pressed juice, with mango puree and cucumber and lime juices working to make a tart, fruity cocktail that graciously doesn’t fall into saccharine territory.

Liquor lockers at Fine & Rare
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

GOOD FOR: Rare-liquor geeks. That bar name doesn’t lie; the drinks list highlights pricey, hard-to-find bottles like a 1966 Glenfarclas ($102 for a one-ounce pour, $3,267 for the whole shebang) or 1978 Glenmorangie Pride ($481 per pour, $15,401 per bottle). Accessible via library-style rolling ladders, those bottles are housed in liquor lockers above the bar as part of a bottle-keep program à la its sister spot, the Flatiron Room: Bargoers can buy a full bottle of nearly any spirit on the menu and have it stored in one of the cubbies for future use. 

Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

THE CLINCHER: Live jazz, no cover? Suh-weet. Every night, throwback bands take to the stage—a spiral-ribbed bandstand lit up by LED colored lights—from 5:30 to 8:30pm and 9pm to midnight, crooning a playlist that pulls from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. Tap your toe to Frank Sinatra’s “I’ll Be Seeing You” or Carol Channing’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” while tucking into small plates like burrata with blood orange and pistachio ($14) and tuna sashimi with pickled sea beans and watermelon radish ($18). Really looking to impress that someone special? A seafood tower for two, stocked with fresh oysters, briny clams and lobster claws, is a decent deal at $68. You may not have the bank account of a baller, but at Fine & Rare, you can act like you do.

Fine & Rare
✭✭✭✭
9 E 37th St (212-725-3866, fineandrare.nyc). Average cocktail: $15.

F&R Cloud at Fine & Rare
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran
Garden of Eden at Fine & Rare
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran
Burrata at Fine & Rare
Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

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