Finding an ethereal nightcap on the Upper East Side’s nearly as challenging as stumbling upon a third-wave espresso on the crawl home from Dorrian’s, but Bemelmans Bar boasts a timeless drinks list that still stirs nearly 15 years after legendary bartender Audrey Saunders stirred her last manhattan here. Cocktails are pricey — you’ll spy a number of pearl-clasped gullets in the crowd, after all — but they’re as well-crafted as the bar’s namesake’s golden-hued murals, which still line the walls. Slip into a table that’s knee-knockingly close to your neighbor, and soak in the songbook jazz, presented live nightly. Get the full effect by ordering something classic, like an old-fashioned or a martini.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2014