This is a view. Possibly The View. Empire State soaring into the sunset, the city spread out below in a sparkling patchwork. A mere five stories above, tourists have paid $30 to admire this vista, and here you are, on the 65th floor, no cover charge required, sipping a cocktail in what has to be one of the most spectacular bars in the city.
The catch? The gin ‘n’ tonic’s going to set you back $22. (Or, as I like to think of it, winning by +$8.) And would you just Look At That View?
Opening next to the newly spruced-up Rainbow Room, SixtyFive (30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th floor) takes advantage of a previously unused roof space to open up the lounge to al fresco imbibing for the first time in over 80 years. Outside, the terrace is sleekly, somewhat starkly, sexy, and surprisingly modern, with glass barriers offering an unlimited picture of the city. Inside, the lounge is designed along more classic lines, with dashes of extravagance — the tabletops are made from mother-of-pearl, for example. (But with a view like that in every direction, who’s looking at them?)
Cocktails have been served with this view since 1934, which is pretty much as fast as they could get the shakers in the elevators once Prohibition ended. Cocktails remain the house specialty. The list is equally divided between classics and more unexpected concoctions such as the Revolution (Singani 63, lemon, Yann Bertrand Fleurie, and egg whites).
Small plates and snacks are designed for fancy nibbling alongside: sweetly spiced nuts (heavy on the macadamias), tart green olives, breadsticks with anchovies, a tray of oysters, a perfect wagyu short rib slider. There’s also a sushi menu and a selection of desserts.
There are no table reservations. The elevator doors open at 5 p.m., and there’s room with the view for fewer than 100 people, so there’s a fair chance you’ll spend some portion of your night waiting in the lobby of 30 Rock. But even so, if you have a spark of old-school romance in your city-loving soul (and $30 in your pocket), this would be worth it. So worth it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 16, 2015