All good bars tell a story. Harlem’s 67 Orange Street does so literally, binding its drink menu within used books. Crack the spine to learn you are sitting in what used to be Almack’s Dance Hall, established in the 1840s as one of the first black-owned bars in New York City. The former speakeasy, then in a neighborhood known for its “dodgy gangsters and dangerous liaisons,” was a place where, according to drink-menu prose, “couples drowned in the syncopatic tunes of a newly emerging jazz-infused rhythm.”
At KGB Bar, one may find a certain comfort in witnessing the trivialities of East Village bar culture play out against the red glare of Soviet communism.
No matter your point of origin, getting to Bemelmans Bar takes a considerable amount of travelroughly seventy years into the past. Thankfully the golden revolving door of the Carlyle Hotel is a kind of time machine, spinning you into its Art Deco lobby, resplendent with a sparkling showcase of Estate Fine Jewelry.