15 September 2011
In the Heart of the Action
New York's '21' is part of the city pulse itself. There's always something happening in this landmark restaurant - especially the opening of its new Bar '21'.
Setting foot in New York is the moment to reach for superlatives. Everything about the city seems brighter, faster, bigger, more eye-popping than any other metropolis on earth. So what the newcomer (and indeed, many a harried, time-poor local) needs more than anything else is a savvy friend to ply them with great food and drink, give them the low-down on what's hot and what's not, and provide a sanctuary where they can retreat among forays into the fray.
This is something that '21' has been doing since the Prohibition era. And over the past 80 years it can claim to have perfected the art.
Introducing Bar '21'15th September 2011: A new bar and lounge on the ground floor of the iconic '21' Club is now open. Bartenders are all set to mix classic and contemporary cocktails and beer is available on tap at the black granite bar. Chef John Greeley has created a playful snack menu. Should you move on to dinner, be sure to mention that you're a guest of our hotels, trains and cruises and you'll receive a range of additional VIP amenities.
It all started out as 'party central', when a couple of likely lads called Jack and Charlie opened up a speakeasy in a beautiful old brownstone townhouse where the city's biggest hitters could relax over a glass or two.
'21' was a place to enjoy the best drink, the tastiest food and the greatest company. If anything was happening out on the town, this was where you could find out. It was somewhere you could drop by at any time, and either stay as long as it took to knock back a quick glass of whisky, or to while away the hours, late into the evening, with friends.
None of this has changed one iota: in fact, if anything, it has only intensified, like the flavours of the vintage cognacs that during the 1930s could be found nowhere else. Other things, too, have simply acquired a patina over the years, like the legendary façade with its row of jockeys that is now a city landmark and the Bar Room, its ceiling hung with its collection of 'toy' memorabilia presented by regular guests.
A Welcome for our Guests
But what has always made '21' special is the welcome, and that fact that the minute you step in side you're part of the New York scene. There's the buzz that comes from being at the heart of the action, surrounded by the city's top hotels, cultural attractions and stores.
Anyone who has stayed in one of our company's hotels or travelled on one of our luxury trains is already part of the '21' in crowd. Just let general manager Bryan McGuire know and you can expect a special welcome over a celebratory glass of champagne.
If the joint isn't overly jumpin' you will also be given a private tour of the restaurant's 'inner sanctum', the historic wine cellar. This amazing cavern sits behind a brick-faced door that, when shut, looks like a wall. Back in the 30s, when the Feds came calling, this secret entrance would be stoppered with its precious cargo safe behind. Then, as now, it would be reopened later by sticking a meat skewer in a tiny hole.
Today, the wine cellar still has an incredible display of bottles, many labelled for the well-known guests for whom they are reserved. Used for private parties, it retains that rather louche atmosphere of a place where the famous and infamous meet.