The Rose Club at The Plaza
Old New York opulence oozes from the iconic Plaza Hotel. The institution's The Rose Club offers a charming plot for a romantic sip, with delightfully ostentatious decor and formally mannered staff. The Plaza's lobby is big, so when searching for The Rose Club, look up and follow the pink light. Colored light fixtures, casting a dim, pink glow, drape the space in a subdued, romantic air. The décor is magenta and gold-colored glitz: mahogany wood paneling, velvety sofas and carefully placed throw pillows. It's like the parlor of a Western European Duchess—if our imaginary duchess had hopped across the pond to her Vegas pied-à-terre. Live jazz—every Wednesday and Thursday evening—adds to the charm. Old jazz standards go marvelously with a champagne cocktail (the bartender makes a smooth champagne and apricot liquor ditty upon request, garnished with a dried apricot). Cocktails don't come cheap—most are $22-23—but so goes life at The Plaza. This is New York, after all. The Vesper (gin, vodka, Lillet), which was invented and popularized by the James Bond novel Casino Royale in 1953, has the strength of three drinks. Trays of popcorn and candied nuts (oh, the candied nuts!) make for nice between-sip snacks. Cheese plates are elaborate and generous. Negronis (gin, Campari, dry vermouth) are textbook. Mon-Fri 4 p.m.-midnight, Sat & Sun noon-midnight.