I have this thing for old-world hotel bars. The great thing is this obsession gives you a glimpse into some classic hotels, minus the expensive overnight stays. The Carlyle on Madison Ave in New York City is no exception. I finally got around to Bemelman’s Bar last year and I was thrilled by how marvelously dark and cozy it was inside. When your eyes adjust to the dim lighting, the next surprise is the Ludwig Bemelman commissioned mural. Look familiar? Think the childrens’ book Madeline!! These illustrations were made in exchange for an 18-month stay at the hotel. You’ll want to get here before 9:30 pm. There is a $25 cover charge for the music, but there’ s a easy work around. Slide into your banquette (with its silver-tiered tray of salty potato chips and cheese straws) before the first pianist starts playing jazz standards at 5:30 pm and you’ll only need to manage the tab for your NYC priced cocktails. If you plan on about $20 a drink, you’ll be properly prepared.
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