Bar 54: A Reason To Go To Times Square?
All images by Edmund DeGuzman.
Chances are if you live in New York City, you don’t love Times Square. This is one statement that I believe applies to natives and transplants alike. However, if your office isn't in midtown, there will inevitably be a time where you will have to go to the area - probably when a friend is visiting you from out of town. So why not make the best of it and drink well? Perhaps this wasn’t the inspiring idea behind Bar 54, the new sky-high bar in the Hyatt Times Square curated by Julie Reiner, but for locals, it will be the enduring one.
Bar 54 is located on - you guessed it - the 54th floor of the Hyatt. Clubby and slick, this is one cocktail bar that refuses the mold of speakeasy. Instead, Bar 54 offers a sumptuous and ambient layout comprised of both an indoor and outdoor rooftop area. The modern couches and tabletops are hotel chic, and the space is generous. Times Square is filled with plenty of pubs, so if you’re looking for a place that’s more on the cool and trendy side, Bar 54 should do the trick.
Of course, what you’ll really come for are the cocktails. Famed Julie Reiner (of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge) has done an excellent job of creating a list of hotel cocktails that are both unique and easily enjoyed. You can’t get too experimental at a hotel bar, because you need drinks that are sure to please a wide demographic of people. In other words, drinks that are straightforwardly pleasing. However, these aren’t your typical lazy flavored vodka+juice+tonic concoctions you’ll often see on hotel menus. While the cocktails I sampled were mostly on the sweeter side, they were intriguing and creative while still maintaining mass quaffability.
Take the Brighton Beets for instance. Beet infused vodka, Tanqueray, lemon juice, Cointreau, Fonseca ruby Port, simple syrup, and crushed ice. First of all, I love the way beets are making their way into cocktails (see: Mace), because they’re an ingredient that’s both sweet and complex. The Brighton Beets a drink that’s daring on a hotel menu, but still light enough that it should be a hit with a crowd. Then we have the Rhapsody in Rye, which I believe to be a take on the classic Manhattan: Bulleit rye, Dolin dry vermouth, Amaro Ramazzotti, Benedictine, Angostura bitters, and orange bitters. This was the stiffest drink I tried, but the Benedictine definitely softened it out without muting the rye.
The Colletti Royale (Partida Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, St. Germain, orange and lime juice, orange bitters) and Doctor’s Note (Laird’s Bonded applejack, lemon juice, ginger syrup cinnabark syrup, Angostura bitters) were both fruit-forward drinks that will be sure to satisfy those who typically prefer Tequila sunrises and hot toddies. Other cocktails I did not try include classics like the Vesper and Americano, as well as a range of other cocktails, plus punches, a tight wine list, and a small but quality selection of beer. The light bites include charcuterie, Spanish octopus, and a porchetta sandwich.
Do be warned, the drinks may not be hotel bar basic, but they are hotel bar expensive - upward of $20, in fact. However, if you rarely visit Times Square, so why not do it with conviction?
Visit Bar 54:
135 W 45th St, 54th Fl, New York 10036
(Between 6th & 7th Ave)
Follow them at @BarFiftyFour