Tonight we decided to start our extended goodbye to New York by revisiting a couple of our favourite cocktail bars, one uptown and one downtown, with the obligatory white knuckle taxi ride between the two.
Salon de Ning
Perched on top of the Peninsula Hotel on 55th Street, the Salon de Ning comes complete with Shanghai madam portraits hung flat on the ceiling, a mid-level view through the forest of skyscrapers down to Central Park and a semi-serious cocktail list. There are occasional traces of cigar-chomping-mid-town-macho, however, so try to go off peak (and try not to order a single malt on the rocks with a cocktail straw). If you ever find yourself living as happy expats in New York and trying to impress out of towners, this is the place; we are thoroughly looking forward to bookending our trip as out of towners in Felix’s at the top of the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong (hi Kean!). The Passion Martini is short, sweet and deceptively fierce. They also do beautiful things with cucumbers and orchids, although fortunately not at the same time.
We have history at the Soho Grand. Although I like to think that I eventually got the hang of business New York-style, my first serious attempt at hard-ball negotiation in the USA got Lucy and me thrown out of our first – admittedly temporary – apartment on Bleecker Street. We took our suitcases and the remnants of our dignity and checked into the Soho Grand. We had stayed here while we were apartment hunting, and with our second visit added to a growing number of difficult life decisions that were rendered surprisingly simple by the addition of a “Grand Margarita” (think a normal margarita but three times the size and with a healthy slug of Grand Marnier).
New York, we’re going to miss you.