You may have seen the beautifully painted murals of characters from the classic children’s books, Madeline, written by Ludwig Bemelman on the walls at a bar…that bar is Bemelmans Bar. Bemelmans is located right inside The Carlyle hotel and is a quintessential cocktail bar in Manhattan and such an iconic establishment that even Carrie Bradshaw, known to attend all the hotspots, took her assistant for cocktails in the first Sex and the City movie to Bemelmans Bar.
The bar opened its doors to patrons in 1947 and has been nothing but a major deal. Literally across from Dowling’s, one has the luxury to walk into Bemelmans Bar and witness a jam packed space due to the allure of the impeccable mixology program, tasty bites, and vibe it has to offer. Some of Manhattan’s best jazz pianists have gained the privilege to play the piano at the establishment, which continues to feature live music every single day by prominent performers such as Emmy Award winning composer Earl Rose, Rob Mosci, Loston Harris, David Budway, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch. All musicians have made the rapport by playing classics from the Great American Songbook, however, patrons may hear songs from more contemporary artists too.
Even though Bemelmans Bar was restored in 2002 by renowned designer Thierry Despont, the bar kept its Art Deco aesthetic, captured by the chocolate-brown leather banquettes, nickel-trimmed black glass table tops, a dramatic black granite bar, and a beautiful 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling.
At Bemelmans Bar, the world is truly your oyster, as one has a wide range of choices to choose from on the drink menu. Drinks such as specialty cocktails, martinis, wines, champagnes, classics, and more are available to enjoy for a nightcap. Of course, you can pair drinks with shared plates like a refreshing Octopus Carpaccio, juicy Prime Aged Beef Sliders, a crispy Croque Monsieur, among others. For my nightcap, I followed Carrie’s footsteps and had a Cosmopolitan, my favorite cocktail of all time. The Cosmopolitan was refreshing, strong, and delicately, whipped up to satisfy one’s cocktail craving.
Bemelmans is open Monday to Saturday from 12pm to 1:30am and Sunday from 12pm to midnight. Patrons can savor classic cocktails while jamming to vivacious music, in addition to live solo performances by any of the performers above every Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30pm to 8:30pm, as well as a jazz trio every Tuesday through Thursday from 9:30 pm to 12:30 am, Friday and Saturday evenings from 9:30pm to 1:00am, and Sundays from 9:00am to midnight.