New York City, keenly personified by concrete and steel, continues to reign as the global epicenter for artistic expression, as it has for over three centuries. On the city’s naked streets, culinary artisans mingle with fine artists but rarely do the two exhibit their work together. We’ve uncovered our top picks for food and drink, served with a side of art, in the city that rarely sleeps.

Best Bars in NYC to Drink and see some fantastic art.

Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel. The bar is named after Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books and houses Ludwig’s only public work of art. His mural depicts whimsical scenes of Central Park of picnicking rabbits and ice skating elephants. The bar maintains its Art Deco vibe with chocolate-brown leather banquettes, an impressive 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling, and continues to attract socialites, politicians, movie stars and moguls.

Bars in NYC

FUN FACTS: Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations, at The Carlyle, for himself and his family.

Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle
35 East 76th St, NY, NY

 


Casa Lever. All-time favorite and perhaps the most impressive of the establishments in Manhattan that showcase original works of art on its’ walls: Casa Lever. This Italian restaurant features 32 original portraits by Andy Warhol worth more than $50 million. Guests can view the silk-screen paintings, while sipping cocktails, at the bar or move into the dining room for dinner and an up close and gastronomic experience: dining under a Warhol.

Bars in NYC

FUN FACTS: Casa Lever is housed in the landmarked Lever House in Midtown and some of the famous faces, done by Warhol, include: Alfred Hitchcock, Dennis Hopper, Aretha Franklin and Giorgio Armani.

Casa Lever
390 Park Avenue, NY, NY

 


The Drunken Horse. This wine bar, located in Manhattan’s West Chelsea art district, is a stones throw from galleries like Gagosian Gallery, Pace Gallery and ACA Gallery.  The bar attracts the yuccie-types – young urban creatives, where they can sip on a variety of great wines and sample the Turkish-inspired small plates menu while admiring great artwork by local artists. Currently on exhibit are oil paintings by Laurance Rassin and David Noah Burliuk, artists and founding members of the New Blue Riders art movement.

Bars in NYC

 

FUN FACTS: The owner of the Drunken Horse also owns Wine Escape in Hell’s Kitchen and Le Pif on the Upper West Side.

The Drunken Horse
225 10th Avenue, NY, NY

 


King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel. This iconic cocktail lounge is located inside The St. Regis Hotel and has seen some famous guests including Salvador Dali, Marilyn Monroe, Joe DiMaggio and John Lennon. The mural, titled “Old King Cole” by Maxfield Parrish, hangs impressively above the bar and was commissioned in 1906 by hotel owner Colonel John Jacob Astor. In 2007 the mural underwent an extensive $100,000 restoration.

Bars in NYC

FUN FACTS: The “Old King Cole” mural contains a famous secret that only the St. Regis bartenders know. Many mixologists believe the Bloody Mary made its first U.S. appearance in the King Cole Bar by famed barman Fernand Petiot in 1934. The drink was renamed the “Red Snapper” since Bloody Mary was deemed too vulgar at that time.

King Cole Bar at the St. Regis
2 East 55th Street, NY, NY

 

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About The Author

Profile photo of Tracy
Suite & Savory Writer

I believe that even though we may speak different languages and hail from different parts of the world, when it comes to food and the desire to eat, we all speak the same language.