Really high as in: 65 floors up.
In case you haven’t heard, the 80-year-old Rainbow Room (where we once partied with Jay-Z following his Radio City show — not bragging or anything) reopened this week after a five-year hiatus. That and the Subway Inn’s imminent closure (temporary, thank goodness) seemed like a good excuse for us to venture into midtown last night.
As of now, dinner is only served on Mondays — with venerable acts like The Roots and the Count Basie Orchestra performing supper club-style — but the cocktail lounge, SixtyFive, is open to walk-ins every night of the weekday so long as they aren’t wearing sneakers.
We learned this the hard way, when the hostess at mezzanine level peered down at our lowly tweed shoes and informed us of the “strict” “business casual” dress code.
No way were we having this: we had just spotted Michael Che (once of LES, now of SNL) in the 30 Rock lobby and he was wearing, like, a hoodie to work. So, come on.
Sure enough, cooler heads prevailed and we were zipped up to the 65th floor, where, despite it being October and all, the outdoor terrace was unexpectedly open. This afforded a glorious view of the Empire State Building, which was twinkling petulantly in honor of its own brand-new restaurant.
But it was also clearly a ludicrous choice of seating, since wind gusts kept blowing over our complimentary cheesy breadsticks and candied popcorn. I was afraid my martini glass was going to fly off, leaving me to grab hold of it and float away like a sauced Mary Poppins.
About those martinis: they are $20. Yep, twenty smackaroos for some gin and vermouth. A simple negroni is $26. At least one cocktail is $30 (if you don’t believe me, see the drank menu here). These prices are insane by earthling standards, but when you consider that a ticket to the Top of the Rock observation deck (essentially the same view) is $29 without the alcohol or the breadsticks, it’s an absolute bargain.
Festooned with marble and plush carpeting, SixtyFive’s interior evokes a swank airport lounge — though it’s not quite as luxurious feeling as the Standard’s Boom Boom Room (get a mid-century modern fireplace and we’ll talk). Disappointingly, the view out of the 10-foot-tall windows (which, outside, extends from the Freedom Tower to the George Washington Bridge) is marred by the reflections off of the terrace’s thick glass panels.
But whatever: fact is, if you have money to burn (or parents staying in midtown) you should get up here before it becomes completely overrun with tourists and Russian oligarchs. The lounge is so new that it was practically empty during our visit, but the out-of-town suit asking his waiter to recommend the city’s best burger was a sign of things to come.
Bonus: even the men’s bathroom has a view. And a swank shoe polish station, to boot.