I have not been to New York in years, but one of THE places to see and be seen is the Old King Cole bar at the St. Regis Hotel, rumored to be the birthplace of the Bloody Mary. The St. Regis has decided that they really don’t want old duffers like me around, preferring a younger, trendier and more international clientele. To that end they have spent about $90 million to refurbish the bar and dining room.
At the restaurant at the St. Regis New York hotel, the white tablecloths and oversize flower arrangements are gone. In their place: metal-studded chairs, zebra prints and funky topiaries.
The transformation of the hotel’s restaurant, bar and lounge into the King Cole Bar & Salon, which opened this week, is part of a $90 million renovation of the 109-year-old hotel.
The venerable King Cole Bar, opened in 1932 and said to be the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, has long been one of the city’s most popular watering holes. But the buzz tended to stop at the bar door: The adjacent restaurant, formerly dubbed “Astor Court” (named for John Jacob Astor, the hotel’s first owner), was sleepy in the evenings. To draw more of the bar’s energy out into the lounge and restaurant, designers connected the spaces visually by yanking a central seating area and massive flower arrangement. The result: Diners now have an unobstructed view of the bar’s famed 30-foot-long Maxfield Parrish mural, which shows Old King Cole on his throne.
Next time in New York, stop by, have a Bloody Mary and pretend to be French. Bring plenty of money.