It’s been two years since I have updated my list and I thought it was time to do it again. Many of you that know me know I am a creature of habit and I don’t like change. That being said The Roof at Aretsky’s Patroon is still the champ at No. 1. Some of the staff is gone but the new staff picked up where the old left off and now that it is Autumn and not so hot The Roof will be even better. I am pleased to let you know that I have three new additions to my Top Ten and sorry all of them are above 34th Street. Coming in at No. 6 is Randolph’s. Randolph’s is a great blend of Old New York and Old Hollywood. At No. 8 is Monkey Bar. Monkey bar looks and feels like a scene out of Mad Men. At No. 9 the bar at Club Macanudo. The Club as I like to call it has a great staff and you can SMOKE! One honorable mention I would like to add is the roof top at the new Knickerbocker Hotel this is a great place and I am sure it will crack the top 10 for 2016. We also had some movers up and down so check out the complete list below:
- The Roof At Patroon’s – (160 East 46th Street) – Still Reigning Champ!! A small roof top bar at the top of Aretsky’s Patroon is a great midtown hide-a-way, with Great staff and Great Bar food (the best Pig’s in a Blanket & Onion Rings Anywhere). Even though the Staff has changed they are still the best of anywhere period. They know how to pour a drink and of course you are able to light up your Cigar after 2pm. It is a real credit to the owner and great gentleman and more importantly my friend Ken Aretsky
- Blue Bar – (59 West 44th Street) – Very Old School New York, located in the Algonquin Hotel (a NYC Landmark). When you enter you step back in time to the New York City that I love and miss. I have dubbed Christian the bartender as “THE BEST BARTENDER in NYC”. His signature drink is his Old Fashion. He remembers everyone’s drink and name. A must go
- Bemelmans Bar – (35 East 76th Street) – Tucked inside the Carlyle Hotels is an old fashioned dark, low ceilings, great staff and great drinks. Oh and by the way live Jazz nightly.
- King Cole Bar – (2 East 55th Street) – This New York City landmark. Their signature cocktail is the “Bloody Mary” which is believed to have morphed from the “Red Snapper” which was served at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
- Campbell Apartment – (89 East 42nd Street Grand Central Station) – Another Old School Bar that has the charm of Prohibition era. Make reservations it get very crowed
- Randolph’s – (65 West 54th Street) Randolph’s is nestled inside the Warwick Hotel this is a great old school lounge named after William Randolph Hearst who built the hotel for his mistress Marion Davies. The have real bartenders who know how to pour a cocktail.
- Carnegie Club – (156 West 56th Street) – One of the last Cigar Bars in New York. Great drinks and atmosphere. Cigar prices are a little steep, you can bring your own, but you will have to pay a cutting fee. Saturday nights are the best. Almost every Saturday night you can see two shows of Sinatra Saturday’s with Steve Maglio & the Stan Rubin Orchestra
- Monkey Bar – (60 East 54th Street) is another old school bar with great bartenders. It is a saloon that makes you feel like you just stepped onto the set of Mad Men. Great spot for food also.
- Cub Macanudo – (26 East 63Rd Street) The semi-private club has a huge circular bar reminiscent of the Original Toots Shor’s place on 51st. The staff is incredible they service is terrific and the bar tenders are getting better.
- The Bar at Patroon’s – (160 East 46th Street) – A small cool little bar on the ground floor of Aretsky’s Patroon. Same Great staff as the Roof, but small quiet, great place for a business cocktail.
Recently I have been reading about celebrities who don’t tip. This week a big story on Twitter was how Warren Sapp didn’t tip a waitress because she called him and his guest boys. Not leaving a tip on a $69 tap is just shameful.
Many restaurants are beginning to ban tipping. I know several restaurants that automatically include the tip on the bill or even give the customer what the amount of a 15%, 18% or 20% would be.
I know I am old school and I wear that badge with pride. I know that many people are frustrated with tips because you feel like you don’t have a choice and have to give an 18% tip whether service is good or bad. However I believe that tipping should not be banned or curtailed it should be embraced. Yes folks I don’t only believing in tipping I believe in OVER tipping. Here is the reason why:
- Don’t be cheap – wait staff, valets, bellmen, and any other people that we tip regularly work for less than minimum wage. This is legal because of Tips. I learned in my short time in the Hotel business that many hotel staff receives double pay on their vacation days, because they don’t get tips when they are off.
- You get better service – I know people say, “They share the tips”. SO WHAT. The problem with people is they tip after the service. Try tipping before your serviced. When you park you car with a valet tip him/her when you drop your car off. They will appreciate it and take better care of you car. The staff receiving tips learns very quickly who are good tippers.
Many of you that know me, know that I frequent a small number of establishments that I like and probably 80% of the time I go to one of five places (Look at my Top 10 Restaurants and Saloons). I do this because I like being a regular customer, the staff knows me and knows that if they “Take Care of me”, and I will Take Care of Them. Here are some of my rules for tipping:
- The tip should match the service. My bench mark for a tip starts at 20% (15% for cocktails only) and I work from there. If service is terrible I may go as low as 5% and let the staff or management know I wasn’t pleased with the service. However for exceptional service I have given at times over a 100% tip. Both methods work. Every time I have given an extreme tip either to low or too high the next time at that establishment my service improved.
- Give Cash Tips Prior to Service – There is nothing wrong and the staff greatly appreciates cash tips prior to service. If I am dining with an important client, or want to make sure that I am going to be taken care of that evening I will slip the staff a twenty spot at the very beginning of the night. Many times the staff puts the cash tip in their pocket and don’t share the tip. Cash tips prior to service works real well at the following:
- Wait Staff at a Casino – Tip big in the beginning and they will keep the drinks flowing
- Wedding and Networking events – bartenders and wait staff at “open bar events” do not get a lot in tips. So when ordering your first cocktails explain what you like and slip them a $20 and see how your service improves. Two years ago I was at a business event and I did this at the beginning of the night. When the bar was crazy the Host of the event was waiting for a drink for quite sometime. I went up to him to say hello and to get another drink and the bartender handed me my cocktail. The Host of the event said to me “doesn’t she know I am paying the bill?” I replied, “YOU ARE PAYING THE BILL, I AM PAYING THE BARTENDER!”
PLEASE NOTE: When giving a cash tip please do it discreetly, you don’t want anyone to know.
Bottom line is folks, tipping is a good old-fashioned policy. In this age where so many traditions are going by the wayside, let’s keep this one alive and tip often and tip well.
Many people have been complaining I haven’t made a post in awhile. Well its true and the simple is reason was it was Tax Season. Many of you know that I am a CPA by trade (that’s how I pay my bills) and during January through April I work between 60 hours and 75 hours per week. Well it is the Month of May now and that is all behind me. Over the next several months I am going to expose some what I will call fraud’s in the world of Fashion, Cigars, Booze, and Gambling. What else did you think I would be discussing POLITICS? I will leave that to the Maroon’s of the world and stick with something important.
On Thursday, I will be going on a nine day Pilgrimage to the center of my faith: Las Vegas! This is my first trip to Las Vegas since starting The Art of Livin and I am a little nervous. I get nervous because every time I go to Las Vegas the city changes so much and most of those changes are never to my liking. However there are some exciting things going on in the Holy City (It’s not Sin City to me) in 2014. First the Old Barbary Coast (that’s what it was called before Bill’s Gaming House) has had a $180 Million upgrade and has opened as the Cromwell. Drais After Hours (Vegas’ Top After Hours Club for years) is back along with Drais Beachclub on the Roof of the hotel (they stole my idea). The official opening is Memorial Day weekend, but the casino is open now. So I am excited to see if they kept true to the soul of Las Vegas or did they destroy it. I am going to be optimistic. Another attraction is the High Roller, the world’s largest Ferris Wheel. Yes I am going on it and will give a full report.
Lastly, later this year the Sahara Hotel and Casino will be re-born under the name of SLS Las Vegas. Hopefully like a Born – Again Christian the SLS will be New and Improved. While I am disappointed that the Casino will not be called the Sahara, I am optimistic that the new owners did not completely abandon the legacy of one of the greatest casino ever. Unlike the Venetian who doesn’t even have a plaque or anything noting that the greatest casino the SANDS was located on this spot. SLS still has photo’s of the old Sahara on their website. The hotel towers were renovated not imploded. So when I go back in October, I will walk through the doors of the SLS Casino and remember this is the Sahara. Again I am being optimistic about the SLS Las Vegas, will be like Caesars Palace Be New and True.
So I apologize to those who have missed my hearing about my view of the world. When I return I will give you a complete update on the “STATE OF LAS VEGAS”. I am proud to say our numbers are growing and we are going to continue to grow. Please like the page on Facebook and tell your friends about the Blog.
Thank you again for all your support.
So here we are snowed in yet again. This winter is torture, it seems like we get hit with a snowstorm at least once a week and when it doesn’t snow its 15 degrees out. It’s cold, its stressful, and just very depressing. I know I have been cranky because of it. Most of you that know me know that traditionally I love the winter. I love when it gets dark at 5pm. This year is different and I am with the rest of you – I AM SICK OF IT. Ben Franklin once said: “There are only two things that you can be certain about and that is Death & Taxes.” Well he for got three things:
- The Sun will rise in the East
- The Sun will set in the West
- The Seasons will change
So I am here to tell in 24 Sunrises and Sunsets the clocks Spring Ahead and it will it will no longer be dark at 5pm and 12 Sunrises and Sunsets after that, it will be spring. So we have some things to look forward to. So as the ultimate pessimist that I am I am very excited because in a very short time from now it there will be no snow, warmer weather, longer day light and most importantly THE ROOF AT ARETSKY’S PATROON WILL BE OPEN. You really cannot understand the joy I get when I look out my office window down onto the Roof and I see Miguel, Scott, Jessica and the rest of the crew getting ready for a busy night. I look at my watch and smile because I know its ‘TINI TIME”. I reach into my humidor and take out some Avo #2s, put my jacket on fix my tie and put my hat on. I get an extra jump in my step as I walk out on 46th Street to cross to open that Red Door. When the door opens I am welcomed home by the wonderful restaurant staff. They greet me as if I was away for months, but I was just here yesterday. Then I head up the steps saying to anyone who would listen “THEY NEED AN ESCALATOR IN THIS PLACE’ I make it to the top and open the door to the Roof. I have arrived on The Roof, a little bit of Heaven in the middle of Midtown Manhattan. I go to my spot at the Bar my Jack Daniels on the Rocks is waiting for me along with my ashtray. I cut my cigar and light it. Take a sip of my Jack and begin my 45-minute vacation. In a short time Pally’s show up, then the Pigs in the Blanket, Onion Rings, French Fries, and Radishes. It truly is a magical place. There is a reason it is number 1 on my top 10 list, but in truth is the #2 place should really be #11, because nothing comes close to The Roof at Patroon.
So when I look at my window at all the snow coming down and know I have to go out soon and shovel it, I close my eyes and know in 36 days until I break out my straw hats along with my spring and summer suits come and all the bright colors. Before we know it Memorial Day will be here with the beach and BBQ and let’s not forget Seer Sucker Suits and two-toned shoes.
I know most of us hate winter, but it’s the winter that makes spring and summer so special. So keep your spirits up for THE ROOF AT PATROON will be open real soon.