Bar Centrale NYC. Grab a cocktail! See a celeb! Find it first!

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Swanky but casual hidden cocktail lounge in an old townhouse. No seriously, you might walk right past this place if you really don’t know to climb the front steps of what looks like someone’s home and push in the front door, part the velvet curtain, and peek inside. Not too long ago when with a friend I felt like Scooby Doo and the gang investigating some haunted house that we were not supposed to be entering. So glad we did though as we enjoyed an outstanding evening here! Time for a Scooby snack! Zoinks!

Sure, it’s a bit pretentious as we were greeted by a hostess who asked if we had reservations. She advised us that there were no tables available. Even though the place was empty at this point I decided to play along with the game. In a polite manner and charming smile I explained that we didn’t have any but if there was a way to squeeze us in we would be grateful. She offered us a spot at the bar and we happily took a few seats. Personally, I enjoy being at the bar anyway in a cocktail lounge. You get to watch the mixology, and chat with the bartenders who sometimes offer very interesting stories. You get to take it all in at the bar. As old standards from the 40’s played overhead, and the small flat screen above the bar had on a vintage b/w Spencer Tracy/Katharine Hepburn movie it really set the tone and ambiance for enjoying the two Old Fashioneds we ordered to drink. Yes, this is my kind of spot.

l (3)As the night progressed we became a bit hungry. I had noticed some tasty plates of food coming out to those around us. They offer a small menu of eclectic bar bites and some entrees. We ordered a few. Curried Deviled Eggs were delicious, and the Maine Lobster & Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Sliders were awesome! I really wanted to take pictures but put away the camera phone as I did not want to look like a tourist. We just kicked back and enjoyed the moment. Plus, the service was terrific. Our food came out lightning fast, and the bartender took care of us all evening. Switched over to a nifty vodka martini. Dirty, of course. We never felt rushed or pressured to finish up. Perfect night out.

Bar Centrale is one of those speakeasy type joints that is cozy and comfortable. Above a place called Joe Allen. It’s a sexy little enclave. A mix of booths and small tables to sit at. Kind of a retro 40’s appeal and look. Reservations are suggested. Expect speakeasy prices here but pretty much the norm for this type of NYC establishment. If you can’t handle the prices, or door policy, better off hitting one of the cheaper dive bars in Hells Kitchen a few feet away. It’s a terrific spot for a pre or post theater cocktail, bite to eat, maybe even to impress someone, and a hidden gem among the Theater District restaurant row establishments. I’m all about these kinds of bars, just as much as I love a good dive or pub. Just deal with the established protocol of getting a seat if you can and you are in for a nice evening. Also, dress up a bit! Looking like a slob in sweatpants and sneakers will not help any if you are wandering in as a walk up.

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Definitely a place to escape the Times Square madness, for a date, or fun night out with a friend or two. Plus, you just might catch a few celebrities or Broadway elites in here. Saw Chris Rock stroll in the other night and not too long ago it seemed half the cast of Mad Men were in here enjoying some cocktails. Boom!



Bar Centrale –

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38 thoughts on “Bar Centrale NYC. Grab a cocktail! See a celeb! Find it first!”

  1. You know, my boy, Adrian, lives in NYC. Why don’t you work some magic? I’ll meet him at this lovely establishment any time.

  2. Love the Opening Martini promo. The place looks good. Loved your ‘play along’ routine, on your apparent oversight not making reservations in advance, velvet curtains warrant this. I like these sorts of places though and seems the music fit the atmosphere. Although… it was in one of these sorts of places…. that I experienced, well, one of my two most embarrassing bar/restaurant moments… well, ok, it was at Elaines. The bartender passed me the drink, and it slipped, crashing right to the floor beneath me- it was pure horror. I got over it though, and so did they as they swiftly cleaned my inconsiderate remains within seconds.

    1. Hey Peggy!

      Glad you enjoyed!

      Actually, I live quite close to Elaine’s. Sad to say it closed down, but a new restaurant/cocktail bar opened in it’s spot that pays a bit of homage to her and the old clientele it used to cater to. Looks like a wonderful new place I need to check out.

  3. Ah, a dirty martini and that seafood slider… salivating!!! Love those hideaway spots that you have to really look for to find. They’re always the best, like little gems.

    1. Hey Aussa!

      I love when people stalk me! Let me know when April gets closer and I’ll email you a bunch of things to see, eat at, and drink at. Don’t blame me if you gain weight!

    1. Hey Kitt!

      It is an intimate spot. Maybe that’s why celebs hide away here after taking in a Broadway play or musical. I think it must have been someone’s home back in the day.

  4. Who do I have to kill to get a seat in that place. Because I cannot live without trying a Maine Lobster & Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Slider.

  5. A post after my own heart Phil. This is definitely a bar that both my husband and I would enjoy as he is the cocktail expert and anyway, who can refuse a dirty martini!

    I don’t mind the door policy as I’m able to pretty much get in anywhere in Berlin. My being British says “dollars and pounds” to the service staff and I admit that I get better, swift service when I speak in English than when I speak in German!

    1. Hey Victoria!

      Who can refuse it dirty is right! I love a good cocktail as much as I enjoy a tasty craft beer. I’m sure with your accent you would sweet talk your way right in!

  6. So I have to ask, did the place ever fill up or did they just tell you you couldn’t get a table without a reservation and then let all the empty tables just sit there empty?

    1. Hey Teri!

      It filled up a bit as the night went on both times I have been there. Both nights celebs walked in and took booths in the back room. Guess it depends on the night or I just got lucky. Next time I’ll tell them I’m a blog celebrity!

  7. Hi Phil… It sounds like a place to chill out and relax as judginf for the great pics.

    Second item :

    I have nominated you for the Bouquet of Award (six awards ) please check it out at the end of my newest post “Heraclitus of Ephesus: The Doctrine of Flux and the Unity of Opposites” (scroll it down )

    Best wishes, Aquileana 😉

    1. Hey Aquileana!

      It’s one of the more “adult” spots to hide away at for a cocktail!

      Thanks so much for the nominations! I’m not worthy! I’ll be over there soon to check it out! 🙂

  8. Dammit, Phil. Where were you when I was on NYC the last THREE times?! I could’ve used a tour guide like you. Quiet, old-fashioned, sexy bars where the Mad Men cast hangs out? Crap!

    1. Hey Hazy!

      Well, now that you know about my little blog use it for next time you’re here!

      You might end up drunk and few pounds heavier though! Be forewarned! I don’t play around!

Feel free to comment! We all have opinions!