Time to Drink with Mad Men, Finally! Sunday March 25

It’s finally time for Mad Men. I’ve had my fill of Desperate Housewives’ shenanigans and pseudo-drama, dysfunctional families with Shameless and Modern Family, and trials and tribulations with Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. And, while I still love everything about The Good Wife, it’s Mad Men that I’m salivating for.

The long-awaited premiere of Mad Men, Season Five is finally on Sunday, March 27 at 9pm.

How does this relate to Travel and Food Notes? Easy. It’s time to get ready with a drink. With thoughts of joining Don and Roger over oysters at The Oyster Bar or late-night drinks at The Roosevelt Hotel, I’ve put together a list of cocktail fixes throughout Manhattan that will get you ready for another season of Mad Men madness.

P.J. Clarke’s: For the past 125 years, this Manhattan saloon has entertained hordes of advertising and other business execs. Peggy had a drink here, maybe two, as you might recall. This is a bastion of beer, martinis, and burgers, and maybe some less-successful first dates. I’d order a dry, Vermouth martini, with two olives. How about you? 915 Third Avenue, 212-317-1616

Temple Bar: The glamorous oak bar in NoHo is known for its extensive drink list peppered with all the classics. Imagine yourself sitting with Don among the beautiful velvet curtains sipping an Old Fashioned or with Peggy Olsen as she tries a Brandy Alexander for the first time. 322 Lafayette St, 212-925-4242

The Monkey Bar: Enter the landmark Hotel Elysée (once known as the “easy lay”) where guests like Joe DiMaggio and Marlon Brandon used to stay. Step inside the great piano bar just off the lobby with its iconic monkey mural. You can just picture Roger downing a Manhattan or two before heading for a room upstairs. Hotel Elysée, 60 E 54th St, 212-753-1066

King Cole Bar: Once a bastion of cigar-smoking power brokers or wannabes like Ken Cosgrove, the King Cole Bar in the elegant St. Regis Hotel is the birthplace of the Bloody Mary (known here as the Red Snapper). This classic bar also is known for its famous mural, “Old King Cole” by Maxfield Parrish. St. Regis Hotel, 2 E 55th St, 212-753-4500

21 Club: Famous for its Prohibition-era speakeasy status, this restaurant has attracted every president since FDR (except George W. Bush) to dine or imbibe. Come for a martini just like James Bond in 007 or try New York Magazine’s recommendation, a Southside, the rum and mint cocktail invented here. 21 W 52nd St, 212-582-7200

Campbell Apartment: This luxurious lounge in Grand Central Terminal will surely bring you back to another era. The space, once used as an office for New York financier John Campbell, still exudes the same sleek, refinement with its low lighting, rich woodwork and beamed ceiling. We’d recommend the Prohibition Punch for aptly named Pete Campbell. 15 Vanderbilt Ave, 212-953-0409

Bemelmans Bar: Some things never go out of style. Tommy Rowles has been the bartender here for 51 years and has even poured bourbon on the rocks for President Truman. Live piano music, enchanting murals of animals by Ludwig Bemelmans of Madeline fame, plus formally dressed waiters make this an Upper East Side landmark. The perfectly chilled and poured martini comes in a shaker with enough liquor for a potent drink and a half, and the banquettes are perfect for cuddling. The Carlyle Hotel, 35 E 76th St, 212-744-1600

The Blue Bar at the Algonquin: Once the hot spot for literary geniuses like Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley, The Blue Bar is filled with Al Hirschfield’s artwork depicting a variety of Broadway shows. The cozy bar with its blue upholstery is known for its Algonquin Cocktail, a mix of whiskey, dry vermouth, and pineapple juice. It’s reputed that the literary ghosts of times past will even sit with you to provide inspiration and absorb the black-tie service. The Algonquin Hotel, 59 W 44th St, 212-840-6800

Sardi’s: Since 1921, this legendary restaurant known for the celebrity caricatures adorning its walls has served as the spot to head to before or after theater. It’s also a favorite rendezvous spot for Don Draper and his lady friends like the sultry Mrs. Barrett. To behave like a true “mad man,” book a table on Thursdays and Fridays for jazz and cabaret and skip the cocktail; a bottle of Dom Perignon is more in keeping with the mood. 234 W 44th St, 212-221-8440


  1. Did you see this week's NY Mag? (Best of NY Issue) There's a whole section dedicated to Mad Men. I love it minus the piece "When Will Don Draper Die?"--PERISH THE THOUGHT!!

  2. Jen, do you still have the copy? I was in Mexico and missed it. I can return it to you. You should definitely pick up this week's Newsweek if you can. It's a keeper.


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