As the season slowly winds down, we continue with our coverage on rooftop lounges in and around NYC. This month I had the privilege of meeting up with my friend and ex-coworker — and world-champion tango dancer — Sidney Grant at Haven Rooftop Lounge in midtown.
The strife and angst permeated the air all the way up Fifth Avenue, yet another rally of the discontent. Sid and I escaped the maelstrom of midtown madness, and sought a safe haven up on the roof. We entered The Sanctuary Hotel with its glowing neon lobby and went directly past the faux topiary to the red velvet ropes. A congenial worker greeted us when suddenly a family of tourists came rushing thru asking if they could “Just sneak a peek of the cityscape.” They were politely denied access and Sid commented as we entered the elevator, “One might take a peek at a peak in a national park, a rooftop lounge is for drinking and dining, not sightseeing. Too bad they didn’t have the common sense or courtesy to come up and get the kids a couple of cokes; they would have been pleasantly surprised, by both the view and the variety on the menu.”
The elevator door opened and the following is what we discovered after a stunning hostess showed us to our table.
The cocktail menu offers a wide selection of concoctions like the Solstice made with Tito’s Vodka, Strawberry Puree, Peach Schnapps and topped with Prosecco. Or the Shooting Star Sangria: Red Wine, Peach Schnapps, Torres brandy and fruits. Perhaps as a nod to his great, great grandfather Henry Bernheim whose wheat whiskey flourished during prohibition, Sid ordered the Moonshine Margarita. Sid quipped, “Alas, there is no moonlight to accompany my moonshine on this evening, but at least it didn’t rain on our parade for peace.”
We chatted for a bit and then perused the menu for appetizers to share. The offerings consist of typical and traditional fair like shrimp cocktail or fried calamari, we selected their Crab and Avocado Palette. The presentation was beautiful, the portion is fine to share, however, if your “A game” is on to dine with several plates, this app was just okay. Next time I think I’ll try the Tower of Tuna Tartare (above).
To toast the occasion and escape from the throngs of misrepresented, convinced and confused marching in the streets below, I ordered the Negroni but with a twist — I substitute the gin with vodka. While the purist would scoff if not shriek at the thought, no one wants to see how I behave on the juniper berry cocktail. I was completely satisfied with what was concocted by the Mixologist and the beverage cleared my head so Sid and I could reminisce and toast if not cheer with an adult beverage. Perfect!
Note: The Solar Eclipse is taking place this Monday. Haven Rooftop will offer their delicious and refreshing Eclipse Negroni (Gin infused with cinnamon, Aperol, Campari, Anise) in honor of this rare occasion. Their high glass side panels offer just the right amount of shade, making it ideal for viewing the eclipse.
We contemplated over the next dish and came to an agreement for The Lobster Salad. It is prepared with quinoa, arugula salad, mango, oregano vinaigrette. I was super impressed with the presentation — it’s so colorful — and the combination of flavors and textures is only surpassed by the generous portion of fresh, succulent lobster. Mouth watering!
In the midst of catching up and telling stories, Sid said, “Thank goodness we saved room for our best selection of the night, Wow! P.K, this is amazing not only the presentation but the combination of ingredients and flavors are superb!” I jokingly replied that I already noted that on my iPhone when I was really too busy indulging.
Tip: They also offer a selection of pasta dishes, fish and meat entrees such as Branzino, Filet Mignon and Mussels, etc.
No trip to or escape from New York would be complete without dessert. Haven Rooftop offers a broad selection from Chocolate Mousse to Panna Cotta. We decided to keep it local with New York Style Cheesecake. Creamy and decadent, this cake was the perfect finish to our meal. Sid noted the antioxidant bonus as the dessert comes with plenty of mixed berries. Yum!
While crowds packed the gritty streets below in protest, controlled pandemonium amidst meandering tourists oblivious to the chaos, the only gnashing of teeth and pointing of fingers we experienced was over the inventive cuisine and inspired cocktails. Our view was further enhanced by St. Mary the Virgin Church (built in 1868) — even Quasimodo would scale its edifice just to get a seat in the lounge — they brilliantly cast the bright fuchsia lighting on its steeple from Haven making the view awesome with a new meets old juxtaposition and a Times Square backdrop.
Sid and I have been friends since the 1990s. Part of our meeting up was to celebrate our friendship, cheer up, wine and dine as they say, and get away from it all. Mission accomplished! We truly found sanctuary on the 10th floor of the Sanctuary Hotel at Haven Rooftop Lounge. The streets where quiet and our spirits where lifted with audacious hope when we descended back to ground level.
Note: Kudos to the entire staff who we met during this visit. I wish I knew all of your names but each and everyone that we encountered were charming, professional, appropriately sassy and made this experience a lot of fun. (They did not know I was reviewing them).
If you can’t make it for the Solar Eclipse, make a plan to visit another day or evening.
132 West 47th Street,
New York, NY
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Sidney Grant contributed to this article.
Photos by: PK Greenfield and Haven Rooftop