By MONICA BYERS
NEW YORK, NY – I have loads of amazing memories planted in my visits to the Grand Bar at the Soho Grand Hotel. The first time I ever visited, I was living in Los Angeles and visiting with a group of friends when we linked up with the complete strangers seated at the next table. It was my first realization that New York is a city where you can meet anyone at anytime doing anything. After I moved to NY, my visits to this establishment became more business oriented – these outings would start with a perfectly legitimate meeting and wind up with the consumption of a few Grand Margaritas.
Which brings me to a bone of contention: The Grand Margarita was priced at around $16 when I first began frequenting the Grand Bar. The price has steadily risen over the past two years or so, rising to around $18 for a while and currently nesting at $22. Even for New York, $22 is an awfully high price for a cocktail (I should add that the other drinks on the menu are priced more or less in line with similar NYC watering holes). Is it worth it? There is no question that it’s a good drink, nicely fruity but still delivering an impactful tequila kick, seemingly constructed to order by hand vs. using the heinous pre-prepared mix that many bars foist on their customers. It may, in fact, actually be one of the best margaritas in the city. It’s also big – the equivalent of two margaritas at other bars. And potent – after one or two of these (depending on your constitution) things may go a bit fuzzy. So it’s a big, good, strong drink. What else?
There’s also the matter of the bar itself. It’s a classic yet cool environment, for lack of a more original turn of phrase. While there is a proper bar (with stools and everthing!) on one end, most of the action happens in the lounge furnished with tastefully appointed and reasonably comfy couches and chairs. It’s a great place to do an afternoon meeting – quiet, set up to easily accommodate 6 folks around a small table, and offering outlets in some spots to power up your computer or smartphone. As afternoon morphs into evening, the Grand Bar turns more “scene-y” with hipsters, models and the people who love them sharing the space with tourists from all over (though there seem to be loads from the Midwest) who are resident in the hotel. My favorite evening of the week to be here is Thursday which – for some reason – seems to be an exceptional people-watching night with all manner of eccentrics in the house.
So….worth the $22 margarita price-of-entry or no? Have a splurge and judge for yourself. Or, just order something with a slightly more down-to-earth price and enjoy the ambiance.
What is the little thing that makes the Grand Bar worth a visit? It’s a place that never seems to go out of style – filled with local scenesters and tourists alike – and the uber attractive servers makes this place kind of sexy for a hotel bar.
Where is it? 310 West Broadway (near Canal Street), New York.
For more from Monica, follow her on Twitter at @MonicaJuniel.
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