The King Cole Bar, located in the elegant St. Regis Hotel, is famous for its namesake mural and for being the birthplace of the Bloody Mary cocktail. The mural, painted by illustrator Maxfield Parrish, was originally commissioned by John Jacob Astor IV in 1909 for his Knickerbocker Hotel. Parrish was reluctant to paint the mural due to his Quaker upbringing but ultimately agreed for the sum of $5,000. Old King Cole is thought to have been modeled on Astor, but there does not appear to be any resemblance between the two.
Old King Cole was a merry old soul, and a merry old soul was he:
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl:
And he called for his fiddlers three:
In 1921, Vincent Astor, John Jacob Astor IV’s son, converted the Knickerbocker Hotel to office space. In 1935, after spending time at the Racket Club, on Park Avenue, Astor transferred the mural to St. Regis Hotel, which he also owned. The mural was placed in the hotel’s bar, which was renamed after it. The mural was cleaned and restored in 2007 at a cost of over $100,000 during which time a replica of the mural hung in its place. Today, Old King Cole continues to watch over the bar and its patrons.
To have a drink served with a work of at go to the:
King Cole Bar (located in the St. Regis Hotel)
2 East 55th Street
New York, NY