Stepping inside Oscar Wilde, NoMad’s newest bar and restaurant, is akin to walking through a portal. Whereas subdued shades of grey and brown characterize the city, its streets and the surrounding buildings, warm, gold light emanates from within the gastropub — drawing visitors in for a few Victorian and Prohibition-era inspired cocktails. That’s just one of the reasons Oscar Wilde warrants a visit: at 118.5 feet, it also happens to be the longest continuous bar in New York City, housed inside the former headquarters of New York City’s Bureau of Prohibition.
As its name so obviously suggests, Oscar Wilde celebrates the life and legacy of the prolific 19th-century Irish writer, who is known for his plays, essays, works of fiction and poetry. It is only fitting then that his quotes are found throughout the venue, which is operated by the same Irish owners behind Lille’s Times Square, Lillie’s Union Square, and Papillon Bistro & Bar.
For the curious imbiber, the drink menu is “Champagne-focused,” reflecting both Victorian and Prohibition eras, and food options include creative plates like Crispy Cauliflower Buffalo Wings, as well as traditional staples like Cottage Pie and the “Wilde Burger,” made with Irish Beef and homemade, pickled vegetables.
The space itself, which provides plenty of room to sit, stand or mingle, is decorated with an eclectic, but obviously curated mish-mash of mirrors, clocks, picture frames, chandeliers and odd knick knacks. No two are alike — yet, the elaborate collection somehow comes together, like an antique store displaying its wares.
During the press reception celebrating the soon-to-come opening of the bar, we were told that the artifacts were indeed hand-selected from all over the globe. Highlights include a Belgium piano from the 1890’s, painted glass from Milan dating to the late 19th century, a 1880’s standing clock from England, marble carved in Vietnam, one-arm bar chairs from Mexico and antique fireplaces.
Small fixtures decorate the bar
As ostentatious as some of the pieces are, attention to detail is key here: from the gold-rimmed tea cups that were used to serve cocktails in to the silver cutlery with imprinted designs, nothing is underdone at Oscar Wilde. This is, perhaps, expected of his namesake bar. After all, it was Wilde himself who stated:
“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”
Oscar Wilde, located at 45 West 27th Street, between Broadway and Sixth Avenue, will open to the public on August 16.
Next, check out 12 Storied Bars of New York: Where Literary Luminaries Went to Drink and 10 of NYC’s Best Bars with Books.