9. Bar Centrale
Up a flight of steps and behind a nondescript townhouse door in midtown, Bar Centrale feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the Theater District. Outside, chaos reigns, but inside, the bar is a safe haven. Broadway actors come here for a nightcap after their shows, knowing they can count on the staff’s discretion. It’s glamorous, but not showy; a bit retro, but not put-on. The whole place has an air of mystery—you never know who you might see.
The menu is equally distinguished but unfussy. There’s wine, beer, and classic cocktails for people who don’t need to look at a menu, but just order their Tanqueray Martini with a twist because that’s how they always take their Martinis. Ask for one and the bartender will serve it in a small glass, with a mini carafe that keeps the rest of your drink on ice, so you never have to go through the agony of imbibing a warm cocktail. Bar fare includes classics like oysters, shrimp cocktails, and caviar, plus lobster quesadillas, vegetarian samosas, and Chinese dumplings.