16. The King Cole Bar

Axe meets with Minor Welles, a board member of the Axelrod Foundation at the King Cole Bar, in the St. Regis Hotel. The King Cole Bar is most famous for being the birthplace of the Bloody Mary. The mural, which is referenced in Billions, was painted by illustrator Maxfield Parrish, was originally commissioned  by John Jacob Astor IV in 1909 for his Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square. Welles says that King Cole is supposedly “releasing his royal air” in the painting, which is why he smiles and the jesters have to take it. Welles wants Axe to know it’s a “gesture of respect” that he was alerted in advance of his removal from the board. Axe threatens Welles with his knowledge of the unscrupulous behavior of the board. “Fart in my f&$%ing presence and you will meet a swift end,” Axe says.