Sex Sells. Always be closing. Prime Time. These are buzz words you’d expect to hear from an ad executive in a Madison Avenue board room, but they’re also the names of inventive cocktails on the menu at Agency of Record, a swanky new bar inside the historic Renwick Hotel. Created by Ryan McKenzie and the team at 27 Tales Hospitality – the group whose founding members are behind Patent Pending, seeyamañana, and Rezdôra – the decor and menus at this Midtown Manhattan spot have a sophisticated retro flare inspired by the mid-century heyday of advertising on Madison Ave.
You could easily picture Don Draper and the dapper Mad Men crew sitting comfortably at the warmly lit bar, Old Fashions in hand. The space is outfitted with rich mahogany hues, plush banquette seating, leather and brass accents, and intimate mood lighting. Playful design elements such as a wall of vintage records, fringe-lined lamps, and retro advertisements ensure that the old-school vibe is both refined and fun.
The advertising theme continues from the decor to the menus where diners will find innovative twists on classic bar fare. Consulting Chef Edward Carew (Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Ace Hotels) filled the menu with shareable bites like Duck Fat Fries and East Coast oysters, hearty entrées like Japanese Karaage-Style Fried Chicken and a bone-in ribeye. There are also creative desserts to finish off the meal. Many of the items on the menu spotlight the use of the property’s wood-fired kitchen.
At the bar, you’ll be drinking with the ghosts of writers like Thomas Mann, John Steinbeck, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, who The Renwick website notes were all former residents of the hotel. The cocktail menu is split between four distinct sections, each with a unique intended effect: Like Soda for a Baby (bright, awakening sippers), The Big Sell (designed to deliver that warm and fuzzy feeling), From a Far Away Land (sips with a tropical flair), and Everyone is Doing It (drinks designed for a party). Within each section, there are cleverly named cocktails with surprising pairings of ingredients. Some of the highlights include The A+B Test, a tequila drink with aged cachaca, sotol, thai chili, lychee, and lime, and The Four Ps, a mix of Venezuelan, Jamaican, Mexican, and Haitian rums mixed with pistachio, almond, turmeric, and lemon.
Brush up on your 1950s and 60s lingo and head down to Agency of Record for a drink seven days a week from 4pm till late. You can make reservations via Resy. Planning a special event? Agency of Record’s cozy private dining room, complete with a vintage martini cart and private bartender, is available to rent!
Next, check out 10 Hidden Bars and Restaurants in Manhattan