Inspired by this week's Time Out New York cover story this week, we visited a new bar/lounge in Times Square- we went to Times Square in search of a bar that would be entertaining for out-of-towners. At a glance, Club 49 aims to be competition for Top Of The Rock but at closer inspection it's bottle service among the billboards. With uninspired decor on the main level- semi-private booths and curved cocktails tables against the windows- we were trying to put our finger on what the place reminded us of, the lounges at any W Hotel, definitely (you can even see the huge W sign from the bar), but something else. Then we got it- Ghost Bar in Vegas, another bar high above the city, within a hotel and notably full of people who can't see the view from the scene.
Bottle service is required for any booth and bootles start at $275 (Stoli, Beefeater, Jameson) and cocktails at $10. Our vodka and soda was strong enough to fend off any vertigo - the express elevator from the third floor is stunning but at about three minutes, it can be overwhelming - but unremarkable. Further caveats: you need to enter through the Marriot Marquis, take an elevator, use the mandatory ("for security reasons") third floor coat check and there is only one express elevator serving the entire club, so the wait in the hotel can be long. The line can be avoided with bottle service reservations but being on the guest list doesn't.
With two levels (a mezzanine, pictured, was still in progress when we visited) there are plenty of places to take in the amazing panoramic view above Times Square and- if you are on the list-it's $14 cheaper than the observation deck at Rockefeller Plaza. It's definitely a destination to take a visiting little brother or sister that would never let on they really want to see the skyline from the Empire State building.
1535 Broadway between 45th & 46th Streets