shalelpeople.jpgUnderneath the Greek restaurant Metsovo and down the candelit stairs Shalel is a dim, decadent Moroccan-inspired bar and lounge. The wine list is extensive, the beers listed by country and the cocktails, in a word, uninspired. We tried the a Moroccan lager ($7) so you don't have to- it's not our favorite, but a spicy malt flavor does compliment phyllo wrapped delicacies better well. Thinking Belgium would be a better bet for lounging about on the oversized, soft-focus hanging lamps and soft banquets we had the Chimay. It's pricey- we didn't think we'd ever pay $10 for a bottled beer on the Upper West Side and then the the bartender didn't even pour the beer into the embossed glasses.

With glass in hand, though, we perused the back room, the reclining couples next to the waterfall and a the swinging loveseat and realized what this one is all about: it's the biggest make-out bar, ever. Everyone on the banquet were couples- a third date to our right, coordinating on matching Treos, the ones to our left a little less sure about where they stood, found out that boy was a cat person and the girl a dog person and they diagree about Hamas, too, but still were all over each other within ten minutes of melting into the cushions. The only single people there the weeknight we visited were two girls at the bar, giving each other post-mortums on their last dates, as people squeezed past them to take dates home.

Shalel is unusual for the Upper West Side, a pretty bar with good wines, beers, and a menu of North African, French and Middle Eastern food available. And it's the best place we've seen to show someone that you want 'em, immediately if not sooner.

65 1/2 West 70th Street, between Columbus and Central Park West
(212) 799-9030