March 31, 2010 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Manhattan Mad Men Tour: Fellow I know coming into town is a huge Mad Men buff. I'd like to show him around places that evoke the show's era and style. What places are like the Campbell apartment, the Pierre, the Oak Room, and such? Is it even possible to do it on a budget?

I know the show is shot in L.A but they take a lot of the interiors from actual ones from the time. Any of those swanky oak-filled lobbies or Colonial Revival restaurants still around? Mid-Century modern gems?

Not adverse to going to the other Boroughs but Manhattan is preferred.

Ideally, these should be places where one could have one pricey drink or a quick lunch at the bar to save costs. We're not goin' to the Regency cabaret.

Not High-end but 60s eras coffeeshop, diners, and places that look like they *should* be filled with smoke are also welcome.

iconic skyline views are doubleplus good.
posted by The Whelk to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (12 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

I love this place! It's newish, but it has a great old-time feel, plus the cocktails are amazing. I'm not sure if it exactly fits what you want, since it wasn't around in the '60s, but I can't get enough of it so I'm going to tell you about it anyway.
posted by inmediasres at 10:57 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

P.J. Clarke's. Have the cheesecake. Trust me.
posted by meerkatty at 11:14 AM on March 31, 2010

If you like Spanish seafood, the El Quijote restaurant on 23rd next to the Chelsea Hotel has plenty of old school charm. My friends think it's stuffy but I find it fun, like a location that should be used in a Wes Anderson film.
posted by cazoo at 11:24 AM on March 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lever House is iconic 50's architecture. as is the whole MetLife (f/k/a PanAm) complex
Fonda del Sol is a reboot of an iconic 60's restaurant - though I have my doubts about it
All of the cocktail bars (pegu club is probably the least hipster/most grown up of the new gen, bemelman's is the classic on the UES)
Rock Center is to my mind iconic 20th century NY - just the architecture - those gallaries on the front of christies make me swoon everytime
60's era luncheonette - Eisenberg's 22nd and 5th
Any of the classic steak places will feel, well classic.

Check out the "who goes there" feature on for other dated places around town. If you are flying out of LGA check out the marine air terminal (WPA built so not quite the right era, but the right feel).

Not much to see, but a white brick co-op is about as 60's as they come
posted by JPD at 11:31 AM on March 31, 2010

Madison Avenue. A no-brainer, but someone's got to mention it.
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:38 AM on March 31, 2010

It's been years since I've been there, but Arno always felt like the kind of place where old school marketing guys would go to make deals.
posted by JaredSeth at 11:38 AM on March 31, 2010

Steakhouses like Peter Luger and Keens are largely unchanged from late nineteenth century -- by the early 1960's they were already institutions -- and both offer less expensive lunch or bar dining options. Likely places that Sterling, Cooper and Draper would have visited.
posted by andrewraff at 11:52 AM on March 31, 2010

Keens Steakhouse was in fact mentioned in an episode last season.
posted by bethist at 11:55 AM on March 31, 2010

The Pierre is still open and appears to have a (certainly overpriced, but open to the public) bar.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:56 AM on March 31, 2010

I'm not sure how "Mad Men" it is, but Katz's Deli is very mid-century if you are up for an $18 sandwich.
posted by AtomicBee at 12:03 PM on March 31, 2010

The Carnegie Club is a dark, smokey cigar bar with sexy waitresses & a Frank Sinatra tribute band on weekends. This review says it all:
25 foot ceilings. Hand crafted wood bookcases lined with old, leather bound books. Comfortable leather wingback chairs. Stone fireplace. The mellow smell of cigars. Glasses of well aged scotch or brandy.

Just like your rich grandfather's library in his country estate that you were occasionally allowed into.

Maybe your grandfather. Mine was a baker and schoolteacher. But if I had a rich grandfather, he would have lived like this.

But this gets even better - Frank Sinatra serenading you and the lovely woman on your arm. It's actually not Frank, he's dead in case you haven't heard. But this guy sounds just like him. Every Saturday night. And the woman on my arm? AS lovely as any of the women Frank hung out with.

A few other nights a week there is live music, usually jazz.

Dress up, and come in style. This place has some class. Decor is a little worn, but so was my grandfather.
The Empire Diner (never been) is one of those ancient, aluminum tube diners you look at and go "Does that really still exist? In Manhattan?" The pictures say it all.

+1 Lever House
+1 PJ Clarkes (also check out Sidecar next door - you need to buzz to get in)

If you don't want to go out to Brooklyn for Juniors, check out the one in the food court of Grand Central. Grand Central is a destination in itself & the Dining Concourse still has a fairly old look to it, complete with big leather chairs for you to sit in. Be sure to check out the whispering gallery.

For a view of the city, you want Top of the Rock, or any of the large number or Rooftop Bars.

Also, my former coworker was great at this, but there are a bunch of hotel bars that are killer. The hotel lobbies are great, and the bars are exactly the types of places strangers from different cities meet to have affairs... I can't be much more specific than this since he dragged us from place to place and I just navigate my way there by feel when I want to show people around, but seek them out.

Also, if you can still get in, the lobby of the Woolworth Building is worth seeing, as is the Secret Subway Station you can catch a glimpse of on the end of the 6 line. The wooden escalators on the upper floors of Macy*s could be fun if you're running out of material & just want to pop into Macy's (just worth it to say you've been).

The lower levels of Trump Tower are appropriately guady - all marble and brass. Tiffany's is right around the corner too.
posted by MesoFilter at 1:08 PM on March 31, 2010

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