Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bemelmans Bar

Best remembered as the creator of the classic Madeline books for children, Ludwig Bemelmans once joked he'd like his tombstone to read: "Tell Them It Was Wonderful." Well, wonderful it was, and still is, at Bemelmans Bar. Named in honor of the legendary artist, Bemelmans is a timeless New York watering hole that has drawn socialites, politicians, movie stars and moguls for more than five decades.
Restored in 2002 by designer Thierry Despont, the bar maintains its Art Deco legacy with chocolate-brown leather banquettes, nickel-trimmed black glass tabletops, a dramatic black granite bar and a 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling. Featuring the only surviving Bemelmans' commission open to the public, the bar combines wit and coziness in unique New York style.

Bar Snacks & Light Meals: 5:30-11:30 p.m.
Entertainment: Sunday to Saturday: 5:30-8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.


The Carlyle was the city's premier luxury residential hotel and served as second home to socialites, politicians and movie stars when Ludwig Bemelmans was commissioned to paint large-scale murals in the hotel bar. The creator of the enormously popular Madeline children's book series as well as a successful artist working for The New Yorker, Vogue and Town and Country, Bemelmans transformed the bar with clever, whimsical scenes of Central Park (including picnicking rabbits). Instead of being paid for the art, Bemelmans exchanged his work for a year and a half of accommodations at The Carlyle for himself and his family.

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