After 81 years, the famous New York establishment 21 Club is finally getting a few bar stools. Glenn Collins at The New York Times reports on some new developments at 21 which include a new bar in the lounge, complete with places to sit and drink.
“The bar was for drinking, not for resting,” said a customer of 36 years, Thomas Moran, the chief executive of Mutual of America.
In the era of the three-martini lunch, the standing elbow-benders were three-deep at the bar, nearly as much a part of the lore of “21” as its checked tablecloths and the ceiling dangling with dozens of toy airplanes, patrons’ sports memorabilia and other curios (they are dusted twice a month). “I’ve served many people who ate a whole meal standing up,” said Tara Wright, a bartender there for the last six years. The tradition was “that you’d made it when you could stand at the bar,” she said. “You’d arrived.”
“The traditionalists’ rejection of change has been diminished by the whole series of shocks at ‘21,’ ” said Alan Flusser, the men’s-wear designer in Manhattan, a customer since the 1960s. “So, the bar stools? The beer on tap? These are just little aftershocks, now.”
“Curmudgeons may regret all this,” Mr. Moran said of the bar, “because it’s the nature of ‘21’ — we all feel as if we own it, and its traditions.”
While you can now sit tie-less and have a cocktail or even a draft beer (gasp), don’t even think about trying to do it wearing jeans or sneakers.