The Polo Bar | A Fifth Ave Time Capsule

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“There’s no photos allowed, sir.” At first I’m insulted, and then I realize that I’m the one that has crossed the line. Of course, there wouldn’t be photos allowed at The Polo Bar. Not because the restaurant has anything to hide, but because the mere sight of a cell phone might upset the meticulous atmosphere at Ralph Lauren’s time warp in the form of a Fifth Avenue dining room.

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You see, The Polo Bar is not a restaurant from 2015. It is a restaurant from 1985. Ralph Lauren’s first New York restaurant is not a place for cell phones, or Instagrams, or status updates. Nor is it a restaurant for small portions, or chopped salads, or juice cleanses. It is maximal dining. The bacon topped burgers are as thick as the plaid pillows which sit upon the even larger leather banquettes. The perpendicular wood paneling is as dense as the steak-cut fries – which naturally are served in a silver bucket. The caramelized onion popovers are as golden brown as the horses, which are depicted over and over in the innumerable equestrian paintings which line the dining room. The cocktails are as neatly arranged as the antique mallets which hang, as if in a Greenwich mudroom, next to the coat check.

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The Polo Bar is not a Polo photo shoot come to life. It is a trip back to the era that inspired the Polo aesthetic to begin with.

That the restaurant is located underground, beneath Polo’s recently opened Midtown flagship, is no coincidence. It is a buried time capsule that you can actually step into. If you’re fortunate enough to get a reservation that is. Had The Polo Bar had existed in 1987, Bud Fox and Gordon Gekko would’ve eaten there instead of the 21 Club. The attentive service, the Polo coat wearing doorman, the oversize dishes, the country-club setting, it is all a throwback to the days when a man’s suit was as broad as his expensive account.

They even let you take your own photos now. If you can snag a reservation that is.

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Comments on “The Polo Bar | A Fifth Ave Time Capsule

    Brendanon February 3, 2015 @ 5:24 PM:

    Suprising, in terms of restaurant staging, that the point of sale isn’t lying flat. Makes a bit of a sour note in a very nice setting.

    Danielon February 4, 2015 @ 6:00 AM:

    No cell phones?! Is Mr.Lauren insisting that diners inhabit his world while dining, rather than the world in the palm of their hand?! If this catches on, it might signal a return to conversing with people actually seated with you, as well as other elements of civilized behavior…

    blugi barbation February 4, 2015 @ 8:33 AM:

    one word: classy! Greets from Romania

    Skenflin McGintyon February 4, 2015 @ 11:42 AM:

    In one paragraph you say that the restaurant is from 1985 and then in another you say that had it existed in 1987 that Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox would have eaten there. Maybe they both would have eaten there with Ed Abbey in some sort of fictional/reality consumerist time warp.

    Sir Fopling Flutteron February 4, 2015 @ 5:30 PM:

    No, I think they would have eaten at 21 in 1985, or 1965, or 1935. It’s an absolute classic.

    Michaelon February 5, 2015 @ 10:56 AM:

    I live in New York and am quite used to having to dine in close proximity to others but those tables in your first picture are set absurdly close to one another. I’ll pass on this collection of stage props.

    Michael Obertheron February 10, 2015 @ 5:47 AM:

    Perhaps there are too close tables & upright points of sale. I don’t care. Get dressed and bask in the glory of the lifestyle Ralph Lauren defined for us.

    westytoddon February 17, 2015 @ 7:57 AM:

    I don’t know, does anyone else think that this place, and the Ralph Lauren esthetic in general, is just kitsch, and therefore really off-putting? Nothing against Lauren, who seems like a good guy and he’s a great visionary businessman, but is anyone else turned off by the staginess of all this?

    As other commentators have already mentioned, there already was a Polo Bar — it’s called 21.

Comments are closed.