This see-it-to-believe-it piano bar–a posh vestige of post-war Upper East Side culture–is housed in the Carlyle Hotel in Lenox Hill. The bar’s legendary murals, which picture anthropomorphic animals at leisure in Central Park, are the work of Ludwig Bemelmans, the famed illustrator behind the Madeline children’s-book series. The rest of the space could be described as Art Deco, boasting chocolate-leather banquettes and an ample ceiling with 24-karat-gold leaf–reason enough to experience an evening here. Admittedly, though, a good many Bemelmans regulars come just for the expertly crafted cocktails, extensive champagne and wine lists, and live jazz, which, depending on the night of the week, begins at 9 or 9:30. (Arrive before 9 to avoid the steep cover charge but still enjoy the ivory-tickling.) Bar snacks and light bites, like oysters and mini burgers, are served too.
Image by Bemelmans Bar