I wish I had found this article last week! It would have been perfect for this past weekend. But it’s just about summer time & there are more upcoming holidays so the rich & famous will be heading out to the Hamptons and leaving the rest of us with the best tables in the city! Know what to request and call or walk-in now! (or keep this in the memory bank for next yr ;))
Here’s what you need to know…
The Darby (244 W. 14th St) The table: The six-top center booth — No. 74 — in this red retro supper club, has a fabulous view of the stage, where the house band and chanteuse Lady Rizo performs several times a night. How exclusive is it? According to policy, the table can be booked a month in advance, but unless Lady Luck is on your side (with Rihanna on the other) it’s usually already nabbed by high rollers. (pictured above)
Abe & Arthur (409 W. 14th St) The table: The center booth — No. 51 — against the west wall is the only enclosed banquette in the room. Group dining is big at this Meatpacking hot spot. How exclusive is it? No. 51 is held for celebrities and loyal regulars only — “They know who they are,” says a rep for the restaurant — but with many seeking tans this weekend, there’s no harm in trying.
The Breslin (16 W. 29th St) The table: Booth No. 40 is closest to the open kitchen and has curtains that can be drawn for privacy. There’s also a call button for the server, iPhone and BlackBerry chargers and dimmers for the lights. How exclusive is it? The booth, like all the other tables at The Breslin, can’t be booked, and during non-holiday weekends is held for valued customers (or A-listers) who eat there at least once a week.
ABC Kitchen (35 E. 18th St) The table: The best spot in Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new organic joint is No. 60, a round corner table that’s actually a $12,000 piece of art constructed from a salvaged tree trunk by local artist Jim Denney, and positioned under a stunning glass chandelier. How exclusive is it? Normally, reservations can be made one month in advance, and you can request the “tree,” but there are no guarantees you’ll get it upon arrival.
The Lion (62 W. Ninth St) The table: Far from the riffraff of the main dining room below, the private, second-floor table at John DeLucie’s West Village restaurant is undoubtedly one of the best in the city. Not only is it dark and sexy up there, but the 14-seater has its own staircase, bathroom and garden views. How exclusive is it? The Lion’s regular policy states that the table can be booked a month in advance by anyone, so long as it’s available. You also don’t have to bring 14 people, though at least 10 are preferred. What’s more: There is an early seating and a later seating.
Minetta Tavern (113 MacDougal St) The table: The four-top, circular red booths — No. 12 or No. 13 — in the back room allow those who are privileged to survey the 16 other tables in the room, the beautiful people at them and the comings and goings to and from the kitchen. How exclusive is it? Reservations can be made 30 days in advance, and are notoriously hard to come by. You can request a booth, but won’t be guaranteed one. (Unless you’re SJP. Or with her.) The rumored friends-and-family phone number that gets you a table tout suite is a fallacy, says a staff member:
Beauty & Essex (146 Essex St) The table: The cozy, corner booth in the main dining room — table No. 49 — which seats up to six people, has a full view of the super-luxe space. How exclusive is it? The restaurant’s usual booking policy allows for reservations to be made starting 30 days in advance, so diners need to call exactly 30 days prior to their preferred date. Chances for getting the booth increase by making an early or late booking.
Fresco by Scotto (34 E. 52nd St) The table: The four-seater known as No. 21 is one of the first tables you see upon entering, making it perfect for those who like to see and be seen. How exclusive is it? Unless you can convince Regis to break bread with you (or to call on your behalf while he vacations out East), the table is usually left open for last-minute VIPs.
Bar Pitti (268 Sixth Ave) The table(s): The entire sidewalk cafe outside this 16-year-old Village stalwart is one of the most popular hot spots south of 14th Street. How exclusive is it: During peak season, it’s a case of showing up and waiting for up to two hours at sought-after dining times
Swifty’s (1007 Lexington Ave) The table: The money spot at this old-school, Upper East Side eatery is round table No. 17 in the back room, which seats up to 11. It’s more private than those in the front, is next to the windows and feels more like you’re in a country club than a public restaurant. How exclusive is it? Out of all the tables, this is the most attainable even during peak periods. “If you want a special table give us at least two weeks notice,” says co-owner Robert Caravaggi.
So whose trying these out this summer? Sounds like you might have a shot at The Lion or Bar Pitti but Swifty’s might be your best bet! Can’t get in? Think 4th of July, Labor Day…