Classic Upper East Side cocktail bar Bemelmans to finally reopen in May

April 26, 2021

Photo of Bemelmans Bar by Don Riddle for The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

One of New York City’s most storied bars will reopen next month following a year-long shutdown. Located inside the historic Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side, Bemelmans Bar will welcome guests back to the iconic mural-covered watering hole on May 11, the first time since last March. And for the first time in its nearly 75-year history, Bemelmans is now accepting online reservations.

“We are beyond thrilled to finally reopen Bemelmans Bar – and I know so many of our loyal patrons share in this sentiment with me,” Anthony McHale, managing director of The Carlyle, said. “Bemelmans is such an adored Upper East Side institution, and we cannot wait to bring the bar back to life very soon.”

The cocktail bar is named after Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the Madeline children’s book series. During the luxury hotel’s construction in the 1930s, the owners asked Bemelmans to paint murals on the walls of the bar in exchange for room and board at The Carlyle.

The now-renowned murals, the only artwork of Bemelmans open to the public, feature rabbits and elephants in Central Park depicted in all four seasons, along with Madeline and her friends. Its leather banquettes, nickel-trimmed black glass tabletops, and ceiling covered in 24-karat gold leaf make the Art Deco bar even more special.

A new signature cocktail menu will be available when the bar reopens, with drinks like “Elaine’s Smokey Martini” and “Madeline’s Vesper.” Of course, classic cocktails for which the bar is known, like Martinis and Manhattans, are also available.

Live music will be available each night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pianist and composer Earl Rose will perform on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays; pianist and singer Rob Mosci on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and jazz pianist and vocalist Loston Harris on Fridays and Saturdays. There is a $15 cover per person.

Bemelmans Bar will be open daily from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. at a limited capacity. Walk-ins are welcome but reservations are encouraged. Make a reservation online here.


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