There are a multitude of licensed libation interlocutors lavishly or in grunge serving all manner of spirits and at about any hour except for a few on Sunday morning. In my time in Gotham I have seen the bars proliferate and to a one be packed crowded on a Wednesday so that the only way to get a seat is to arrive at the opening bell of hour d’jolly in order to ensure a spot of some comfort. These bars come in all brands, concepts, and attitudes but few these days have history and even fewer offer what you can find at The Oyster Bar at Grand Central Terminal (TOBGCT).
TOBGCT is an historical establishment dating back an hundred years or more. Sadly, I missed their centennial celebration which I feel was just a few months ago but since I’m older that could be 1-6 years ago since, dear reader, that’s how memory and age work as you get up there.
Of TOBGCT there are two sections: the counter and the saloon. The counter area is set up like I remember the automat or a number of basic eateries now to a one vanished. The ceiling is a grand vaulted number made with Italian tiles of some note for their design and particular functionality. The saloon, however, was modernized sometime in the early 1960s and for reference watch a few season 1 episodes of Mad Men. The space hasn’t been updated ever since.
The theme is a fake rustic with wood panelling and a nautical theme because of course in a train station boats right? However the fare is primarily pescetarian and because boats we can sample engorge and nom abundant and the freshest selection of oysters, clams, and shrimp.
The ceiling is dark painted dropped acoustic tiles punctuated by nautical-looking lights and over the entrance to the toilets a huge stuffed fish stands guard. Inside there is an antechamber that once held a couch and within the gender specific bathrooms an old [at the time of writing this] pay phone (kids ask your parent or guardian or ward what that is).
At peak hours there is a bathroom attendant indeed a toss back to the days of yore when high end joints ensures their facilities were up to date and if you needed to shave before returning to work or needed to brush the taste of hooker out of your mouth you could do so and with polite assistance.
While I am not there frequently, this is the one spot in town where I know the bartender.
Hi Alex, and he says, martini dirty one olive, and I of course agree since if one is to oyster right it with the classic drink of Raceclassgender:WMP (White Male Privilege) edition. But, in this safe chamber of 1962 there is no cell phone service so one can detach from all issues and politics and focus on XXL blue points served on a bed of ice and whatever conversation and company you may bring there for a professional business netting, first date, romantic encounter, family feud, post-termination drink, pre-jumping on a train and rocketing upstate booze fest, or just because you’re in the area and Alex remembers you and knows what you drink perhaps because of the above list of reasons to stop by, all of which have been occasion enough for this author to hide a moment from the world and pretend to be a Mad Man.
And should you be in Gotham, do stop in. Do whatever you want, but I recommend asking Alex about the blue points.