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Rosy Evenings at The Plaza's The Rose Club

A little New York razzle-dazzle, sprinkled with live jazz and classic cocktails, make it easy to put on the ritz...and win a date's heart.

The old school glitz and genteel glamor of yesterday's New York is increasingly eroded by the sleek, glass-walled sameness of commercial modernity (oh, how the world's smallest violin plays). My, how times have changed. Remember those smoke-filled lounges, filled with fox fur-draped dames and ascot-touting men sipping martinis to the croon of a hot-to-trot jazz mama? (Me either—not personally—but that doesn't stop a boy from indulging in the nostalgic nonsense.) Yet glimpses of Old New York opulence can still be had at the iconic Plaza Hotel—even if the place, now a bit of a tour-busey travel destination, has been Disney-fied a tad. Bring a date to the hotel's The Rose Club, and you won't be left sitting in a pile of rose petals wondering whether he or she loves you or loves you not. Your date will be charmed (if not by the of-another-era atmosphere, then by your raw spending power)—so skip the dew-eyed self-doubt and have a $23 cocktail.

There's just something magical about The Plaza hotel. Perhaps it's the swoon-worthy location, standing at the foot of Central Park at Fifth Ave. Maybe it's the delightfully ostentatious décor and the formally dressed and mannered staff. Part of it is certainly the history, which began when the place opened in 1907, becoming a designated NYC landmark in 1969. The Plaza, all 19 stories and 1,650 chandeliers of it, exudes New York grandiosity. The Rose Club, a silky bar on a mezzanine floor off the hotel's tremendous lobby, is a ritzy roost that fits right into the host hotel.

The Plaza's lobby is big, so when searching for The Rose Club, look up and follow the pink light. Colored light fixtures, casting a dim, pink glow, drape the space in a subdued, romantic air (we all look better in the low light). The décor is magenta and gold-colored glitz: mahogany wood paneling, velvety sofas and carefully placed throw pillows. It's like the parlor of a Western European Duchess—if our imaginary duchess had hopped across the pond to her Vegas pied-à-terre. Live jazz—every Wednesday (Kat Gang at 8:30 p.m.) and Thursday (Lapis Luna at 9 p.m.) through the end of July—adds to the charm (and fills the gaps in wilting date conversation). Old jazz standards go marvelously with a champagne cocktail (the bartender makes a smooth champage and apricot liquor ditty upon request, garnished with a dried apricot). Cocktails don't come cheap—most are $22-23—but so goes life at The Plaza. This is New York, after all. The Vesper (gin, vodka, Lillet), which was invented and popularized by the James Bond novel Casino Royale in 1953, has the strength of three drinks. Trays of popcorn and candied nuts (oh, the candied nuts!) make for nice between-sip snacks. Cheese plates are elaborate and generous (go for five kinds; the brie is divine, as is the bleu, but don't expect to start smooching after some of that). Negronis (gin, Campari, dry vermouth) are textbook.

But, it's really not about the offerings at The Rose Club. It's about the surroundings. You're here, in The Plaza, so drink up, take in the live music and let yourself pretend that the razzle-dazzle of yesterday's New York never faded at all.

>>The Rose Club at The Plaza Hotel, lobby mezzanine, 768 Fifth Ave., 212.759.3000