Thirty stories above Times Square, a lounge called Skylark offers Midtown sightlines as good as they get without hitching a drone. The aerie's floor-to-ceiling glass overlooks glowing avenue corridors, the Empire State Building, the Hudson River and skyscraping antennas that shift through pulsing color light shows.
The cocktail-hour crowd ranges from Fashion District and media types (The New York Times is a neighbor) to pre- and post-theatergoers and out-of-towners. Some sip pitchers (that serve five for $80), but most order drinks (all $18), like mixologist Johnny Swet's "Fort Knox" of Elijah Craig bourbon, mezcal, yellow chartreuse, grilled lemon ice block and honey syrup. In spring, when the party expands to the floor above and onto a roof terrace, Swet's ingredients shift, for example, from walnuts to watermelon.
Personable manager Andres Rizo keeps an eye on it all, while Abigail Kirsch caters the dinner and dessert bites. Tasty picks include guacamole with plantain crisps, short ribs with brandied cherry compote, popular mac 'n' cheese cupcakes, and exceptional beef sliders with Gruyère and onion jam. Ice cream-topped apple cobbler appears in miniature iron skillets.
Once upon a time, when British poets wanted to signal morning, they referenced a bird named "skylark." This species that sings in flight isn't native to the U.S., but it does apply here as a verb. To "skylark" means to celebrate or joke, to fool around and show off, i.e. have fun. This sophisticated (OK, adult) spot purposely avoids a late-night club ID by operating only from dusk (5 pm) to midnight. It's a Skylark for the New World.
The Skylark, 200 W. 39th St., 30th fl., 212.257.4577, theskylarknyc.com
Jean Lawlor Cohen, former editor of Where Washington DC magazine and a part-time resident of New York City, reports on dining and the arts.