By Jackie Yin
If there exists a place in the center of the city where you can push open a wall to discover a secret cellar, gaze at the ceiling covered with toys and still savor every taste of your fine dish, 21 Club is your place. Opened by two cousins, Jackie Kriendlyer and Charlie Berns, in 1930, 21 Club has become an icon of New York City and American history.
21 Club is located in midtown near Fifth Avenue, the Broadway Theater District and most of New York City’s leading hotels. Once entering the front door, you found yourself greeted by courteous staff in a dimly lit space furnished in a style that resembles theater houses from the 30’s. It can best be described as vintage yet restful.
The heart of the house is the Bar Room, the dining area that holds many tales from the past. The second table to the entrance was Frank Sinatra’s favorite, where he would constantly check the front door while nibble at spicy Italian cherry peppers while waiting for dinner.
Look above you and you will be astonished by their mass collection of colorful sports memorabilia donated by their distinguished clientele. Among the most famous are a miniature gas truck presented by the late Leon Hess, a helmet of football legends Frank Gifford, a racket of tennis stars Chris Evert and probably the most poignant of all, a model or the PT-109 presented by President John F. Kennedy. You’ll also find countless replicas of products that define American lifestyle. It’s not exaggerating to say that the collection is a veritable Hall of Fame for the past eight decades of American history.
Relax your body on the scarlet leather sofa, let your eyes wonder on the menu and let your stomach decide – American Hackleback Caviar, Jumbo Poached Shrimp, Grilled Spanish Octopus, “Speakeasy” Steak Tartare, Creamy Chicken Hash – your greatest satisfaction guaranteed! With a love of fine art, Executive Chef John Greeley uses the freshest ingredients to create sumptuous dishes that stir up your appetite.
But that’s not all the excitement that awaits you at the legendary 21 Club. Remember part of your adventure is to push open a wall and discover a secret cellar? Built to be invisible in the basement and hidden behind smoked hams and shelved canned goods, the two-and-a-half ton door is camouflaged to be part of the wall. Open it with an 18-inch meat skewer through one of the many cracks and get lost in the aisles of the cellar that holds 2,000 cases of wine!
21 Club is a living testament to a time gone by and with all the good wines to share, good recipes to surprise you and good stories, it is no wonder that it is as popular today, as it was eight decades ago. Recharge your spirit at 21 Club and feel like a child again.
21 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
1 (800) 721 CLUB