Ralph Lauren’s NYC Polo Bar is open. And it’s handsome.

Polo Bar, NYC
Polo Bar, NYC

Four blocks from the Carlyle Hotel, three blocks from the Manhattan Apple Store, two blocks from the Museum of Modern Art and the Paley Center for Media, and just across the street from 5th Avenue Presbyterian  Church, New Yorkers now have a brand-new watering hole. It’s also branded as a restaurant.

Polo Bar maitre d’ station

Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar has opened at 1 East 55th Street—It’s Lauren’s third restaurant (he has one in Paris—Ralph’s at 173, Boulevard Saint Germain—and  another in Chicago—RL at 115 East Chicago Avenue. Like his other restaurants, Polo Bar’s menus seem to promote a serious cocktail experience backed up by a small, but substantial menu of pricey, but simply prepared meat, fish, and fowl.

Polo Bar, the burger

The space on 55th and Fifth Avenue is handsome in a horsey, idealized gentlemen’s club sort of way. The New York Times’s Fred R. Conrad wrote that, “To call the Polo Bar clubby would be a meek understatement. Aglow with amber light and dense with equestrian paintings and trophies, it feels like a country club as staged by Steven Spielberg.”

NYC Polo Bar, the bar.

I agree with Conrad that Polo Bar is a bit Disneyland in look and feel. I also predict that it will be a hand-over-fist money-maker in much the same way that the Disney theme parks are. Locals may go once out of curiosity or to stay in the know. Tourists will swarm the place and spend and spend and spend—they will most likely drop an extra few hundred on polo horse emblazoned merchandise. Shirts, sweaters, shorts, shoes, scarfs, et al.

Here’s the Polo Bar, dinner menu

As for me, I think I’ll stay a few blocks west when I’m in New York and spend my chow-time (and dinner-dollars) at the venerable 21 Club or the Russian Tea Room or Gallagher’s or Joe Allen. All five restaurants are in the same price range. The eateries on my go-to list, though, have developed and perfected their ambiance, their culinary skills and extensive menus, and their superior, attentive service over many decades.

[A personal word to the wise: Joe Allen, in the theatre district, serves one of the best dishes of steak tartare in the city.]

By Stephen Brockelman

As a Sr. Writer at T. Rowe Price, I work with a group of the best copywriters around. We belong to the broader creative team within Enterprise Creative, a part of Corporate Marketing Services. _____________________________________________ A long and winding road: My path to T. Rowe Price was more twisted than Fidelity’s green line. With scholarship in hand, I left Kansas at 18 to study theatre in New York. When my soap opera paychecks stopped coming from CBS and started coming from the show’s sponsor, Proctor & Gamble, I discovered the power of advertising and switched careers. Over the years I’ve owned an ad agency in San Francisco; worked for Norman Lear on All in the Family, Good Times, Sanford and Son, and the rest of his hit shows; and as a member of Directors Guild of America, I directed Desi Arnaz in his last television appearance— we remained friends until his death. In 1988 I began freelancing full time didn’t look back. In January 2012 my rep at Boss Group called and said, “I know you don’t want to commute and writing for the financial industry isn’t high on your wish list, but I have a gig with T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills…” I was a contractor for eight months, drank the corporate Kool-Aid, became a TRP associate that August, and today I find myself smiling more often than not.


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