This clubby jewel box of a bar, hidden inside Grand Central Terminal, was the long-abandoned office and salon of millionaire magnate and railroad bigwig John W. Campbell (and not his home, despite the name). The renovation preserved much of Campbell’s expensive tastes; he’s said to have added the hand-painted timber ceiling and enormous lead-glass window to evoke a medieval Florentine palace. Whatever the inspiration, the low-lit ambience is convincingly old-fashioned and a great hidden spot for a tumbler of vintage whiskey (there are 20 varieties) or a Kir Royale. Sadly, that vibe can be hard to sense when the place is clogged with office drones after work; weekends are quieter.
Tip: Leave the sneakers—designer label or not—at home; you won’t get in wearing them.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.