For many of us, there’s an unwritten understanding that politics should not be discussed at the dinner table. But if you’re in politics, it’s the exact opposite: wining and dining are intrinsic elements of the political process.
Candidates for elected office often plan photo-ops at beloved local eateries, invite supporters to connect with them over dinner or drinks at fundraisers and host election night parties at popular nightlife destinations. Elected officials hold court and huddle with advisers and allies at certain bars or restaurants, while government staffers gather at their own favorite watering holes. Political clubs, advocacy organizations and trade associations host swanky galas at catering and banquet halls, while lobbyists, advocates and journalists schedule coffee or drinks with politicians to forge personal connections to those in power.
That’s why we at City & State decided to highlight some of the most notable bars, restaurants, event spaces and other venues frequented by New York’s political set. This list, researched and written by contributor Aaron Short, features a wide range of establishments, many of them not widely known as political hot spots, from across the state. We’re pleased to present our first Top 50 Political Hangouts list.
This charming Queens Village catering hall near the Queens and Nassau County border has hosted countless weddings and banquets since 1945 – and even entertained the Kennedys and Clintons. Antun’s’ half-century affiliation with the Queens Democratic Party is perhaps the city’s oldest continuing political relationship. Since the 1970s, the party has held its judicial conventions, annual galas and Guy R. Brewer United Democratic Club fundraisers at the labor-friendly venue (former lawmaker Mark Weprin attends 10 events a year there and a Queens Republican club even hosted former Trump adviser Steve Bannon there once). Owner Mickey King said Antun’s struggled during the pandemic, but business has picked up since.
Conveniently located off Route 27, the Capri hotel has long attracted well-heeled out-of-towners thanks to its association with lawyer-to-the-stars Mark Geragos and being the site of Nobu and BLT Steakhouse pop-ups. Owner Michael Pitsinos has turned the 30-room Southampton hotel into a celebrity magnet in short order while beefing up its restaurant, NAIA Hamptons, with chef Andrew Molen’s talents. Pitsinos also hosts Saturday roundtables that have been frequented by Gov. Kathy Hochul, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and state Attorney General Letitia James when they’re in town. Hochul even stopped in for breakfast with John Catsimatidis just days before she was sworn in as the state’s first female governor.
Long Island politicians still favor hashing out decisions and meeting with constituents at diners over club backrooms, and the Carle Place Diner is one of their favorite haunts. Located just off the Meadowbrook State Parkway, the art deco-style diner hasn’t changed much over the decades thanks to the efforts of owner Larry Hotzoglou. There are a couple dozen three-egg omelettes to choose from, and you can’t go wrong with spinach and feta.
Albany cycles through bars like the state Senate turns over its leadership, but City Beer Hall has had staying power since Kenny Schachter and Kaelin Ballinger opened it in 2011. The Capitol press horde often congregates at the Howard Street gastropub when the state Legislature is in session (then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo crashed a reporters’ birthday triumvirate celebration in March 2014). Queens state Sen. Jessica Ramos held a fundraiser on the second floor in 2019. Pandemic shutdowns forced City Beer Hall to close intermittently, but it remains a hit among upstaters and out-of-towners alike.
If you want to take the pulse of the average Westchester voter and spot more than a few celebrities, look no further than City Limits Diner. Owner Nick Livanos has made the White Plains restaurant welcoming for everyone, whether you’re Jerry Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais filming a bit for “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” or the late Vogue editor André Leon Talley who sometimes ate three meals a day there. A stream of politicos frequent the diner too. You can be like Seinfeld and order two eggs over well with bacon, or Talley and stick with turkey chili.
A wave of modern Latin-Caribbean restaurants have opened across New York City in recent years, but Con Sofrito has emerged as the magnet for the Bronx’s ascendant Black and Latino politicos. The Parkchester restaurant and party venue hosted Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson’s election night watch party in 2021 and a fundraiser for state Sen. Nathalia Fernandez. Former Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. held the Puerto Rican Day Parade after-party there, and the Hip Hop Blvd Awards honored him there two years ago. Try the shrimp empanadas and any of the mofongos.
When you need to throw a party on Long Island for 1,600 of your closest friends, there’s nowhere else to turn but Crest Hollow Country Club. When the Woodbury venue isn’t throwing lavish bar and bat mitzvahs, it welcomes events for both parties – sometimes simultaneously. Nassau bigwig Jay Jacobs has brought former Govs. Mario Cuomo, David Paterson, Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Kathy Hochul to Crest Hollow over the years. Then-first lady Michelle Obama made her pilgrimage there in 2012 and Hillary Rodham Clinton was spotted a year later. Even then-presidential candidate Donald Trump entertained Nassau County’s MAGA faithful at a presidential soiree at the country club in May 2016. Chuck Schumer is no stranger either, addressing a Long Island Association breakfast there in January.
Back when the unremarkable Center Street Pub was open, legislative aides hogged the bar and dominated the jukebox after a long day of budget hearings (Williamsburg lawmakers Marty Dilan and Vito Lopez were regulars too). New owners Brianne Baggetta and Timothy Dillon cleaned up the circa-1854 brownstone and reopened it in October 2018 as Dove + Deer. The pub’s trendy fare wowed the Times Union (its Utica greens are a regional specialty) and now regularly draws Albany and state officials (state Sen. Kevin Parker held a fundraiser there recently). The restaurant and its townhouse were put up for sale in March.
The El Caribe had been the site of Russian mafia meet-ups in the 1970s up through the 1990s, but these days, it plays host to Brooklyn Bar Association award dinners, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce honorary galas and annual fundraisers for both Brooklyn Democratic and Republican party organizations, not to mention countless weddings and bar mitzvahs. The Mill Basin catering hall and social club has been owned by Brooklyn Dr. Morton Levine as well as several nieces and nephews – for a time including former Trump consigliere Michael Cohen, who sold his stake in the business after the 2016 presidential election.
The best place to get a coffee near City Hall happens to be in the historic Woolworth Building. Five & Dime, a play on the five-cent general store the Woolworths opened nearly a century and a half ago, has been serving espresso drinks and specialty cocktails since 2017. The horseshoe marble bar, perhaps the handsomest in the city, is a frequent site for informal strategy sessions. Downtown politicos tend to visit in the morning, but the bar rents its lobby for special events at night. The Old Fashioned is the drink to get during happy hour.
When Republican lawmakers need a place to crash during long session nights, they often turn to the Fort Orange Club. Built in 1810, the Georgian-style building served as a family residence and boarding house where former Vice President Aaron Burr once stayed before it became a private members-only club in 1880. The social club boasts more than 600 members, and in 2022, it hosted 36 fundraisers for lawmakers (largely Republicans but not exclusively) in the first five months of the year alone – including three simultaneously in one night. Annual dues for nonresidents are around $2,500, so why not try the Dover sole and a martini? Sadly, longtime barkeep Bill Leonard retired last year.
No trip to Buffalo is complete without a jaunt to one of the greatest bars in America. Housed in an 1874 stable, Founding Fathers Pub has perhaps the largest collection of presidential bric-a-brac outside of the Smithsonian Institution. Owner Mike Driscoll leads a presidential trivia night so renowned that CNN filmed a documentary about it. The bar is the final destination for election night parties and one of the few places still drawing a mixed political crowd. There are free nachos and popcorn to be had, but you’re coming here to drink a pint of Southern Tier or Big Ditch.
Once the most glamorous restaurant in Brooklyn, Gage & Tollner served diners like Jimmy Durante and Mae West oysters, clams casino and sirloin before its closure in 2004. Owners Sohui Kim, Ben Schneider and St. John Frizell revived the 144-year-old chophouse in 2021 with zhuzhed-up original fixtures and menu items harkening back to its Gilded Age roots. The borough’s creative class has made Gage & Tollner among the hottest reservations in town. Don’t miss the baked Alaska.
The Hilton Albany is two blocks from the state Capitol. There’s an indoor pool, rooms to rent for under $200 during session, what more do you want? The building underwent a $14 million renovation a decade ago plus another $3.5 million upgrade in 2015, which modernized the 44-year old hotel. Democratic legislators have supported the hotel’s unionized workforce (workers picketed for four months in 2017 over a contract dispute) and the state Association of Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislators continues to hold its caucus weekend events at the Hilton every February.
If Staten Island is a Republican realm, the Hilton Garden Inn is its fortress. Located just off Interstate 278, the Bloomfield hotel has served as the party’s election night headquarters and annual gala site for years. Vito Fossella held a thank you brunch for supporters at the Inn in December 2008 after resigning from Congress. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich entertained a crowd at a town hall in 2011. Five years later, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was the guest of honor at the Staten Island GOP’s Lincoln Day celebration. And former Rep. Michael Grimm chose the hotel ballroom to celebrate a comeback bid that fell short in June 2018 (at least Anthony Scaramucci showed up).
The 43-year-old diner located in the center of New York’s most diverse neighborhood is a symbol of the rising influence of Asian American voters. Then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton highlighted the community’s diversity during her 2016 visit to Jackson Diner when she appeared with then-Rep. Joe Crowley, then-Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and other state lawmakers. Today, nearly all of the officials she appeared with have been succeeded by people of color. Clinton’s advance team advised her correctly when she ordered tandoori chicken, goat curry and bhindi aloo from the buffet.
The Chinatown dim sum palace has been a scene of pleasurable chaos where patrons gobbled up 8,000 shrimp dumplings on weekends since 1978. Politicians like state Sen. John Liu, Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar and New York City Council Member Christopher Marte hold fundraising banquets there to woo neighborhood elders, and so do nonprofit groups and Stuyvesant’s parent association. COVID-19 forced the Lam family to shutter its Elizabeth Street dining room in March 2021 and lay off workers, but they moved to a smaller location in SoHo nine months later. The har gow is as delectable as ever.
The West Brighton Irish pub, founded by Mary and Jody Haggerty, has been a hangout spot for North Shore Democrats to toast their success or drown their sorrows in a pint over the decades. Former Rep. Max Rose, a Democrat, has been seen at Jody’s Club Forest drinking Bud Light so frequently, that the bar became a second office (plus he held fundraisers there). The North Shore Democratic Club meets there monthly too. The shell steak is a good deal, and the beers are cheap.
A decade ago, Junior’s owner Alan Rosen contemplated selling the Brooklyn site of his iconic diner to developers for $45 million – but he turned them down. The borough’s politicos, who gather there each year for breakfast on the Friday before Election Day, rejoiced. Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, whose passion for Junior’s inspired its own blog, helped make the restaurant a symbol of the borough. And like Brooklyn, Junior’s has exported its brand to Manhattan, the suburbs and nationwide through supermarkets and mail orders. In January, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries met there for brunch. Don’t miss a classic cheesecake.
This unassuming diner serves breakfast until 11:30 a.m. but stands out thanks to a sign with a red vintage motorcycle on a pole out front. Once you’re inside Kipp’s Restaurant, you realize you’re in MAGA country. The South Wales restaurant is festooned with Donald Trump bumper stickers, photographs, banners and a life-size Trump and Melania cutout. Assembly Member David DiPietro is among the Republican politicians known to drop by (Gov. Kathy Hochul has visited too). Bring cash since Kipp’s is cash only but not a lot. Two eggs, home fries and toast will set you back about $5.
Republicans may have the Hilton Garden Inn, but Democrats can always go to the Staaten. The West Brighton restaurant and catering hall has hosted Democratic fundraisers and election night parties, and owner Jack LiGreci, who was roasted there in 2018 before renovating the place over the summer, has also catered to the borough’s diverse needs. The Seamen’s Society for Children and Families holds its annual gala there as does the North Central Kiwanis Club and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce’s Louis R. Miller Awards.
New Yorkers might be forgiven for assuming Marina Del Rey is next to Venice Beach, but the elegant Throggs Neck venue has waterfront views that are just as stunning. Bronx Democrats have been flocking to the catering hall for decades for their annual fundraising dinner – usually in July but now shifted to the fall after the pandemic. Past events there have drawn Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Kathy Hochul, Assembly Speakers Sheldon Silver and Carl Heastie, and state Attorney General Letitia James. Once in a while a Yankee great makes an appearance too.
Soul food is in Melba Wilson’s blood. A niece of Sylvia’s proprietor Sylvia Woods, Wilson organized gospel brunch Sundays at the family restaurant and worked at Rosa Mexicano and Windows on the World before launching her own southern-inflected establishment in 2005. She was elected president of the NYC Hospitality Alliance board in 2019 and helped Black-owned businesses obtain loans to stay afloat as a member of New York City’s COVID-19 advisory council. The chicken and waffles are so tasty that Prince Harry took Meghan Markle on a lunch date there in 2021 – and pilfered a waffle fry from another patron.
Media moguls, publishing executives and ex-Bloomberg types have converged on this Midtown mainstay to make deals over tuna tartare and shrimp cocktail since 1989. But it wasn’t until Elaine’s closed in 2011 that Michael’s took the torch as the chattering classes’ cafeteria. Owner Michael McCarty gladhands patrons like Michael Wolff, Steve Kroft, Al Roker, Bryant Gumbel, Ray Kelly, Andrew Stein and Jimmy Finkelstein (when he isn’t at his sister restaurant in Santa Monica). The restaurant cut its capacity in half after closing for a year during the pandemic, but the Cobb salad remains the city’s best.
Buzzy restaurants like Carbone’s and Rubirosa have satiated New York City’s obsession with red sauce eateries, but if you want the real thing, head to Michael’s. The Cacace family has been serving their famed marinara sauce on Avenue R since 1964. Its proximity to the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club brought in a political clientele. Once Canarsie rainmaker Frank Seddio became Brooklyn’s Democratic boss in 2012, the party’s endorsement decisions were made over plates of antipasti. Seddio’s successor Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn continues the horse-trading tradition and New York City Mayor Eric Adams makes unannounced stops.
Pandemic shutdowns decimated City Hall’s happy hour options (RIP Reade Street Tavern and Maxwell’s), but Monk McGinns is still serving 28 beers on draft, a slew of classic cocktails and a killer brunch. Damien O’Brien and Tadhg O’Callaghan opened the Murray Street gastropub in 2018, and the bar’s spacious two levels have since become a favorite among thirsty bureaucrats, New York City Council staffers, and City Hall underlings, not to mention the lobbyists and journalists trying to cozy up to them. The range of craft beers is truly impressive, and the buffalo chicken or cauliflower bites are always a good call.
The New York Hilton was New York City’s largest hotel when it opened in 1963 and is still among the city’s biggest. John Lennon wrote “Imagine” while he lodged there in 1971 – but the Beatle couldn’t have imagined that Donald Trump would celebrate a presidential victory in the hotel’s grand ballroom by cutting into a cake shaped like his face. The Hilton, which is known for hosting presidents, has also been a venue for the Real Estate Board of New York’s and Inner Circle’s annual extravaganzas.
Of the seafood shacks that dotted the Brooklyn coastline when fishing predominated the region’s economy, only a handful remain. In 1955, Nick’s Lobster House’s owner sold lobsters off his boat on Flatbush Avenue and has since expanded to include a fish market and outdoor deck. Last summer, the deck drew Brooklyn Democratic Party executives to pick judicial nominees for state Supreme Court before the party’s official convention while snacking on fried calamari (though Democratic boss Frank Seddio made a splash by clashing with a rival district leader). We hear the lobster rolls are nice.
This splashy Midtown Italian bistro has been anointed the city’s latest power dining destination thanks to the mayor’s mysterious friendship with owners Robert and Zhan Petrosyants. New York City Mayor Eric Adams attended its grand opening a week after winning his election and returned so frequently with VIPs like Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio that The New York Times tailed him. (The Gray Lady’s Maureen Dowd dined with him there too). Osteria La Baia’s branzino induced the mayor into temporarily abandoning his vegan diet. He now orders the Caesar salad sans anchovies – a fitting choice given his dinner companions’ backstabbing dietary comments – although the New York Post favors the pan-seared skate.
Steps from Brooklyn’s federal courthouse, Park Plaza has been the refueling station for the borough’s defense attorneys and defendants whose charges they are trying to beat. Eric Adams posted up at a coveted corner table at the Brooklyn Heights diner to meet with constituents and give interviews to the press when he was Brooklyn borough president. Plenty of judges come in too. The diner has been in the Likourentzos family for its 40-year history. Dimitri Likourentzos, the general manager and chef now, launched a new barbecue restaurant in Park Plaza’s back room that is worth checking out.
One of the last vestiges of Corona’s Italian immigrant community, Park Side Restaurant originally catered to neighborhood denizens (and had reputed ties to the Genovese family) as a supper club in the 1960s. Anthony Federici took over the restaurant from his parents and served red sauce classics to celebrities like Johnny Depp, Dolly Parton and Robert De Niro and a veritable parade of Queens Democrats for four decades before he died last year. Park Side is known for its chicken parmesan, although its eggplant rollatini is a knockout too. Wash it down with a refreshment from the Lemon Ice King across the street.
French-trained chefs Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel met while working in the kitchen of now-closed City Hall Restaurant two decades ago and opened their first restaurant in 2006. Now, their soul food empire encompasses four destinations, including a new Downtown Brooklyn outpost. The restaurants have become beloved among the Bedford-Stuyvesant political set, and nostalgic City Hall denizens who venture on the J train won’t be disappointed. Nashville-style fried chicken is the item to order at Peaches HotHouse, but anything with grits at Peaches’ original location on Lewis is sure to satisfy.
The 136-year-old German chophouse is perhaps the quintessential New York restaurant and the setting for countless celebratory dinners, bachelor parties and C-suite nights on the town. Then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was known to eat with his police commissioners at Peter Luger. State legislators actually pay their bill at the Williamsburg steakhouse (unlike a few other places over the years). A lackluster review in the Times in 2019 hasn’t stopped crowds from stuffing the place like an oversized baked potato. A single steak is more than enough, and the half-pound Luger burger for lunch is a steal.
Perched on the edge of Shellbank Basin, Russo’s On The Bay has been making matrimonial dreams come true since 1987. Its mammoth capacity has drawn Queens organizations like Angels on the Bay, the Howard Beach Kiwanis and the Diocese of Brooklyn, whose bishop Robert Brennan raised $300,000 there for a Catholic foundation on Christmas. This being Howard Beach, Russo’s is a magnet for Republicans like Eric Ulrich, who held his New York City Council victory party there in 2013 and returned for his New York City public advocate election night party six years later. (The venue’s reputed mob ties to the Gambino family are part of its lore too).
This Italian steakhouse on the outskirts of Buffalo contains dozens of white neoclassical sculptures, patterned persian rugs, tuxedo-clad waiters and an ornate chandelier room with more sparkle than a Fifth Avenue Christmas lights display. No wonder Erie County Republicans wined and dined Donald Trump at Salvatore’s when he considered running for governor in 2014. The Depew restaurant, which changed its name from Salvatore Italian Gardens to Salvatore’s Italian Prime three years ago, declined to host a Trump rally in September 2020 but still welcomes Republican fundraisers (Rep. Nick Langworthy loves the place).
Built by Loews Corp.’s Preston and Laurence Tisch in 1962, the massive hotel was once touted as the tallest in the world. Democratic loyalists know the Sheraton as the base for Jimmy Carter during the 1976 and 1980 Democratic National Conventions. A frequent site of state conventions in election years, the hotel has been a favorite of the Cuomos and Clintons. Mario and Andrew held gubernatorial election night parties there, and Hillary celebrated her 2016 Democratic primary victory, which sealed her historic presidential nomination, in the Metropolitan Ballroom.
When the founders of Mayday Space, an organizing collective for North Brooklyn’s left-leaning activists, needed a revenue-raising venue, they decided to open a bar in 2016. Starr Bar immediately became a hub of Bushwick nightlife and Democratic Socialists of America social gatherings that dedicated proceeds to support Mayday’s movement-building programs. No wonder state Sen. Julia Salazar, Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and then-Working Families Party lieutenant governor candidate Ana María Archila held fundraisers and election night watch parties there. The margaritas here are tasty – and you’re drinking for a good cause.
Make the pilgrimage to the West Village for a peek at living history. The Stonewall Inn was the site of the most important event sparking the movement for gay liberation in America in 1969 and has become a touchstone for every significant fight for LGBTQ+ rights since. The bar kicked off the city’s annual pride parade in 1970, inspired several Democratic clubs around the country, and was named a national monument in 2016. A new visitors center next door will open next summer. Until then, grab a Stonewall Inn IPA made by Brooklyn Brewery.
The Harlem luncheonette became an epicenter of Black culture thanks to Sylvia Woods, who smothered chicken thighs from 1962 until her death a decade ago. The Queen of Soul Food served too many dignitaries to name, but Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Whoopi Goldberg and Muhammad Ali were guests. The Rev. Al Sharpton uses the restaurant to assess candidates before offering his endorsement, taking Barack Obama there for lunch in 2007, noshing with Bernie Sanders in 2016 and chowing down with Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris in 2019. The fried chicken, collard greens and baked macaroni and cheese are worth the pilgrimage.
The no-frills Parkchester cafe is one of several Mexican taquerias in the Bronx, but what sets Taqueria Tlaxcalli apart is one very devoted fan. When then-House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was asked her favorite restaurant in a 2018 debate, she named Tlaxcalli. The progressive icon has continued to promote the restaurant on Twitter and took journalists profiling her there for dinner, giving the taqueria a bump in business. The steak burrito is among the tastiest in the city, and the grilled fish tacos are delicious.
It didn’t take long for Tavern On Reade to become the City Hall set’s go-to gastropub for celebrating career changes, christening political tell-alls or blowing off steam after a grueling week of committee hearings. Michael Zieleniewski, a career bartender who owns two Greenwich Village alehouses, took over the former Maxwell’s in September 2021 after it shuttered during the pandemic. The Tribeca watering hole has since hosted former de Blasio press secretary Karen Hinton’s memoir launch and Politico veteran Sally Goldenberg’s City Hall send-off in March.
While Seattle had SkyCity at the Space Needle and Chicago has the high-rise The Signature Room, New York City’s Terrace on the Park offers panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline. Built by the Port Authority for the 1964 World’s Fair, the brutalist catering hall in Corona once served as a heliport for the Beatles before their concert at Shea Stadium. Now, the landmark is known for hosting banquets for nonprofits like Queens Centers for Progress, York College Foundation and the Fairy Godmother Foundation as well as remaining one of the best locations for large weddings in the city.
The Beach Cafe has been open since 1968 but didn’t become the “Republican Cheers” until Donald Trump ran for president. Throughout the campaign, Trump World insiders Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski and Sam Nunberg descended on the Upper East Side haunt. Rupert Murdoch-friendly media titans like New York Post columnists Cindy Adams, Miranda Devine and Ann Coulter – who calls it “our Elaine’s” – swing through, as do the Trump children when they’re in town. Proprietor Dave Goodside knows his regulars’ drink orders and wheels out portable grills when guests want a hot dog. He even named a burger after Stone, although Stone prefers a New York strip with french fries.
The upscale steakhouse chain has several locations across the country, but its Chrysler Center outpost may be its most notable thanks to its proximity to the governor’s Midtown office. Gov. Kathy Hochul held a $25,000-per-plate fundraiser there in October 2021, two months after her swearing in, although most of her meals there have been less newsworthy (one exception was an eyebrow-raising run-in with former Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa in January). Order a filet mignon and a blackberry bourbon sidecar and pretend you’ve got legislation that needs the governor’s signature.
Located in Albany’s cultural quarter off North Pearl Street, The Hollow Bar + Kitchen is one of the few places politicos can get down to jam bands and progressive rock within walking distance from state government buildings. Owners Dora and Michael Philip helped revitalize downtown Albany when they opened The Hollow Bar + Kitchen in 2013. They closed for five months during the pandemic but reopened to supportive crowds. Now they’re buying Rosanna’s Italian Kitchen with a chef from The Ruck. The Albany favorite fried mozzarella with raspberry sauce is worth trying.
Lynn Wagenknecht’s Tribeca brasserie is still the center of downtown 43 years after its opening. The Odeon was once a debaucherous clubhouse for Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, SNL cast members and Robert De Niro before it became a nexus of Conde Nast glamour. Sometimes, Preet Bharara showed up when he was U.S. attorney. These days, it’s a favorite power lunch spot for New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ inner circle, including his former chief of staff, Frank Carone, and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks.
The tagline for Villa Lombardi is “reputation is everything,” and with good reason. When the luxurious Holbrook event venue isn’t catering to thousands of weddings, class reunions and corporate events, Suffolk County Democratic Committee Chair Rich Schaffer books the place for the county’s “no frills” annual dinner. Last year, state Attorney General Letitia James and Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado showed up and gave remarks. And then-presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton swung by for a buffet dinner when she was campaigning in the state’s presidential primary in 2016.
Without Jack’s Oyster House and Bongiorno’s, there’s currently a void for state lawmakers and lobbyists to chomp steaks and talk shop after session days in Albany. Public relations maven Todd Shapiro bought two buildings on Eagle Street, stuffed the ground floor with state-themed political memorabilia, and opened the Albany War Room Tavern on New Year’s Eve (there’s also a cigar lounge). Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams have made appearances, and state Sen. Jessica Ramos hobnobbed with former Queens lawmakers Joe Crowley and Ari Espinal after this year’s state budget deal. Sushi master Yasuo Saso’s offerings are the best north of Yonkers.
Zabar’s isn’t just New York City’s most beloved grocery store. The gourmet foods emporium is the pulse of the Upper West Side’s famously liberal voters. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who famously brought a Zabar’s bag with a babka to impeachment hearings in 2021, harnessed the energy of neighborhood noshers in his victory over Carolyn Maloney last year (canvassing in front of the store didn’t hurt either). Jerry Seinfeld and Glenn Close shop there, but Nadler, Linda Rosenthal and Gale Brewer are even bigger celebrities to regulars. Brewer honored Zabar’s 91-year-old lox whisperer Len Berk after returning from a pandemic furlough.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams gets up with the men in the morning, but he’s often out late with the boys at Zero Bond. Nightlife impresario Scott Sartiano, who owned aughts hot spots Butter and 1 OAK, opened the SoHo private members club in 2020. Celebs have been drawn to the place like moths to a nightlight. Leonardo DiCaprio, Lil Nas X and Chris Rock attended Elon Musk’s Met Gala after-party there, and Kim Kardashian and Tom Brady are regulars. But the social club became the definitive nightlife destination in the Adams era after the mayor held his celeb-studded victory party there and defended his partying ways to Stephen Colbert. Annual membership fees start at $2,750.
Did we miss any establishments that should be on this list? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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