Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle

Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle, New York City: Hours, Address, Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle Reviews: 4.5/5

Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle

Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle
12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
12:00 PM - 12:30 AM
12:00 PM - 12:30 AM
12:00 PM - 12:30 AM
12:00 PM - 1:00 AM
12:00 PM - 1:00 AM
12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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The area
Neighborhood: Upper East Side
Combining quiet residential neighborhoods that have easy access to Central Park with world-famous cultural institutions, the Upper East Side is one of the most livable places in the city. Along beautiful Fifth Avenue, you’ll find Museum Mile, which houses many of the nation's most famous attractions in a single stretch, like The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum. Walk a few blocks into the neighborhood, and you’ll come to Park Avenue, the poshest address in the city, lined with grand apartment buildings as far as the eye can see. Even if you can’t afford the luxury goods along Madison Avenue, it’s still a great spot to window shop an afternoon away.
How to get there
  • 77th St • 4 min walk
  • 68th St – Hunter College • 9 min walk
Popular mentions

125 reviews
Very good

Trondheim, Norway336 contributions
Dec 2019
Stayed at the hotel for some days and "tried" going to the bar.

It is extremly busy and seems like there was alot of non-hotel guests there. Which is fine, but disapointing since the paying hotel guests then dont get to experience the place properly.

Still worth a visit just to get a feel of the old NY.
Written January 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Charles M
6 contributions
Dec 2018 • Friends
A wonderful experience. We have been to Bemelman's a number of times and it is usually a great experience however the last time we went was in mid December and the bar was packed so we had to sit in the tea area. The wait staff was swamped and it took a long time to get our drinks. So although I would definitely recommend going to Bemelmans I would avoid it around Christmas.
Written December 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Saskatoon, Canada8,297 contributions
May 2015 • Solo
There are so many references throughout Manhattan’s history and pop culture to the Carlyle Hotel, in general, and Bemelmans Bar, in particular, that when I found myself on the Upper East Side with an open window of time, I thought I’d drop in to check it out. That was in October of 2012 and since then, on every trip I make to NYC, I try to fit in at least one stop there.

There are a few reasons to check out the Bar. Any one in isolation might be enough, but together they make a must-do iconic and chic New York moment.

One of the biggest parts of the Bemelmans story lies in the murals created by Ludwig Bemelmans (one panel is dated 1947), fantastic illustrator and author, who has offered a rendering of the wildlife in Central Park on the surfaces of the room—walls and lampshades. It is said that this is the only place where you can publicly view his artwork, so it makes for a perfect stop for refreshment after a visit to one of the formal outlets along Museum Mile mere blocks away. Though the bulk of the room is cast in the golden hues of warmer seasons, be sure to seek out the winter scene in one corner for the full experience. The Carlyle has long been a home, or home away from home, for celebrities and royalty. It is the Windsors’ destination of choice, the Kennedys owned an apartment there in the 50s-60s, it has lately been where you can see the likes of George Clooney and Nicole Kidman and Rihanna, and the celebrity world prepares there before heading to the Met Gala. And there is the real possibility that you could find repeat-customer Paul McCartney sitting at the table next to you at Bemelmans.

The menu of appealing drink concoctions makes a decision difficult at times, but it’s worth repeat visits to try them all (I’m working my way through the list). When you order a martini, you receive a back up in a sidecar on ice. Every table receives a set of three snacks: the cheese nips are worth a visit in themselves! There is a reasonably priced food menu as well and, of course, wine pairings are available.

Bemelmans Bar offers two shows of jazz every evening. The first goes from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and the second is from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. (until 1 a.m. on weekends). The early show is usually a solo musician and the late show features a trio. There is an imposed cover charge for the late show (the price varies depending on whether you sit at the bar or at a table, and night of the week) and the charge will be automatically added to your tab. Of the world-class musicians on the roster in rotation, I have come to the point of going particularly on the nights when the talented and charismatic Chris Gillespie is playing. He is the best of the best and I find out when he or his trio is scheduled before I make my plan to stop by the Bar.

While many of us are there for the room and entertainment, some are just there for the venue, and talk/laughter can get very loud. I find it disrespectful to the stellar musicians and disrespectful to the fellow patrons, particularly when I am paying a $35 cover for the show. If conversation can’t be contained to breaks or before and after the musicians’ sets, there is the lobby or an ante-room where the music can still be heard which are conducive to visiting. I would appreciate it if the staff would make it a practice to ask the more raucous to limit their noise to a level more in keeping with such an establishment out of respect for the others in the room.

For what you receive, spread over hours of entertainment and memory-making, Bemelmans Bar is great value for the money and one of the top 5 things that visitors to or residents of Manhattan should do. I guess you could say that I like the place! I’m happy to answer any questions that my comments have raised if you contact me directly.

The bar menu and schedule of performers is listed at
Written August 30, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

West Chester, PA4 contributions
Mar 2020
Went to the Bar after a Concert. I had looked up the menu on their web site before going. Arrived there at 11:00, to be told that they don't serve food anymore. The room has not changed in years. The jazz trio that played were excellent, but the help were unhelpful, bordering on rude. Right out of a George Raft Havana movie from 1950. We each had one drink, no food, with cover charge the bill for one session was $102. Used to love the place , but will never go again.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lourdes S
Puerto Rico21 contributions
We were very excited to visit such a famous bar, my expectations were high, sadly it was a disappointment . The Bar is too small for the amount of visitors, the manager was rude to us when we asked for a table. First he told us there was a list so we asked him to be included on the list ,he said he would not do so. We were very confused by his actions, be kept ignoring us, to get a drink we had to hustle in a corner to ask the bar tender, which was nice and sold us two Cosmopolitan, we only had this two drinks because it was very uncomfortable to be standing up in a corner among others and with no service whatsoever. Attention was extremely bad and honestly the manager's attitude was very fishy to us, some made the list other's like us didn't!! I wonder why??????$$$$$...
Written December 26, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

fia y
Lyon, France48 contributions
Jun 2017
First time in NYC and a friend took me here, what a great idea. Nice atmosphere, great band, and pleasant staff. Well worth 120$ for a bottle of Prosecco!
Written June 20, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Washington DC, District of Columbia242 contributions
Dec 2016 • Friends
I once lived in the area and spent a lot of time (and money) at the Bemelman's Bar. However, I moved away and have been limited to a once or twice a year visit. This time we came and asked the host, mgr to be seated. We were told that the "list" was too long to seat us at all during the rest of the night, all in a memorably dismissive tone. We had arrived around 8:20 and Loston Harris would not begin his performance until 9:30. We left, probably never to return. The host was a cartoon caricature of self importance and arrogance.

Subsequently, i looked on the hotel website and could not find any information regarding obtaining a reservation for the Bemelman's Bar. So, the absence of a stated process when coupled with a dismissive staff member is a poor combination. If you've never gone, I urge you to consider going, however, be aware that you may encounter the situation I've described. Be prepared.
Written December 11, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Berlin, Germany223 contributions
Dec 2019
The great thing about hotel bars is that they are pretty much always open. And hopping. We were here on Christmas -- in the evening, after the children and parents had all gone to bed -- and it was definitely party-time. Jazz combo in the front room and hardly a place to put your drink down (not that you'd want to: the drinks are good), slightly less racket and more light in the back room with table seating. Snagged a table (no reservations), ordered fabulous cocktails and felt, well, ho! ho! ho! and Merry Christmas to you all!
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Peter F
Staten Island, NY1,576 contributions
Sep 2019
We had a wonderful experience here on an Saturday evening. It is one of the best rooms in NYC. Rob Mosci was an excellent performer and gladly took requests.
Written September 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

San Francisco, CA4 contributions
Sep 2019
Forget your Broadway musicals! Head straight to Bemelman's your first night in New York and soak up this outpost of what night life and entertainment in old New York is all about. Always superb live jazz, drop in guests from the NY Philharmonic (5 the night we were there) and Broadway stars new and old, plus composers and lyricists. Oh yes, they do serve drinks, maybe the largest in NY. Is it expensive? Depends on what you value.
Written September 21, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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