Metro Grill’s Roof Bar Makes Drinking in the Rain Worth It
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so every week our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap. Mamacita is taking this week off, so Clay has stepped up to the plate.
Ok, I’ve had enough of this rain. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go outside and have a drink. It’s May already, I need some fresh air, sunshine and beer, preferably all at the same time. Lacking that, I went for two out of three and have taken a little time to check out roof bars of late. Earlier this week, I stopped in at Me Bar and last night after work, I decided to check out the often overlooked Metro Grill roof bar.
Situated on the top (13th) floor of a hotel, the bar is spacious, with friendly servers and a fairly decent selection of beer and cocktails.
Probably among the reasons that a lot of people don’t know about the roof bar is that at least one person on the staff at the bar downstairs has a bad habit of telling people it’s closed, presumably to keep the business (tips) downstairs. Pay no attention to that dude, and head straight through the lobby for the elevator to the penthouse. If you do, this is the view you’re in for:
It’s pretty wonderful and worth spending time in the uncovered smoking section just to take it in.
The rest of the bar is covered with high arches that give you all the fresh air (as fresh as you’ll get high above 35th Street) and sunlight (whenever that comes back). The benefit of Metro Grill being more unknown is that it doesn’t get nearly as swamped as Me Bar.
The trade off is that the beer selection isn’t nearly as good (but still not bad). There are seven drafts ranging from Miller Lite and Heineken to Harpoon and Brooklyn. The list claims that it’s Brooklyn Lager, but it tasted like the Pilsner to me – which is fine, it’s the better beer, imo.
At $7 a beer, it’s not remotely a bargain – and seems less so served in a plastic cup. Still, it is a hotel bar in Midtown with one of the few spaces to drink outside in the area. There is a happy hour special on the cans, which the waitress seemed to have a hard time confirming. From what I gather, it’s $3 for Rolling Rock and Corona cans.
Metro Grill also serves bar food, with many standards like wings and sliders, but also a couple surprising options like mussels and fried oysters.
I decided to go for the more standard option of hot wings. When I opened my little plastic container, I was pretty disappointed to see only six pieces of chicken in there considering the price tag of $11. Then I started eating them and was even more disappointed that there weren’t more- they had a great crispy exterior, a real heat to the spice and plump, juicy meat inside. I really liked them and could totally have eaten twice as many. Clearly I wasn’t going to drop another $11 though.
Metro Grill has plenty of downsides. The prices aren’t great, they tend to get many more tourists than Me bar does and the staff, though friendly, doesn’t seem to have a great handle on everything just yet.
Still, the beer is good, the food is good and it’s a great space with a great view. Even better, the space is perfect for happy hour with co-workers because it’s not nearly as crowded as pretty much every other bar in the area (most of which are just as expensive). I’ll definitely keep it in mind for future gatherings in the area.
Metro Grill Roof Bar, 45 W. 35th Street (btw. 5+6th), Penthouse. 212-279-3535