Updates, Live

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Campbell Apartment

The Campbell Apartment at Grand Central: an amazing room, some say the largest in New York, anyway the tallest, and sure one of the most upscale cocktail lounges you could imagine.

The legend goes that here was a clandestine bar during the Prohibition, which explains why it is located in a pretty hidden corner of the Grand Central building: you cannot find it by yourself, someone who knows has to be with you.

Actually it seems that it wasn't a bar by those times. John W. Campbell (a financier and railroad executive) rented the room and made it his office. He hired architect Augustus N. Allen to remodel the space. The architect made from the room a Florentine palace, with a hand painted timbered ceiling, organ pipes, and a huge fireplace, in which John Campbell put a steal safe.

At nights private receptions were organized with music (and maybe also with drinks, which explains the legend about the clandestine bar).

After Campbell died, the room entered in disrepair. It was used as store room for the station and even as a small jail.

In 1999 the space was restored and became an upscale bar, with bartenders having the real upscale style:) It is not very expensive, though. I was there one of these days, with one of my sisters (I wouldn't have found the place by myself) and as I was sipping a glass of wine I wandered whether the timbered closets were not hiding some skeletons. A waiter came and opened one of the closets, so I could see that there were not skeletons at all, only bottles of Scotch and Bourbon: enough bottles to feed a small regiment.

The coats of arms of the Campbell family are over the fireplace, and in ancient times the Campbells and McDonalds of Scotland were in great rivalry, which made me suddenly very careful: they say there is some McDonald inheritance in our blood :)

By the way, the name of Campbell is pronounced Camel. That's it!

(New York, New York)

(Bartenders and Mixologists)



Post a Comment

<< Home