Published November 20, 2012
Bill of Goods
John DeLucie Remakes Bill’s Gay Nineties
Bill’s Gay Nineties.
The quintessential old-school watering hole. A onetime actual
speakeasy, tragically cut down in a
lease disagreement after 88 years of delightfully heavy-handed martinis.
You know the story
Here’s the sequel...
Meet just plain Bill’s
, an admittedly alluring homage to the beloved, piano-tinged earlier
version, now with gargantuan cuts of beef and a power lunch scene. It’s now open, and it’s brought to
you by the man behind the Lion and Crown.
Along with a lot of skeptical former patrons, here’s what you can expect from the new version...
All the old
stuff. The bar’s new, but antique. Same
with the croquet mallets, golf clubs and anonymous vintage team photos. The tan, tufted-leather banquettes
and ram’s and wild boar’s heads upstairs: “new.”
The piano in the downstairs bar. That
majestic second-floor fireplace
. The old-school entrance phone booth. Your low-lit, sepia-toned
existence there. And the silver-dollar “Bill’s” sign in the floor tiles. (Probably because they’re
What Still Stings
Those timeless checkered tablecloths at the two-tops near the
bar are gone. There’s a sign above the new, white-clothed tables that reads “Drunkards shall not inherit
the kingdom of God” that feels slightly low-blow-ish.
What’s Definitely Better
Two-person veal shanks, smoked bacon chops and house Bolognese
just completely overwhelm any
nostalgia you’ve got for dinner at the earlier Bill’s.
Oh, and they still do cocktails.
57 E 54th St
(at Madison Ave)
New York, NY 10022