Last night I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Stoneleigh Hotel, a 1923 property that was restored to its glamorous Beaux Arts self just last year. It's actually a five-minute walk from my apartment. I met Kate Neu, the hotel's PR director, at the bar, which is the kind of place that exudes old-world romance à la the Oak Room. On one wall, a worn red velvet banquette with a back spiring to the ceiling begs for you to sit on it and sip and old-fashioned as you daintily swing your high heel and scan the room. Above the bar itself are several pretty beaded glass chandeliers. But the best part was learning from the bartender a few secrets about the place...You see, back in its heyday the owner lived in the penthouse, which he outfitted with all kinds of secret passageways and storage spots. He even hid his mistress in a room on the second floor. Sneaky, sneaky.
I got to walk through that 12th-floor penthouse, which is now used as an event space. 500-year-old wood panels ring an entire room, there's hand-painted wallpaper in the dining room, and cozy little library bar. Now, I just need someone to hold a function there (and invite me). Meanwhile, I can't wait to mynext take in-town visitor to the bar!