By Terry Trucco
As a Paramount fan since its cheap-chic Philippe Starck/Ian Schrager days, I mourned the hotel’s fall into disrepair in the 2000s and cheered its renovation in 2009. But I disagreed with some design decisions. Apparently I wasn’t alone. The renovated Paramount keeps getting tweaked – and better.
First came the lobby (big improvement; see my previous blog). And now – not a moment too soon — the ground-floor bar. In its 2009 guise, Bar 46 Athletic Club, a sports bar with Italian furniture and a soccer-club color scheme, seemed more Marriott than Paramount and never caught on. But Paramount Bar, which opens officially April 12, may do the trick.
With black walls, red velvet banquettes and crystal chandeliers, it’s a welcome jolt of glamour on a glamour-starved stretch of West 46th Street (Scientology’s Dianetics headquarters is next door). Vintage black-and-white photos dress the walls, and Murano glass drums light the mirrored bar, the handiwork of Susan Jaques who designed the hotel’s suites. Bartenders sport black waistcoats and Mad Man-era eyewear. Though not ground-breaking, it’s a good-looking retro mash-up and complements the hotel’s Roaring 20s Renaissance Revival building as eloquently as a dash of Angostura bitters in a Maker’s Mark Old Fashioned.
The drinks are the alcoholic equivalent of comfort food. Following the latest cool-bar game plan, a selection of mixologist cocktails IDed with names like Disco Punch and Red Velvet is paired with such classics as the Negroni, Gimlet and Champagne Cocktail. All are $14, mid-range for a Times Square bar. I sampled the Paramount – Grey Goose pear vodka, St Germain, lime juice and muddled ginger –light, tart and very pretty.
Which brings me to the glassware (no detail is too trite in the bar world). Instead of flutes and martini glasses, champagne saucers rule, a smart esthetic decision. The drinks look great. And what could be better in the Theater District than a wink at Bette Davis and All About Eve?