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Menu Talk with Pat and Bret

New York City nightlife guru David Rabin reports on the city’s recovery

Guests are drinking more, and better, but earlier


The demise of New York City that was predicted at the beginning of the pandemic didn’t happen. Indeed, dining and nightlife have roared back in much of the city, and even in Midtown Manhattan, with its reliance on office workers, most of whom are still working from home, and Broadway theatergoers, who are just now coming back to shows, is back in business according to David Rabin.

And he should know. Rabin has been a fixture in the city’s nightlife since he opened Rex in 1990, which soon became a trendy hangout for supermodels. He went on to open Lotus, a club that helped transform Manhattan’s Meatpacking District at the turn of the century.

Now he operates two rooftop bars — The Skylark and Jimmy — as well as American Bar, Sona and a remodeled Temple Bar, a beloved cocktail bar in the city’s NoHo neighborhood that closed at the end of 2017.

“It’s just a dark, sexy nightlife-for-grownups kind of room,” he said.

Rabin also operates Veranda, whose kitchen is headed up by chef George Mendes, and The Lambs Club, which is set to reopen in Midtown any day now.

New York continues to buzz, but it does so a bit earlier now, Rabin said, with people going out for dinner at 7 instead of 9, but they’re drinking plenty, and money doesn’t seem to be a barrier.

Even spirit-free cocktails are selling for $16, and some full-proof ones at his rooftop bars now go for more than $20.

“Nobody seems to be blinking at the cost,” he said.

Rabin recently discussed the changing habits of his customers and his plans for the future.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary


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