Food & Drink

The NYC Mad Men Guide: How to Drink Exactly Where They Did

Published On 04/12/2014 Published On 04/12/2014
Mad Men
Mad Men

Mad Men is back, which means you can finally start playing your Sunday night "Peggy Leans In" drinking game again! And thanks to our guide, it also means you can play it at literally every NYC bar and restaurant they drink or eat (or drink!) at in the show, that's still open today. Also, if you're not caught up, this is filled with spoilers.

Mad Men

Slipper Room (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”: Pilot
The Scene: The Ad bros take Pete out for his bachelor party. As irony would have it, Alison Brie was not yet cast as Trudy Campbell, so Pete was celebrating his freedom from a picture frame stand-in.
Today: The LES’s Slipper Room, a bar and experimental performance space, opened in 1999, closed in 2010, and then reopened in 2012. There's no mention of the current incarnation existing in Mad Men days, BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t see what’s on stage seven days a week. Keep in mind these shows are more performance art than, well, whatever it is you do at a bachelor party.

Facebook/ Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central Oyster Bar (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Red In the Face”: Season 1, Episode 7
The Scene: The infamous Roger Sterling diet! Don and Roger have oysters and martinis for lunch. For dessert, cheesecake and martinis. Later, Roger publicly revisits his meal.
Today: We are testing the limits of the Mad Men/NYC parallel universe, because there is no explicit mention of the commuter standby. However, we do see the picnic table cloths, a signature of the Oyster Bar, and Google Maps tells us that it's only an 8min hobble from the original Sterling Cooper 405 Madison Ave address to the Grand Central Oyster bar. That’s like half a pack of Dunhill's.

Roosevelt Hotel

Roosevelt Hotel (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Hobo Code”: Season 1, Episode 8
The Scene: Sal orders a Campari with a twist when he meets Elliot from Belle Jolie Lipstick. This leads to dinner, which then leads to an offer to see Elliot’s view.
Today: You can find the Madison Club Lounge a short staircase away from the 45th St entrance of the Roosevelt Hotel. While the lounge opened less than 20 years ago, it has the look of the meeting spot of Sal and Elliot. The hotel honors its Mad Men roots with premiere parties, which feature several types of bourbon Old Fashioneds. Anthony, who has bartended 17 years at the lounge, calls Old Fashioneds, “The Grandma and Grandpa drink that young people like.” Their standard is served with Buffalo Trace.

P.J. Clarke's

P.J. Clarke’s (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Hobo Code”: Season 1, Episode 8
The Scene: Pete doesn’t like the successful, self-assured Peggy. And he will not dance the twist with you, or anyone.
Today: "No Internet jukebox on our watch!" says P.J. Clarke's. Sure, it has “compact discs”, but who even knows what those are! The Sidecar is first on the cocktail list, so if you're feeling nostalgic for a time when you weren’t alive, go for it. It isn’t 1885 in all respects, though: they take credit, and an Old Fashioned will set you back $15.

Facebook/ Sardi's

Sardi's (click here for address and info)
Episode: “The New Girl”: Season 2, Episode 5
The Scene: Don is in extra-marital lady overload. He is propositioned by a married lady while having the chance to meet with a lady he once propositioned, who is now married. Don has some luck running into his exes while out with new ladies. It's almost like it was scripted!
Today: Sardi’s pre- and post-theater menus both include the steak tartare, which is prepared at your table. Nothing says baller like rolling the dice on a tapeworm.


Keens Steakhouse (click here for address and info)
Episode: “The Arrangements”: Season 3, Episode 4
The Scene: Don doesn’t want to take the money from Pete’s buddy “HoHo”, who thinks jai alai will be the "new national pastime".
Today: Keens wants the experience to be classic. They even have a classic moose head on the wall. Once you're finished staring at the taxidermy, order the mutton chops, which are made with a recipe that's virtually been unchanged since 1885.

Dublin House

Dublin House (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency”: Season 3, Episode 6
The Scene: Greg, AKA Joan’s future ex-husband (SPOILER!) doesn’t land the Chief Resident of Surgery. He spends the afternoon sulking in a place where many have sulked before.
Today: Dublin House is the sort of place where the bartender starts pouring your drink before you find your seat. If you're looking for a Mad Men experience, when Tony is slinging drinks, he'll suggest a shot and a beer (he has only seen a few episodes). Don’t forget to bring cash. They aren’t installing a credit machine for you.

La Grenouille

La Grenouille (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency”: Season 3, Episode 6
The Scene: Joan made the gents from Puttnam, Powell, and Lowe reservations at La Grenouille, followed by tickets to Oliver. This episode is really known for a lawnmower and a foot. Poor guy.
Today: Flowers are as much of a draw as the French food. If you wish to dine like the men of SCDP, you best dress like one. Jackets are required.

Flickr/ Alan Turkus

White Horse Tavern (click here for address and info)
Episode: “Christmas Comes But Once A Year”: Season 4, Episode 2
The Scene: A friendly neighbor at Don’s bachelor pad jokingly wondered if he worked at Dylan Thomas’s ole watering hole.
Today: White Horse is so old-world, they don’t accept credit nor do they have a website. That Internet stuff is left for the fans. Plenty of space if you want to sit outside or in, just don’t ask to use their Wi-Fi.

Flickr/ Lisa Risager

Benihana (click here for address and info)
Episode: “The Chrysanthemum and The Sword”: Season 4, Episode 5
The Scene: Don turned his research on Honda into a date with that blonde, vampire racist from True Blood.
Today: In 2014, you can partake in a Benihana evening in cities like Coral Gables, Florida, but if you want to rock it at the original, it’s on the West side of Manhattan. Just be sure to keep your cool during the lemon juggling. These are trained professionals.

Facebook/ Barbetta

Barbetta (click here for address and info)
Episode: “The Summer Man”: Season 4, Episode 8
The Scene: Bethany, Don, Betty, and Henry all dine together like one giant, happy, blended family! So modern! If only. Betty needs some time alone to process Don with a younger version of her.
Today: The décor at Barbetta is landmarked so it looks as it did in 1964-65. It remains a date destination, and for some, THE datestination. Owner Laura Maioglio, who took over in the 1960s from her father who founded the restaurant, said that they see many proposals a year. “We once had someone ask if the ring could be baked into a cake,” Maioglio said. “We had to decline.” The agnolotti and minestrone giardiniera have been on the menu since 1906, if you want to taste the history. Also, The Departed was filmed here.

Matthew Moll

Minetta Tavern (click here for address and info)
Episode: “At The Codfish Ball”: Season 5, Episode 7
The Scene: Abe, Peggy’s then boyfriend, proposes... that they move in together. He hints at ordering the steak. Does Abe have an income?
Today: Minetta has evolved from a local hangout to a “better call three weeks in advance” type of joint. Expect a seven-deep wait to eat at the bar, even on a Sunday. Also, they have an amazing burger.

Le Cirque

Le Cirque (click here for address and info)
Episode: "To Have And To Hold": Season 6, Episode 4
The Scene: Joan made reservations six years before Le Cirque opened!
Today: Other than being one of the fun, historical inaccuracies of the show, Le Cirque is also a New York City landmark that opened in 1974. Reservations can be made through the end of the year.

Facebook/ Carnegie Deli

Carnegie Deli (click here for address and info)
Episode: “The Crash": Season 6, Episode 8
The Scene: Most of the office met Cutler’s “doctor” by the time Don asked Peggy about soup. John Mathis (don’t pretend you know who that is) unwittingly referred to the soup at Carnegie Deli.
Today: Back in 1976 (the oldest menu the deli could find), matzah ball soup ran you $1. Sarri Harper, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Carnegie Deli, said matzah ball is still the most popular, but now costs $9.99 (add a dollar if you're hankering for noodles). If matzah isn’t your thing, they have daily soup specials.

Facebook/ Ferrara Bakery

Ferrara Bakery & Cafe (click here for address and info)
Episode: "The Quality of Mercy": Season 6, Episode 12
The Scene: Joan orders cookies from Ferrara’s for the meeting with St. Joseph’s Hospital. Ted and Peggy’s over-budget affair, err, ad is in question.
Today: It can’t always be sidecars and porterhouses. Man’s gotta feed that sweet tooth. Next time you go to a Mad Men theme party, spring for the baked goods featured in the show. Whiskey is always better when the stomach has a solid base! Party goers will view you as an AMC aficionado, but really, cookies.

Matthew Moll is a contributor to Thrillist and does not want to be told if this New York is actually a studio in the California desert in 2044. Follow him on Instagram.

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1. The Slipper Room 167 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

The Slipper Room is one of the city's more popular theater and nightlife lounges that features some of the most interesting shows in New York City. Here you'll find burlesque and variety shows that have been around since 1999, as well as some newer acts. If you are looking for a laugh (or a raunchy night out), we highly suggest stopping by.

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2. Grand Central Oyster Bar 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017 (Midtown East)

Grand Central's landmark Oyster Bar has been around since 1913 and, despite losing business due to the decline of long-haul train travel, its reinvention around the mid-'70s revived it into what's now an award-winning American restaurant serving super-fresh, top-quality seafood. It also has an extensive wine list.

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3. Roosevelt Hotel 45 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017 (Midtown East)

Offering 1,015 elegant and comfortable rooms, the Roosevelt is one of the best hotel stays in the Big Apple. With 30,000sqft of event space (including a pair of ballrooms), and a number of bars and restaurants, the Roosevelt offers luxury, comfort, and convenience.

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4. P.J. Clarke's 915 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10022 (Midtown)

A New York institution, P.J. Clarke's has delivered on the fancy cheeseburger promise since 1884. And while Midtown in the new millennia no longer projects late-20th century old money glam, the venue continues to maintain a setting of demure class. Come for the bacon cheeseburgers, stay for the exemplary cocktails.

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5. Sardi's 234 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036 (Midtown West)

For over 90yrs, Sardi's has been serving the pre- and post- theater crowd in Times Square. This historic institution serves up classic, American fare, ranging from deli-esque eats like their chicken club, to more substantial mains such as jumbo lumb crab cakes or a sirloin steak.

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6. Keens Steakhouse 72 W 36th St, New York, NY 10018 (Midtown West)

Keens was the gentlemen-only meeting place for all sorts of playwrights, publishers, producers, and newsmen of the Herald Square Theatre District back in the day... which was 1885, by the way. Today, the legendary steakhouse maintains its reputation and continues to deliver quality eats in an old-timey atmosphere, and women are now allowed in (!!). Wondering what to order? Try the mutton chops, word is you won't regret it.

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7. Dublin House 225 W 79th St, New York, NY 10024 (Upper West Side)

Looking for a properly poured Guinness on the UWS, then stop in at the Dublin House for a fresh pint.

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8. La Grenouille 3 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022 (Midtown East)

This upscale, East-side Frenchstaurant is known almost as much for its lavish, flower-strewn decor as it is for its cuisine. Their signature dish is a Grand Marnier souffle that's worth the wait.

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9. White Horse Tavern 567 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Dating back to 1880 as a hangout for longshoremen, this West Village saloon later became a popular gathering spot for literary lushes like Michael Harrington, James Baldwin, Dan Wakefield, John Ashbery, and Hunter S. Thompson; a popular myth even says that Dylan Thomas’ ghost haunts his favorite table in the room where his picture now hangs. Take your chances with a ghost run-in and enjoy the roomy West Village digs (a rarity for the neighborhood's bars) with a beer or cocktail, but remember to grab cash beforehand, since debit and credit aren't accepted.

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10. Benihana 47 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

Benihana in Midtown makes for a great hibachi experience (flying shrimp! onion volcanos!), or just a nice place to grab some sushi for lunch. To make a night out of it, arrive early and grab some cocktails (coconut mojito, sake sangria) and appetizers (spicy salmon tartare, shrimp tempura) before you head upstairs for the show.

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11. Barbetta 321 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

The interior of Barbetta looks opulently old school -- it's staged to look like it did in the mid '60s, and they even still serve some of the same menu items that they did in 1906 (with ingredients NOT from 1906, thankfully). Come for upscale, authentic Italian (their gnocchi is legendary) and leave happy.

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12. Minetta Tavern 113 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Greenwich Village)

In the heart of Greenwich Village, Minetta Tavern boasts a classic oak bar, vintage photos on the walls, and supremely delicious burgers (amongst other menu items). Its Black Label Burger has quite the reputation -- it's an 8oz blend of Pat LaFrieda prime dry-aged beef, cooked until there's a nice, light crust on top, then dressed with caramelized onions on a custom brioche bun.

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13. Le Cirque 151 E 58th St, New York, NY 10022 (Midtown)

Though its mention on Mad Men wasn't entirely accurate -- the season was set in 1968 and the restaurant didn't open until 1974 -- this classically French restaurant is still a Manhattan institution. Having bounced from the Mayfair Hotel to the New York Palace Hotel and finally landing at the Bloomberg Building you can expect the crème de la crème with a slight Belgian flair from Executive Chef Raphael Francois, who has worked for many a Michelin-starred restaurant. And of course, there's no chance you'll miss one of the tallest wine towers in the city.

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14. Carnegie Deli 854 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

Carnegie Deli is a city food landmark in Midtown West that can get a little clogged with tourists (and New Yorkers, if we're being honest), but is still well worth your time. Pick up the half-pastrami, half-corned beef Woody Allen, which was named in the director's honor after he featured the deli as the backdrop in Broadway Danny Rose. Pair your sandwich (on rye, always on rye) with pickles and matzoh ball soup and you're golden... and incredibly full.

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15. Ferrara Bakery & Cafe 195 Grand St, New York, NY 10013 (Little Italy)

Located in Little Italy, Ferrara Bakery and Cafe has been family-owned for five generations, which has perfected their delicious Italian/French desserts such as cannoli, sfogliatelle, gelati, and more.



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