Lorded over as it is by arguably America’s ultimate godhead (and rule-breaking) chef, scoring a rezzy and actually dining at Grant Achatz’s Alinea in Chicago has surely been the most exalted “I’ve eaten there” foodie accessory since it opened in 2005. But its corresponding cocktail bar Aviary, which debuted in 2011, offers perhaps even greater fodder for dinner party bragging rights – with its bizarre tipples resembling high-concept science and art projects.
We had the kooky pleasure of experiencing both at a 2016 pop-up in Madrid. But the Aviary will actually finally get a permanent second home, when it debuts this August at the plush Mandarin Oriental New York. It will be perched dazzlingly above Central Park, on the hotel’s 35th floor, with an appropriately theatrical design by Adam D. Tihany of Tihany Design – whose inimitable style also graces the Per Se restaurant in the Time Warner Center (where the hotel is located).
The 90-seat lounge will offer – as in Chicago – an interactive experience, with a glass-enclosed, fully-viewable Drink Kitchen. After all, watching the cocktail alchemist’s as work is worth at least a quarter of the actual price of the your drink. Another carry over from the original is The Office, an even more exclusive bar in an already exclusive bar – but with a retro vibe and with a drinks program geared towards those with more classical (read: less outlandishly outrageous) tastes.
Either way, bring your imagination.