Keeping up with what’s new and trendy as well as checking in with old favorites is the balancing act that is the job of a hotel concierge—after all, the buzziest restaurant in town may mean a long wait and lousy service, which translates to unhappy customers who would have been happier with a tried-and-true standby that still offers them a taste of the city. We went bicoastal find out what the pros at the Thompson Hotel Group are recommending these days. This is what Kelsey Wilson, a lead concierge at the Thompson Beverly Hills in LA, and Paul Salvatore Petersen, head concierge at 60 Thompson in NYC, had to say:
Favorite bar for cocktails?
LA: My favorite bar for cocktails would have to be SUR Lounge. SUR has a separate lounge/bar area attached to the famous SUR Restaurant, located in the heart of West Hollywood. The feel is trendy, sexy and elite, and the décor is absolutely stunning, as is the clientele.
NYC: I love Death & Company in the Lower East Side. More and more bars are popping up where the cocktails have been elevated to an art form. Death & Company was one of the first places in NYC where these mixologists brought elegance and craftsmanship back to the cocktail. Not to mention how cool it is inside!
What’s the best dish you’ve had this year?
LA: As I can think of several, I would have to say my absolute favorite dish has been the Miso Cured Alaskan Butterfish at Asia de Cuba. The dish features Cuban black beans, edamame salad and tempura shishito peppers. I have had some amazing food but this was on a whole new level of delicious! The plate was colorful, had amazing texture and totally surprised my palate.
NYC: I am going to say it was the Braised Lamb Shank at La Promenade de Anglais. It’s a new restaurant in Chelsea that is a great mixture of European cuisines, popular with the gallery crowd. Their Lamb Shank, braised perfectly and placed in a bed of their amazing Polenta, makes this Italian-American a very happy person!
What’s the toughest door in town right now—and how can I get past it?
LA: The toughest door is Los Angeles is at Sayers Club, right in the middle of all the Hollywood action. Sayers is ultra-new, ultra-exclusive and ultra-glamorous—don’t be surprised when you see celebrities here. Table reservations are always a good idea to guarantee entry and at Sayers, it is well worth it!
NYC: Formerly The Boom Boom Room, and now called Top of The Standard. Even the guests of the Standard are typically turned away. Best way to get in is to go early. I can reserve you a table up until 10PM, but after 10PM it’s doorman’s discretion. It’s not 100% impossible to get in after that, but if you don’t know the owners, you better be dressed well and be nice to the doorman!
Where’s the best boutique to pick up a last-minute gift?
LA: If you need a last minute gift, definitely check out The Lemon Tree Bungalow in West Hollywood. It has a lot of different gift options and is very well balanced whether you are looking for a housewarming gift, a holiday gift, or something bigger like an anniversary gift. The very friendly staff is helpful and also great at recommending the perfect item!
NYC: It’s definitely MXYPLYZYK in the West Village. For years I have been going there for all sorts of gifts. They have fun and unique items for every room in your house or apartment. They also have books, kids toys, and even fish bowls made to hang on your wall. MXYPLYZYK really has a little bit of everything. Best part is it’s all affordable!
What’s your personal favorite room in the hotel, and why?
LA: This is easy, my favorite room in the hotel is the lobby! This isn’t just the obvious answer because I spend so much time here, but because I love the modern furniture and trendy feel. We also just opened a brand-new restaurant that is connected to our lobby, Caulfield’s. It is a beautiful space with large windows that add some great natural light to complete the welcoming feel that any lobby should have.
NYC: Well the Penthouse of course! And if you have to ask why, then you need to come here and check it out. Call me and I’ll give you a tour.