First Impressions: The Harrison Room at Pier A

Pier A Harrison Room roomYou know how Evening Bar is a loving wink at the hotel bar of yore? The Harrison Room, now open on the second floor of Pier A Harbor House, is the hotel bar without the wink. If anyone you’d remotely call a hipster was involved, there’s no sign of it. The green industrial carpet, polished wood, green and maroon leather(-ish?) upholstery, etched glass panels, little red-shaded lamps on the bar…. No, it’s a hotel bar. It’s a university club, or—yes!—the bar at a place like the New York Athletic Club, where there’s no room for contemporary taste, or even change at all.

This is not necessarily a bad thing! While I wish the materials were a bit nicer—I feel the same way about the first floor of Pier A—I can’t imagine the overall amount of money that has had to go into the place, and corners have to get cut somewhere. And who knows? It’ll probably only look better as it wears in.

The Harrison Room is at the eastern end of Pier A, up an unfortunate LED-bedazzled staircase. There’s seating for around 80, at the bar (with a spectacular backdrop of FiDi buildings) and tables around the perimeter of the room. You won’t be surprised to learn that the music included Mel Tormé singing “Comin’ Home Baby” and Fred Astaire’s “Night and Day.” For me, that’s heaven.

I sat at the bar, where the two friendly bartenders—in vests and ties, naturally—took great care of me. The Boulevardier was done right, with excellent ice cubes and an orange peel. I do wish they’d offer water without one having to ask, and bar snacks only came out as I was about to leave. That might be just as well, because I hoovered up half the bowl of truffled tapioca chips as I paid the check. There’s a small menu of nibblybits (below) that sound more intricate than you might expect—but that also give hope that the second-floor restaurant, when it opens in mid-April, will be a big step up from the pub food downstairs.

The Harrison Room is inside Pier A, 22 Battery Place, 212-785-0153; piera.com.

Pier A Harrison Room viewPier A Harrison Room room2Pier A Harrison Room stoolsPier APier A Harrison Room food menuPier A Harrison Room cocktail menuPier A Harrison Room beer and wine menuPier a staircaseRecent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
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