Catching Up with New Kids: Galerie Bar

John McDonald has expanded his clubby vibe into the hotel bar at the Smyth hotel, naming it Galerie Bar for the art in rotation and bringing it closer to its original incarnation as a cozy cocktail lounge, this time with a mid-century spin. (The previous bar at the hotel was done up in what I would call sterile luxe and was closed to the public.) It’s a huge space, so good for a crowd, and has lots of nooks and crannies for conversation. It opened in January.

McDonald, whose restaurant group includes Lure Fishbar and Bar Tulix, opened Smyth Tavern in August of 2022 and knew then that he would be expanding into the space to the south. The bar itself is tucked away in the back, and we sat there — where watching the mixing is good theater.

The food menu is mostly bar snacks — shrimp cocktail, fries, pigs in a blanket — though you can get the Smyth burger from next door. I don’t drink cocktails, but my date tweaked a ‘naked and famous’ — mezcal, chartreuse, lime juice — and split the mezcal with spicy tequila “to give it a little sizzle.” The classics are $16; the wines ranged from $16 to $29 by the glass, and while it was not a country club pour, the cab hit the spot.

There were no hooks for bags under the bar — my litmus test — but the vibe in there was comfortable and fun, even at our early hour.

The art — moody photos of Warhol, Brando, Marilyn Monroe — is curated by Westwood Gallery in Nolita and is for sale.

Galerie Bar
85 West Broadway | Chambers & Warren
Tuesday to Thursday, 5p to midnight
Friday & Saturday, 5p to 2a