21 Club/ Getty Images
Celeb Hotspot: Where George Clooney Gets Steak
If you are looking to spot today’s hottest celebs, to dine where cinema’s most iconic stars once ate, or to go where Grace Kelly ordered from in Rear Window, then New York City’s famed 21 Club is your spot. 21, as Grace so elegantly called it, has been opened in its current location since 1929 – and when you walk inside, you feel that rich history with every step. 21 was a speakeasy during the Prohibition era but despite numerous police raids, owners Jack Kreindler and Charlie Berns were never caught. And lucky for us – the two cousins/owners stayed in business and created one of Manhattan’s most beloved eateries.
21 has a celebrity clientele to boast about like no other. Countless screen legends have suppered and socialized in the club. Every President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt (except for George W. Bush) has dined at 21. Some celebrities have frequented the establishment so many times they have favorite tables. I myself was seated at the Humphrey Bogart table, where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall had their first date and where subsequently Bogey proposed to Bacall. With a place so rich in history, you cant help but feel as though you are being hugged from icons of the past as you sip your expertly crafted cocktail and take a bite of your perfectly made meal.
21 has been featured in many films: Chris Noth and Sarah Jessica Parker dined in the Bar Room in Sex and the City. In Manhattan Murder Mystery, Diane Keaton makes a startling discovery. In All About Eve, Celeste Holm has lunch with Bette Davis there. In One Fine Day, Michelle Pfeiffer has drinks with clients in the lounge. There are dozens of other scenes and references to the swanky establishment in films through the decades. And you can feel all the star-wattage within its pristine walls.
Celeb Spotting: Ricky Gervais; Katy Perry and Russell Brand (Squash Soup, Beet Salad, Vegetable Tasting); Natalie Portman; Drew Barrymore (Sauteed Dover Sole); John Mayer (Whiskey Sours); A private party for The Descendents consisting of George Clooney, Olivia Wilde, Alan Cumming, Julianna Margolies, Ellen Barkin, Oliver Stone, Jeremy Renner, Sam Rockwell, Beau Bridges, Judy Greer, Frances McDormand were served the Traditional Caesar Salad with Herbed Croutons and Aged Parmesan, Fire-Roasted Filet Mignon with Roasted Cipollini Onions, Bloomsdale Spinach and Burgundy Reduction with Heirloom Potato and Parmesan Cheese Gratin.
-Chilled Senegalese Soup, diced chicken, green apples, curry, cream
-Cornmeal Crusted Crab Cake, jumbo lump crab, micro greens, pickled daikon, lemon butter
-Vegetable Tasting, grilled portobellos, spinach and goat cheese tower, faro and roasted beet stuffed piquillo pepper, roasted autumn squash with caponata, roma tomato sauce
-Creamy Chicken Hash, mornay sauce, Bloomsdale spinach, Gruyère crust, toast or wild rice
-21' Burger, toasted Parker house bun, frisée, preserved tomatoes, sautéed onions, haricots verts, French fries
- Pommes Souffles
-Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé, port poached red plums, vanilla ice cream
From a Manhattan at Bar 21 to a burger in the Bar Room a tasting dinner in the wine cellar or a swanky soiree upstairs, the 21 Club has something for that person seeking a night to remember. Despite its age, the food at 21 still stands tall. With flawless offerings like the Creamy Chicken Hash and the Grilled Filet Mignon, it’s classic food that will make you feel like your grandmother is sitting next to you (and having the time of her life). During my two-month stint in Manhattan, my night hobnobbing with the memories of Tinsel Town's brightest stars, past presidents and the pioneers of Prohibition was my favorite. Do yourself (and that special somebody) a favor and check out the 21 club.