You would never suspect that the chesterfields, leather doors, worked-metal ceiling or marble hearths were new additions to the inconspicuous new bar at Fifth Avenue and East 37th Street. But they are.
This nostalgic spot is dubbed Fine and Rare, and it’s the latest concept from Tommy Tardie, the former adman behind Flatiron Room, a popular whisky and jazz bar at 37 West 26th Street.
Tardie transformed the gutted retail box at 9 East 37th Street into an intimate hideaway, filled with private booths and secluded tables beneath taxidermy, haunting art pieces and a whisky collection eccentric enough to impress the connoisseur.
“I think of the Flatiron Room as the beta test for Fine and Rare,” Tardie told LLNYC during a tour of the recently opened bar.
With live jazz singers crooning on a art deco stage straight out of “Looney Tunes” and bartenders shuffling wooden crates of spirits, Fine and Rare already feels like an institution in it’s heyday.
From the cloak woman at the entrance, to the old teller booths from Grand Central Station, Fine and Rare is a mix of haute vintage and macabre whimsy. It’s good theater in the vain of the Heath at the McKittrick Hotel or Freemans Restaurant on the Lower Estate Side.
Other improvements on the Flatiron Room concept are the full dinner menu and a creative cocktail that employs whisky and smokey agave spirits in equal measure.
Tardie say that he wanted to create a bar where he would want to relax, although he worried others wouldn’t get it. But despite its singular vision, Fine and Rare is comfortably within a trend of high-end, clubby cocktail bars with a penchant for the dark side of early-20th-century glamor. And even among those, Fine and Rare might be the most beautiful.