Seeing Double at Happy Hour on nytimes.com

By STEVE REDDICLIFFE

There are a few seats at the Center Bar that early in the evening, before it gets too dark, offer one of the best views of New York City. Those are at the southern end of the marble bar, several feet away from the baby grand piano. The bar is not on a high floor, and these particular stools do not showcase nearby Central Park or any other New York landmarks, for that matter.

What they do is give you indelible views of two skylines, the first made up of bottles of Absolut, Plymouth, Ketel One and Hendrick’s, of Balvenie, Highland Park and Hibiki, all artfully displayed on shelves behind the bar; behind those, clearly visible and perfectly framed, are the actual buildings of New York, those on Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue, their tans and deep browns a mirror image of many of the bottles in front of them.

It’s a neat effect, one of many at this excellent new Time Warner Center bar from Michael Lomonaco, the executive chef at the Porter House restaurant down the hall.

In addition to spots at the bar, there are a half-dozen tables and a long, plush banquette in the dining area, all nestled into a fourth-floor perch that offers a memorable perspective on a vibrant scene.

Different seats offer different vistas, of course — of the Maine Monument in Central Park, the Central Park South straightaway, the endless caravan of yellow cabs in Columbus Circle, the posture-perfect Columbus himself (at what seems like eye-level, no less).

Fittingly enough, the first-rate drinks look great too, among them the amber Martinez (with Bombay Sapphire gin and sweet vermouth, $16); the sunset-tinged Bramble (Hendrick’s gin, fresh lemon, simple syrup and house-made raspberry compote, $14); the Amethyst Daisy (with Zacapa rum, lime, soda and macerated apricots in a sleek highball glass, $15); and the Sparrow (with Bombay Dry gin, Montenegro amaro, Dry Sack Medium sherry and Cherry Heering, $16).
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