The beautifully art deco Bemelmans is high up on my short list of the best bars in the world (let alone New York City). The cocktails, prepared with the best ingredients by veteran barmen, are classic: great and generous Martinis and seasonal, historically significant Old Cubans, Gin-Gin Mules, Tom and Jerrys, and... the list goes on. All this and live piano covers of Cole Porter tunes and whimsical, occasionally naughty murals painted during the 1930's by artist and author Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the "Madeline" stories, deliver a quintessentially New York experience.
Carlyle Hotel - 35 East 76th Street
(NB. A discrete bar entrance is around the corner on Madison Avenue.)