Restaurant is not really the best description for P. J. Clarke's, but it is more than a night spot, and a case could be made for putting it under the "Must see" category. Crowded is a word that cannot be left out in describing this New York institution and the "best seat in the house" is often the first empty one you can find. Everyone from all strata of society seems to want a beer, a bacon cheeseburger, a bowl of soup, or a sampling from the raw bar. It was said that when Frank Sinatra cruised the bars in New York, he usually started at Sardi's but he ALWAYS ended up at P. J. Clarke's. The late, and truly great, Buddy Holly proposed to his future wife there, on their first date. Celebrities, business executives, athletes, and just plain, ordinary people like me are to be found in abundance at this mainsaty of Manhattan eating and drinking for the past 130 years. They had a rough go of it at the turn of this most recent century but after a serious infusion of capital (~$2,000,000), they seem to be going full speed again and more popular than ever.
Favorite Dish: After only one visit, I think that I would have to agree with Nat King Cole that their bacon cheeseburger is the "Cadillac of burgers." Try it, you'll like it.
I definitely recommend this place for its clientele and atmosphere. It's very old, world, yet caters to the unknown and the random celebrity. You can always find droves for young professionals hanging outside for a smoke (remember, NY made smoking indoors illegal). It's also right down the block from my brother, which makes it convenient for me! :-)
PJ Clarke's is a great location for after-work drinks, located near Madison and Lexington in midtown, several professionals come here to unwind, i.e. me! :-) Check this place out for wood furniture, an authentic bar (none of that plastic craziness), friendly service and a great looking crowd!
Favorite Dish: The raw seafood sampler is simply amazing. Other than that, I usually get typical pub food, like fish and chips or burgers.
I will be visiting soon.
Here is a short note from their website:
"Owner" of Table 20 - Frank Sinatra
Would cruise New York City bars and always end up at P.J. Clarkes
Johnny Mercer wrote "One for My Baby" on a napkin, sitting at the bar at P.J. Clarke's
Bacon Cheeseburger, Nat King Cole proclaimed it, "The CADILLAC of burgers!"
After 119 years, we’ve replaced the missing floorboards and finally straightened some of the pictures. The pay phone is still “Out of Order” and the broken cigarette machine remains broken. The ice block in the men’s room and the paper plates are gone but the ashes of one of our patrons will reside behind the bar forever. Our little terrier faithfully watches “the joint” while PJ’s famous jukebox plays Frank, Buddy and Sting. The wives’ beer window stands open and anyone can say “So, set ‘em, Joe” where Johnny Mercer penned “One for My Baby”. We welcome you for another 119 years (at least) of good food, good drink and great conversation.