Campbell Apartment @ Grand Central Station
15 Vanderbilt Ave
New York, NY 10017
Hidden away in a corner of Grand Central Station is one of the most fascinating bars in New York. It isn’t trendy, modern, or cutting edge, but it’s an oasis of calm at the heart of a bustling train station, and its unapologetically retro style gives you a glimpse into a piece of New York’s history. That bar is the Campbell Apartment.
Once the office for railroad tycoon John W. Campbell, Campbell Apartment was a private salon for a businessman who loved to drink. During the prohibition era, he was able to entertain clients and friends in his office, conveniently attached to Grand Central Station.
The space was renovated in 1999 to recapture the grandeur and design of the 1920′s space – dark wood, high ceilings, leaded windows, leather chairs and a very prominent bar. The detail and preservation of many of the original structures is an architecture geek’s dream.
Drinks are served true to period as well. Simple, well done cocktails, and prohibition era drinks like Prohibition Punch, there is nothing fancy nor modern about their drinks – just good solid classic mixology. Prices, unfortunately, are modern NYC prices.
While the interior is well appointed, the dress code and formally dressed servers maintain a very formal, yet comfortable environment. Stately, classy, nothing is done in a rush. Noise levels vary, but i’ve always felt very comfortable in the space – except for the time i showed up in short sleeves. I was denied entry.
This is not the place to get ripped on a Wednesday night, nor is it a casual enough place to argue baseball or hockey. What Campbell Apartment is is a throwback – a piece of history frozen in time, when things were different. The drinks are good and the space is worth seeing – and i’ve always firmly believed that it is just as important to understand the past as it is to try and predict the future. History awaits. Go check it out.