A ‘Mad Men’ Guide to New York City

Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria New York and Towers of the Waldorf Astoria

While the characters of Mad Men have gone bicoastal in recent years, the show's heart and soul has always been in New York City. In honor of the final season—the series will end on May 17—we’ve taken a tour through Manhattan of some noteworthy sites that have appeared on the show. Replicas of these well-known institutions have been used in the show because Mad Men is filmed in Los Angeles, but a tour of these timeless hotels and eateries will transport you to Don Draper's New York. While many of the show’s locales no longer exist, these ten spots remain nearly unchanged, giving you the chance to step back in time.

By Abbey Chase

Mary Robnett

Time-Life Building

WHERE: 1271 Sixth Ave., 37th floor

With the creation of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce at the beginning of season four, the partners abandon their Madison Avenue offices and move to Sixth. The building, the first of four in Rockefeller Center, was opened in 1959, making the offices brand-new property when the agency would have moved in in 1964. In honor of the final season, Pentagram design company has created and installed a bench with Don Draper’s iconic silhouette, arm hung casually over the back of the chair, outside the building on Sixth through the summer.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of The Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt Hotel

WHERE: 45 E. 45th St.

Conveniently located on Madison Avenue in Midtown near the original Sterling Cooper offices, The Roosevelt Hotel served as the site of many romantic and extramarital encounters in Mad Men. When Betty kicks Don out in season two, he takes up residence temporarily at the hotel, and The Roosevelt is also the site of a furtive date between then-Art Director Sal Romano and a client. Grab a drink at the Madison Club Lounge, with wood-paneling and atmospheric décor that transport you back to the 1960s (though the lounge was only opened in the 1990s).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of Grand Central Oyster Bar

Grand Central Oyster Bar

WHERE: Grand Central Terminal, 89 E. 42nd St.

In one of the more memorable episodes of season one, Don and Roger Sterling enjoy an indulgent, liquor-laden lunch at this restaurant before an important meeting with men who work for the Nixon campaign. When the two return to the agency and find a broken elevator, they make the 23-story climb the office, prompting Roger to throw up in front of the clients. Grand Central Oyster Bar, now in its 102nd year, sits under a Guastavino tile vaulted ceiling in the lower level of Grand Central Station, serving the self-declared freshest seafood in Manhattan atop its iconic red-and-white-checkered tablecloths.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria New York and Towers of the Waldorf Astoria

Waldorf Astoria New York

WHERE: 301 Park Ave.

As the site of the Clio Awards, the Waldorf Astoria makes multiple appearances on the show, most notably when Don has a meeting with Conrad Hilton in the presidential suite in season three’s “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” (the episode most known for the John Deere lawnmower incident). The historic hotel has occupied two locations in New York, moving into its Park Avenue building in 1931, which held the title of tallest hotel in the world until 1963. Schultze & Weaver designed the Art Deco façade, and the interior is equally opulent, boasting high ceilings, radiant crystal chandeliers, marbled and carpeted floors, and the famed Waldorf Astoria clock in the lobby. Enjoy the famous Waldorf Salad at Oscar’s American Brasserie or grab a seat at one of the hotel’s three bars to soak in the atmosphere.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of P.J. Clarke’s

P.J. Clarke’s

WHERE: 915 Third Ave.

A legend in its own right, P.J. Clarke’s began as a favorite bar of Irish workers in 1884 and has grown to be one of the most famous watering holes in Manhattan. The red-brick building on 55th Street and Third Avenue has changed little in its 131-year history, so you’ll experience the bar much as Peggy Olson would have in 1960 when she invited a group from the office here to celebrate her successful pitch to Belle Jolie. The group, minus a sullen Pete Campbell, dances the twist around the bar, and after ordering the signature Sidecar, you’ll be doing the same.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Ivan Lesica

Sardi’s

WHERE: 234 W. 44th St.

The Theater District institution has served the pre- and post-theater crowd since 1927 and was once a favorite hangout of journalists and performers, as the owner kept particularly late hours to accommodate actors’ schedules. While the restaurant is now more frequented by tourists, Sardi’s has managed to preserve its authenticity. Hundreds of celebrity caricatures drawn by Alex Gard (in exchange for meals) line the walls, and the uncomplicated Italian-American menu is a pleasant throwback. Don meets Bobbie Barrett here in season two to celebrate the success of Jimmy Barrett’s show, only to then run into his former flame, Rachel Menken, and subsequently get into a drunken car accident with Bobbie on the way to Long Island.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Sylvia Paret

Minetta Tavern

WHERE: 113 MacDougal St.

Clad in a bright pink dress, Peggy arrives at Minetta Tavern in season five expecting a proposal from her boyfriend Abe, only to disappointedly accept his proposal to move in together. The famous restaurant has been a landmark in Greenwich Village for the better part of a century, hosting patrons including Ernest Hemmingway and E.E. Cummings. Reservations are a must, as its charms are no longer a well-kept New York secret. Be sure to try the outstanding Black Label burger.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of The Pierre

The Pierre

WHERE: 2 E. 61st St.

The famous Central Park-adjacent hotel makes multiple appearances on Mad Men, first in season one’s “Babylon,” when Don tries to win back Rachel Menken over lunch at the Tea Room (now Two E Bar/Lounge). In season three, the hotel serves as the site of Peggy’s affair with Duck Phillips, but The Pierre is most notably featured in the season three finale when Don, Roger, Bert Cooper, and Lane Pryce form their own fledgling agency in room 435 in response to McCann Erickson’s purchase of Sterling Cooper. Now in its 85th year, The Pierre has undergone a $100 million renovation that has significantly modernized the property, so while the landmark hotel looks somewhat different than it did in Don’s day, its history and iconic status remain.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Courtesy of Barbetta

Barbetta

WHERE: 321 W. 46th St.

As one of the standouts of Manhattan’s Restaurant Row, Barbetta is the oldest Italian restaurant in New York and has been owned by the same family since it opened in 1906. Barbetta appears in episode eight of season four, when Don and his date Bethany run into Betty and Henry here. The sumptuous dining room is decked out in 18th-century Piemontese antiques, featuring a chandelier once owned by Italy’s royal family, but diners should also consider a table in the restaurant’s famous garden. Try the minestrone, tagliarini, agnolotti, or risotto for the most authentic experience, as all four items have been on the menu since 1906.

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

Jennifer Arnow

Keens Steakhouse

WHERE: 72 W. 36th St.

Eagle-eyed viewers and steak aficionados will note the Keens depicted in Mad Men does not quite resemble the original (the scene was filmed in LA), but the New York institution is well-worth a visit for a dose of history and a generous serving of first-rate meat. In season three, Don and Pete have lunch at the steakhouse with “HoHo” to discuss a proposed account to promote jai alai in the U.S. Luckily, Keens’ signature mutton chops land much better than HoHo’s pitch, and you can enjoy the legendary cut along with a selection of heaping side dishes in the highly atmospheric dining room, its ceiling laden with churchwarden pipes from Keens’ now-defunct Pipe Club. Though you’ll see jersey-clad diners from nearby Madison Square Garden, take a cue from Don and dress the part when dining here (jackets are advised, but not required for men).

PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Travel Guide

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