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Campbell Apartment

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Campbell Apartment Review

Commuting professionals pack into this Grand Central Terminal bar on their way to catch trains home during the evening rush, but don't let the crush of humanity scare you away—you can have a deeply romantic time here in one of Manhattan's more beautiful rooms. The restored space dates to the 1920s, when it was the private office of an executive named John W. Campbell, and as the exquisite decor suggests, old JWC knew how to live. Sample the good life as you knock back a well-built cocktail from an overstuffed chair. Just try to avoid that weekday evening rush.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 15 Vanderbilt Ave. entrance, Grand Central Station Midtown East, New York, NY 10017 | Map It
  • Phone: 212/953–0409
  • Website:
  • Subway: 4, 5, 6, 7, S to 42nd St./Grand Central.
  • Location: Midtown East
Updated: 03-06-2014

Fodorite Reviews

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    Campbell Apartment Review

    Cocktails from Another Era
    My spouse and I visited this somewhat hidden bar in Grand Central Terminal in July of 2012. The bar is located in the former office of Vanderbilt financier John Campbell. The property is owned by Hospitality Holdings, who also own the bars called the Empire Room, the World Bar, the Carnegie Club, and Bookmarks, as well as Madison & Vine (Madison & Vine is a full-service restaurant that participates in the Open Table reservation system). The brass plaque outside the steps leading into the Campbell Apartment states that the hours are from 3:00 pm on; however, the website and the menus state that the bar opens at 12:00 noon. Although the brass plaque is attractive and probably costly to replace, I would think it would be a worthwhile investment because the current sign doesn’t list the correct hours. Another discrepancy - the website mentions that the Campbell Terrace (outdoor seating in a sort of porte-cochere facing Vanderbilt Avenue) is only open on weekdays from 2:00 pm on, but it was open on the Sunday afternoon that we visited. We had heard about this bar/lounge for years, but after seeing it featured by Anthony Bourdain in one of the TV shows, it moved up on our “to visit” list. As other reviewers have mentioned, the drinks are approximately $15 to $18 each, which is an expensive but not uncommon price for a cocktail in New York City. I had a Flapper’s Delight (champagne, papaya, and amaretto), which was garnished with an orange curl and served in a champagne glass. It tasted fine, but ordinary; I had expected the papaya to make it taste more exotic. My spouse ordered a Kentucky Ginger, which was more tasty and unusual, served in a rocks glass and garnished with a sprig of rosemary. As for the surroundings, we visited on a hot, summer mid-afternoon, and we felt that it was very dark inside. Lighting is limited to a few lamps on the bar and some wall sconces positioned evenly around the room. There are no ceiling lights except for a very few tiny lights in the upper balcony area, which covers less than 1/3 of the main room. It didn’t appear that the lighting could be increased as the daylight decreased, leading us to believe that it would be extremely dark in the evening. The ceilings are enormously high (and beautifully and intricately decorated), so what little light is available is quickly diffused. It was quite warm inside the bar room; a huge industrial fan blew warm air from near the large fireplace (filled with an antique safe) to compensate, but it merely moved the air around rather than cool it. We first tried to sit at the end of the bar, feeling that it was more atmospheric than the lounge seating, but the bar stools were incredibly uncomfortable. They looked fine and were made of leather, but they tipped uncomfortably forward. We instead sat on one of the sofa/chair/cocktail table groupings, although that furniture wasn’t overly comfortable. In keeping with the Prohibition/speakeasy theme of the venue, the waitress was dressed demurely in a longish black skirt, cardigan sweater, and pearls, and she spoke with a Southern accent, calling us y’all several times (we weren’t sure if the accent was real or affected). A small menu of appetizer-type food is available. Although we wouldn’t rush back here, it was fun to visit once, and now we can cross it off our “to do” list.

    by fluffnfold, 8/15/12

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