As Mad Men heads towards the finale of its sixth season, we are set to mourn the loss of the weekly installments of Don, Roger, and Joan. But instead of losing them all together (until next season, of course), why not take a Mad Men inspired tour of New York City? The show regularly features real-life spots throughout the city that are still home to a healthy sense of nostalgia. You don’t have to spring for a three-martini lunch (though we won’t judge if you do), but these restaurants and bars will tide us all over until season seven. Now if only Don was sitting on the barstool next to yours…
Oyster Bar & Restaurant
This classic Manhattan seafood restaurant in Grand Central Terminal, where Don Draper and Roger Sterling ran up the expense account drinking copious cocktails while enjoying freshly shucked oysters, hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1913 and that’s good news for fans who’ve come to love its iconic vaulted tiled off-white ceilings, red-and-white checkered tablecloths, and S-shaped counters where you can enjoy a bowl of New England clam chowder and platter of clams and oysters along with more sophisticated fare like sea scallops with a mango-lime aioli and broiled whole red trout amandine.
The Campbell Apartment
Recommended Fodor’s Video
If Joan had a favorite watering hole, it would be this intimate, red-hued cocktail lounge in an out-of-the-way part of sprawling Grand Central. Once the office of 1920s tycoon John W. Campbell, the space with a stunning 25-foot high leaded glass window, huge limestone fireplace, and an intricately painted beamed ceiling has been painstaking restored by expert craftsmen to provide a glamorous backdrop for a mid-day or after-work drink.
A row of painted cast-iron jockeys greets customers at this former speakeasy and beloved Manhattan institution—and while Don and Roger never actually visited it on the show, you can easily see them, along a who’s who in the industry, dining and imbibing in the clubby wood-paneled Bar Room, whose ceiling is covered with toy planes and other memorabilia. Food-wise, expect American classics like Caesar salad, burgers and steaks, and chops. And for a truly special occasion, book the table in the historic wine cellar where former mayor Jimmy Walker often had a few drinks during Prohibition and which is entered by a brick wall "door."
The Empire Room
When it comes to prime locations, you can’t get much better than this gorgeous, Art Deco lounge on the ground floor of the Empire State Building (its entrance is on 33rd Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues). The décor looks straight out of the Great Gatsby with a curved marble bar, Deco light fixtures and indulgent seating of mohair chairs and embossed leather couches. While you can order single-malt scotches and other Mad Men-approved drinks, it’s known for its hand-crafted cocktail menu featuring favorites like the rum-based Prohibition Punch and the Waldorf, a spin on the classic Manhattan.
In a city with dozens of steakhouses, Keens, dating from 1885 and located in a nondescript area near Herald Square, still manages to carve out its own niche. Seemingly tailor-made for the Mad Men crew—Don and Pete lunched here to hash out a campaign strategy—it’s a quintessential New York City chophouse that attracts both old and young, midtown workers and out-of-towners, all who appreciate the no-nonsense bartenders and waiters serving stiff martinis and phonebook sized prime steaks amid clubby mahogany paneling and Victorian-style wall sconces.
The show has featured a few iconic New York City hotels—the Roosevelt Hotel was where Don holed up after Betty kicked him out of the house, and the Waldorf Astoria has made an appearance—the characters would be right at home at the new-ish NoMad Hotel. The see-and-be seen Dining Room, with menus from Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm that add new twists on old-school dishes like the famed roasted chicken with foie gras, and the cozy wood-paneled back-room library bar are the perfect spots to blow off the rest of the afternoon to dine and sip specialty drinks like Satan’s Circus.
Photo credits: Oyster Bar & Restaurant: Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant; The Campbell Apartment: Hospitality Holdings; 21 Club: Orient-Express Hotels Ltd; The Empire Room: Courtesy of The Empire Room; Keens Steakhouse: Courtesy of Keens Steakhouse; NoMad Hotel: Courtesy of The Nomad Hotel