The Lobbyist is a division of JBLY that specifically handles reviews of hotel lobbies and hotel bars. If you’ve got a good suggestion (or, preferably, a bad one) for a place I should visit, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s time to take this show outdoors, kids. Summer is here and you know what that means? The Yard at the Soho Grand is open for business. The Yard is not so much, well, a yard in the traditional sense as it is a generously proportioned alleyway that they’ve paved, tented, and landscaped. Throw a few sexy white curtains suspended from wooden beams and a cute bartender shaking up $22 margarita and voila! You’ve got yourself a chic little hotel bar.
We descended upon the Yard on the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. The crowd was sparse and became increasingly so as we inched past 10 p.m. I attribute this to the fact that most people in the market for the aforementioned $22 margaritas were en route to the Hamptons. I imagine once the weather really starts heating up, the tolerance for overpriced drinks in an outdoor sweat lodge will increase correspondingly, even for those who can’t afford it.
Beetlejuice-inspired spandex pants (for men and women), artfully ripped tee-shirts, leather boat shoes in camel, jeans and button-ups, dresses that should be shirts.
“WILL YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF US?!”
I am assaulted by not one, but two tiny girls who scream this at me as I unsuspectingly open the door to the restroom. “We’re not from here,” they profess openly. The statement seems like an unapologetic apology meant to let New Yorkers know they know everyone sees them coming a mile away and they don’t give a shit. I take a picture of five brunette Carrie Bradshaws, each one of them in a lyrca mini dress anchoring itself to the underside of an ass cheek.
Afterwards, I watch the five girls stumble (literally) to the Yard and lean against the bar, vying for the attention of the blonde bartender with the Roman nose and the curly mop of hair. Out of the five girls, one is in the worst shape. She braces herself as she walks in between their table and the bar, her legs dragging uncooperative feet stuck into a pair of nude high heels two sizes too big for her. Her face contorts as she slowly propels herself forward, as though furiously manipulating the surface of a Rubik’s cube and not the previously simple task of walking.
Expectedly, the fashion crowd is present tonight, in all its various forms. You have the smoking models, the guidos paying for the drinks of the smoking models, and the creepy guys who will probably tell you they own a modeling agency in the hopes that it will get them laid. There are also a handful of fabulous young gays, too fabulous and too gay* to hold the door for my friend as she walked from the Yard to the hotel restroom. Whoops!
Bruce Springsteen remixes, Creedence Clearwater Revival, conversations about the “best salads at Cipriani.”**
I came here last summer on one of the hottest days of the year and I can say one thing is for certain, there isn’t much of a cross breeze. Being stuck between what is essentially three of four tall buildings comes with its pitfalls. Mainly, the greenhouse effect that hovers between the white-painted bamboo on one side and the brick on the other. Also mainly, the sweating that ensues. If you come to the Yard during the day, be prepared to drink your Pim’s Punch looking as though you’ve been dipped in Vaseline.
Lobbyist Rating: 4/5 Kate Mosses***
* For the record, I love gay people. Also for the record, I think all people, gay or straight, should hold doors open for the people just behind them.
** Verdict: Artichoke and Parmesan salad.
*** Kate Moss, in my opinion, is pretty much representative of what I look for in a bar.