The Fleur Room on the Rooftop of the Moxy 105 W. 28th St., Manhattan
Named after the Flower District in Chelsea, this is New York's highest rooftop bar. Take the lift up 35 floors, and if your jaw doesn't fall on the floor at the view, I'll shout you a Manhattan (around $18) and bowl of warm olives ($4). With 360-degree views of New York's skyline, sweeping from Midtown, across to Downtown and the Hudson River, it's breathtaking. The fit-out is lush with a touch of European grandeur. Fleur doesn't need a disco ball, with the Empire State building right there. But what the hell. They have one anyway - a giant 80s disco ball that came from LA's Vertigo club.
The vibe: There's a bunch of people lined up outside the lift and it's not even 6.30pm. But after about five minutes, we're hurtling towards the heavens. The Fleur Room is actually two rooms. One, a casual classic bar; the other features velvety banquette seats and DJ decks. Later on, those seats make way for a dance floor. Angelo Bianchi, who created this hip and much-hyped hangout where A-listers are supposed to flock, says the food is "mind-blowingly good". I can speak only for the tamari almonds and warm olives, which are very nice. And the "Black Truffle Cheese, feat. Young Pecorino" ($14) which sounds like a great hip-hop collaboration.
The expectation: Lofty. We come to Fleur - as we do to every experience in the Big Apple, with a sense of childish excitement and with open minds.
The reality: We ordered the signature Fleur of the Valley (Grey Goose, prosecco with fresh strawberries), and The Talisman (bourbon, honey chamomile syrup and lemons).
Good choice, says the bartender. She is right. We wait for our drinks at the packed bar, before taking a seat in the banquette room. We wait and we wait for our little bowls of salty treats. I wander over and a bartender awkwardly reaches over the customers seated at the bar and hands me the bowls. I find I'm apologising to someone for being in their face. Once we finish our cocktails, which are terrific, well balanced, I ask a passing waiter, could I please order a couple of glasses of wine? No, sorry - not on this side, it's a separate bar. Whaaa? It's two different places? I'm so confused and I've only had one cocktail.
And the tab - four drinks and two small bowls of snacks: nearly $NZ200. Truly cool and legendary bars are all about connection and staff who treat all customers like they're A-Listers.
But that view. Make sure you get a cocktail and a selfie with the real star here - the New York skyline.