When places like this start getting mass-produced we know the apocalypse is upon us. We’re not saying it’s impossible to have a decent time at a Johnny-come-swanky lounge like Merchants, but your chances certainly decrease with every Brill-creamed dude who saunters through the door on his cell phone. There’s just something incredibly disingenuous about these black-clad yuppie dens. Maybe it’s that horrendous meat market feel that the Upper West Side seems to cast over everything more upscale than a Burger King, or maybe it’s the fact that people pack this place for no other reason than to be somewhere that’s packed. Oy, it’s just such a scene. The restaurant itself is attractively decorated in that vaguely retro 30’s style (lots of chrome and velvet) and it does draw a bevy of beauties in strappy tops in the summer and what seems like an exorbitant amount of overly-tall guys with that tight shirt look. We’re sure the food is just marginal, and the attractive bartenders seem to only serve drinks that are red, orange or blue, but we’re sure you could hustle a beer and some nachos if you so desire. Don’t pity the yuppie–embrace him and let him know that his single life can amount to more than another wasted night chasing the illusive jack-booted Glamour editorial assistant. [MF]
521 Columbus Ave.