Theme restaurants are weird. You got your WWF joint and your ESPN Zone, which are just flat out tourist traps based on successful businesses. You got your Jekyll and Hyde and Slaughtered Lamb, which are one step down the corporate ladder, but still theme restaurants. And then you have restaurants like the Telephone Bar and Grill, which are inorganic versions of restaurants that you would supposedly find in a certain country (namely, England). Now, if this is the case, does an authentic Murray Hill Afghani restaurant, decorated in that country’s style, count as a theme restaurant, or just an Afghani restaurant? Confusing, but the question begs to be asked. Maybe the typical English red telephone booths sitting outside the place make it a theme restaurant. If the Afghani place had some camels stationed outside… Truly, the huge Telephone Bar seems like any other American place once you get inside. Enormous to the point of seeming odd, the place offers a bunch of beers on tap, tons of seating, and a nice set of counters at which to stand to drink your brew (it’s better than it sounds). We didn’t eat the food, but we can only imagine, having had other theme restaurant grub–and this is supposed to an English place. Yuck. The place seems like it could be fun with a large group of people, and we believe that there is a back room that looked pretty inviting. Next time we’ll have to come earlier and explore. [MF]
149 2nd Ave.