Is Bridges the saddest bar in town? Quite possibly. Because most hotel bars are in and of themselves pretty terrible places. Not the ones that are kind of built as if they’re their own thing. You know, those high-end, celeb joints that are sometimes stuck in fancy-pants hotels and resorts. But these bars that exist only to ply mid-level business dudes with liquor after flights and/or pathetic sales jobs are just plain sad. And this one in the New York Hilton Midtown qualifies.
So it was with little interest that I joined my ex-boss for a drink at this joint while he was in town for whatever. Especially given the fact there are 50,000 other bars in NYC that aren’t this one. Between the bad lighting, the 90s carpet and the “bridge” theme that I only vaguely got after peeping some subtle kind of deco-inspired bridge support decor, which still comes across as cheeseball 80s chic, I just felt bad for the place.
And, look, maybe this establishment is totally hoppin’ and replete with high-class hookers with hearts on the weekends, but on a weekday evening, it’s just that same slouchy tripod of middle-aged novelty salesmen and tired CPAs. The bartender can make a drink, but I wouldn’t expect it to be good. Or served with a smile, or even a nod. It seems the poor lighting and hushed tones of CNN and a slow Mets game has affected him in the same way it has the clientele. He knows working here is a dead-end gig, and he treats it like one. His uniform straight out of Bennigan’s probably isn’t a motivating factor, either.
I feel like this Hilton was closed for a while. Maybe it was COVID. Maybe it was rats. Who’s to know? Whatever the case, it seems it re-opened, but without any kind of facelift to this bastion of sleepiness. Look, the bars in NYC are open until 4:00 a.m. This negates the need to have a nightcap at your hotel. This negates the need for you to spend even one second in this life-sucking hole of fluorescent slough.