Papillon Bistro & Bar

PapillonFor some reason I can’t seem to keep Papillion and Napoleon straight. My social studies teachers must have really sucked. And then I remember, “Butterfly!” Yes, that’s it, butterfly. Right? Whatever the case, this joint has little to do with stubby French leaders with short complexes, nor metamorphosed Lepidoptera, but much to do with the be-suited mammalian creatures that roam Midtown East in search of their be-skirted opposites, and a place in which to imbibe barley and hops. I did nothing here but sit out on the sidewalk and inhale a couple of afterwork Guinnesses (Guinni?) while busses whipped by and more “educated customers” packed the bar to the rafters. Like grub places in this neighborhood, there seem to be few establishments that cater to the casual ingestion of spirits. Want a $22,000 watch? No problem. A piece of luggage or sunglasses that cost more than your parent’s house? Why not. But a mellow joint at which to grab a nice sandwich or a brew with some co-workers is next to impossible. If only the million and half food carts on every corner served alcohol and had some spare stools, they’d be raking it in! Anyhow, that means bars like this inevitably get packed starting around 5:30, and probably stay that way until the ties are at half mast and someone breaks into his college fight song for no other reason than he’s a meathead in a Syms suit. Apparently this bi-leveled bar and grill serves French food (which I always enjoy) presumably in the more casual brasserie fashion. I couldn’t quite see past the mass of humanity at the bar, but the space looked relatively nicely decorated, with tall ceilings and like a French cabaret theme of some sort. I’d say stay clear and drink a bodega beer at your desk instead. [MF]

22 E 54th St.