I feel a bit pedophile-ish having drinks in this joint. After all, it sounds like a New York City public school and not some semi-swanky lounge in this non-neighborhood that passes for Murray Hill. It had the kind of personality of an upscale sports bar, or fancy-pants hotel bar. I don’t know, something about the scale of the place was all off. It was just a too cavernous to be cozy, and just a little too sterile to be somewhere that you’d tell friends to meet you. It had a decidedly out-of-towner feeling about it. My thought is that they do a lot of group parties, as the space is certainly big enough for it, and there’s no real need for anyone to come to this part of town unless they’re staying in a hotel nearby, or are congregating with a group that plans to stay here all night for an all-you-can-drink reserved party. The lighting, banquets and bowling-alley-length front bar (with the requisite lighted wall o’ booze opposite) is certainly nice to look at, but, like a bad script where you can practically see the actors reading the script as they’re reciting their lines, the decor and architecture feel almost too thought out and too generically upscale to feel genuine in any way. We stopped by prior to going to dinner with a couple other friends and sat up front at high tables (the whole place was somehow reserved for later), and were served decent drinks by a barmaid that literally had no other customers to serve. I seem to recall a bowl of snacks on our table as well, which is such a simple way to keep me coming back to a bar. Granted, there is very little chance I’ll ever find myself in this place again, unless we feel like another cheese explosion at Artisanal, but you could do worse if you find yourself in this wasteland. At least you’ll have plenty of room to roam, and some pretty walls to stare at. [MF]

450 Park Ave. S