Oak Room (Plaza Hotel): Difference between revisions

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[[File:Oak Room (Plaza Hotel) entrance on 59th Street, Sept 2017.jpg|thumb|Oak Room entrance on [[59th Street (Manhattan)|59th Street]]]]The '''Oak Room''' was a bar and, later, a restaurant in the [[Plaza Hotel]] in [[New York City]].<ref name="Times">{{cite web |url=https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/06/nyregion/oak-room-at-plaza-hotel-plaza-is-scheduled-to-close.html?_r=0 |title=Oak Room Is Set to Close After Rent Fight With Plaza Hotel |author=Cara Buckley |date=May 5, 2011 |work=New York Times |accessdate=January 6, 2015}}</ref> The bar was open from 1907 until its closing in 2011. It was distinct from the adjoining Oak Bar.<ref name="The Oak Room and Oak Bar">{{cite web |url=http://www.fairmont.com/the-plaza-new-york/dining/oakbar/ |title=The Oak Room and Oak Bar |work=Fairmont Hotels and Resorts website |accessdate=January 6, 2015}}</ref><ref name="Times2" />
 
==Description and history==
Designed by Plaza Hotel architect [[Henry Janeway Hardenbergh]] in a [[German Renaissance#Architecture|German Renaissance]] style, the room features walls of English or Flemish oak, frescoes of Bavarian castles (by a painter whose identity is now lost to history),<ref name="nycgov">{{cite web|author=|first=|date=July 12, 2005|title=Plaza Hotel Interior|url=http://s-media.nyc.gov/agencies/lpc/lp/2174.pdf|url-status=live|archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20140824055351/http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/plazahotel.pdf|archive-date=August 24, 2014|accessdate=January 22, 2015|website=|publisher=New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission}}</ref>{{rp|52}} faux wine casks carved into the woodwork, and a grape-laden chandelier topped by a barmaid hoisting a stein hanging from the twenty-foot-high ceiling.<ref name="Times2">{{cite web |url=https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/16/opinion/opinionspecial/16gathje.html |title=What Would Eloise Say? |author=Curtis Gathje |date=January 16, 2005 |work=New York Times |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref>
[[File:Oak Room (Plaza Hotel) entrance on 59th Street, Sept 2017.jpg|thumb|Oak Room entrance on [[59th Street (Manhattan)|59th Street]]]]
Designed by Plaza Hotel architect [[Henry Janeway Hardenbergh]] in a [[German Renaissance#Architecture|German Renaissance]] style, the room features walls of English or Flemish oak, frescoes of Bavarian castles (by a painter whose identity is now lost to history),<ref name=nycgov>{{cite web |url=http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/plazahotel.pdf |title=Plaza Hotel Interior - Designation Report |author= |date=July 12, 2005 |publisher=New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission |accessdate=January 22, 2015 |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20140824055351/http://www.nyc.gov/html/lpc/downloads/pdf/reports/plazahotel.pdf |archive-date=August 24, 2014 |url-status=dead }}</ref>{{rp|52}} faux wine casks carved into the woodwork, and a grape-laden chandelier topped by a barmaid hoisting a stein hanging from the twenty-foot-high ceiling.<ref name=Times2>{{cite web |url=https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/16/opinion/opinionspecial/16gathje.html |title=What Would Eloise Say? |author=Curtis Gathje |date=January 16, 2005 |work=New York Times |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref> It opened in 1907 as the Men's Bar,<ref name=Times2/><ref name=Gothamist1>{{cite web |url=http://gothamist.com/2008/10/30/plazas_oak_room_poised_to_reopen_af.php#photo-1 |title=Plaza's Oak Room Poised to Reopen After Face Lift |author=John Del Signore |date=October 30, 2008 |work=Gothamist |accessdate=January 7, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20090308010132/http://gothamist.com/2008/10/30/plazas_oak_room_poised_to_reopen_af.php#photo-1 |archivedate=March 8, 2009 }}</ref> closed as a bar during [[Prohibition in the United States|Prohibition]] (1920-1933) during which time it was known as the Café or Oak Lounge,<ref name=nycgov/>{{rp|54}} and re-opened in 1934 as a restaurant under the name Oak Room,<ref name=Gothamist1/> maintaining men-only lunches on weekdays until 1969, when [[Betty Friedan]] and other members of the [[National Organization for Women]] staged a protest.<ref name=Times2/> The restaurant closed while the hotel was closed for renovation (2005–2008), reopening in 2008 after renovations with interior design by [[Annabelle Selldorf]].<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.steilish.com/Oak-Room-Oak-Bar |title=Oak Room and Oak Bar at The Plaza Hotel |work=Steilish LLC website |accessdate=January 8, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20150109032058/http://www.steilish.com/Oak-Room-Oak-Bar |archivedate=January 9, 2015 }}</ref> The Oak Room closed again in 2011.
 
The Oak Room was long a grand, opulent,<ref name="Times2" /> and elegant<ref>{{cite web|author=Monique Monez|date=September 27, 2013|title=Holiday Venues for your Festivities|url=http://www.greatperformances.com/the-dish/holiday-venues-for-your-festivities/ |titleaccessdate=HolidayJanuary Venues for your Festivities |author=Monique Monez |date=September 278, 2013 2015|work=The Dish |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref> space. Critic [[Ada Louise Huxtable]], writing in 1971, contrasted the "dignity, scale and period authenticity" of the Oak Room to other more modernized spaces in the hotel.<ref name="nycgov" />{{rp|14}} It was accordingly frequented, like the Plaza's other spaces, by the rich and famous. [[George M. Cohan]] was a regular to the extent that his booth was named Cohan's Corner and bears a bronze plaque to that effect.;<ref name="Squires">{{cite web|author=Kathleen Squires|date=March 7, 2014|title=Secrets of the Plaza Hotel|url=http://www.newyork.com/articles/hotels/secrets-of-the-plaza-hotel-11776/|accessdate=January 8, 2015|work=New York.com}}</ref><ref name="Times2" /> a commemorative plaque for Cohan was installed in the room in the 1940s after his death.<ref name="nycgov" />{{Rp|15}}<ref name="Gathje2000">{{Cite book|last=Gathje|first=Curtis|url=https://www.overdrive.com/search?q=01ACC6C4-CDC1-4A20-9A6D-AAAFB4C818F5|title=SecretsAt the Plaza: an illustrated history of the Plazaworld's Hotelmost famous hotel|authordate=Kathleen Squires2000|isbn=978-1-4668-6700-0|language=English|oclc=874906584}}</ref>{{Rp|78}}<ref>{{Cite news|date=March 711, 20141943|title=Plaque to Honor Cohan, Harris|language=en-US|work=The New York Times|url=https://www.nytimes.com /1943/03/11/archives/plaque-to-honor-cohan-harris.html|accessdateurl-status=Januarylive|access-date=November 828, 20152020|issn=0362-4331}}</ref><ref name=Times2/>
 
===The Oak Bar===
It was, however, a descent into alleged vulgarity<ref>{{cite web |url=http://gothamist.com/2011/05/01/plaza_hotel_sues_oak_room_tenants_f.php |title=Plaza Hotel Sues Oak Room Tenants For Being Too "Vulgar" |author=Jaya Saxena |date=May 1, 2011 |work=Gothamist |accessdate=January 8, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20111117101735/http://gothamist.com/2011/05/01/plaza_hotel_sues_oak_room_tenants_f.php |archivedate=November 17, 2011 }}</ref> that led to the 2011 closing. Central to the closing was a dispute between the owners of the Plaza Hotel (various investors led by the [[El-Ad Group]]) and Eli Gindi, owner of the Oak Room and lessee of the Plaza Hotel. Although unpaid rent and other matters were alleged, a major point of contention was the "Day and Night" parties held on Saturday afternoons. These events (crucial to the Oak Room's profitability, bringing in $180,000 in an afternoon) were rowdy and featured loud music, and were described by the hotel's owners as damaging to the hotel's reputation and disturbing to the hotel's guests.<ref name=Times/><ref>{{cite web |url=http://gothamist.com/2011/05/06/the_oak_room_is_closing_rowdy_brunc.php |title=The Oak Room Is Closing, Rowdy Brunching D-Bags Blamed |author=John Del Signore |date=May 6, 2011 |work=The Gothamist |accessdate=January 7, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20141230185532/http://gothamist.com/2011/05/06/the_oak_room_is_closing_rowdy_brunc.php |archivedate=December 30, 2014 }}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=https://nypost.com/2011/01/16/sibling-revelry/ |title=Sibling revelry |author=Carla Spartos |date=January 16, 2011 |work=New York Post |accessdate=January 7, 2015}}</ref>
[[File:Day Trip to New York City (2787626323).jpg|250px|right|thumb|Entrance to The Oak Bar in August 2008.]]
The '''Oak Bar''' is closely associated with the Oak Room and adjoins and is connected to it,<ref name="nycgov" />{{rp|22}} but is a separate entity.<ref name="The Oak Room and Oak Bar" /><ref name="Times2" /> The Oak Bar was established in its current location on the northwest corner of the Plaza Hotel in 1945 when the hotel was under the ownership of [[Conrad Hilton]] (or re-established – the area may have been part of the Men's Bar between 1912 and 1920).<ref name="nycgov" />{{rp|50}} ThreePrior [[Everett Shinn]] murals were commissioned forto the 1945 opening and remain in placerenovation,<ref>{{cite webit |url=http://untappedcities.com/2012/12/06/where-food-and-drinks-are-served-with-a-work-of-art/ |title=Top 10 Bars in NYC Where A Drink is Served withas a Piecebrokerage of Art |author=Benjamin Waldman |date=December 6, 2012 |work=Untapped Cities |accessdate=January 9, 2015}}</ref> and a {{convert|38|ft|m}} oakwood bar was installed. All or part of the area occupied by the Oak Bar had formerly been the offices of [[E. F. Hutton & Co.|E. F. Hutton]]office.<ref name="nycgov/>{{rp|50}}" The Oak Bar is in [[Tudor Revival architecture|Tudor Revival]] style with a plaster ceiling, [[strapwork]], and floral and foliage motifs.<ref name=nycgov/>{{rp|14}}
 
Three [[Everett Shinn]] murals were commissioned for the 1945 opening and remain in place,<ref>{{cite web|author=Benjamin Waldman|date=December 6, 2012|title=Top 10 Bars in NYC Where A Drink is Served with a Piece of Art|url=http://untappedcities.com/2012/12/06/where-food-and-drinks-are-served-with-a-work-of-art/|accessdate=January 9, 2015|work=Untapped Cities}}</ref> and a {{convert|38|ft|m}} oakwood bar was installed. All or part of the area occupied by the Oak Bar had formerly been the offices of [[E. F. Hutton & Co.|E. F. Hutton]].<ref name="nycgov" />{{rp|50}} The Oak Bar is in [[Tudor Revival architecture|Tudor Revival]] style with a plaster ceiling, [[strapwork]], and floral and foliage motifs.<ref name="nycgov" />{{rp|14}}
 
== History ==
It opened in 1907 as the Men's Bar.<ref name="Times2" /><ref name="Gothamist1">{{cite web |url=http://gothamist.com/2008/10/30/plazas_oak_room_poised_to_reopen_af.php#photo-1 |title=Plaza's Oak Room Poised to Reopen After Face Lift |author=John Del Signore |date=October 30, 2008 |work=Gothamist |accessdate=January 7, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20090308010132/http://gothamist.com/2008/10/30/plazas_oak_room_poised_to_reopen_af.php#photo-1 |archivedate=March 8, 2009 }}</ref> The Men's Bar was used as a space for businessmen to talk, in contrast with the Men's Grill (now the Edwardian Room), which acted as a social club where business discussion was socially inappropriate.<ref name=":0">{{Cite book|last=Harris|first=Bill|url=https://archive.org/details/plazaharr00harr|title=The Plaza|last2=Clucas|first2=Philip|last3=Smart|first3=Ted|last4=Gibbon|first4=David|last5=Westin Hotels|date=1981|publisher=Poplar Books|year=|isbn=|location=Secaucas, N.J.|language=English|oclc=1036787315}}</ref>{{Rp|47&ndash;48}} The bar closed during [[Prohibition in the United States|Prohibition]] (1920-1933) during which time it was known as the Café or Oak Lounge.<ref name="nycgov" />{{rp|54}}
 
The Men's Bar re-opened in 1934 as a restaurant under the name Oak Room.<ref name="Gothamist1" /> Women were allowed in the Oak Room during the summers starting in the late 1940s. By the early 1950s, women were allowed inside the Oak Room and Bar during the evenings as well. The Oak Room and Bar still acted as a men-only space before 3 p.m. on weekdays, while the stock exchanges operated.<ref name="nycgov" />{{Rp|15}}<ref name="Gathje2000" />{{Rp|142}}<ref name=":0" />{{Rp|55&ndash;56}} This continued until, in February 1969, [[Betty Friedan]] and other members of the [[National Organization for Women]] staged a protest. The gender restriction was removed a few months later.<ref name="Times2" /><ref name="Gathje2000" />{{Rp|142}}<ref name=":0" />{{Rp|56}}
 
The restaurant closed while the hotel was closed for renovation (2005–2008), reopening in 2008 after renovations with interior design by [[Annabelle Selldorf]].<ref>{{cite web|title=Oak Room and Oak Bar at The Plaza Hotel|url=http://www.steilish.com/Oak-Room-Oak-Bar|url-status=dead|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20150109032058/http://www.steilish.com/Oak-Room-Oak-Bar|archivedate=January 9, 2015|accessdate=January 8, 2015|work=Steilish LLC website}}</ref> It was, however, a descent into alleged vulgarity<ref>{{cite web |url=http://gothamist.com/2011/05/01/plaza_hotel_sues_oak_room_tenants_f.php |title=Plaza Hotel Sues Oak Room Tenants For Being Too "Vulgar" |author=Jaya Saxena |date=May 1, 2011 |work=Gothamist |accessdate=January 8, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20111117101735/http://gothamist.com/2011/05/01/plaza_hotel_sues_oak_room_tenants_f.php |archivedate=November 17, 2011 }}</ref> that led to the 2011 closing. Central to the closing was a dispute between the owners of the Plaza Hotel (various investors led by the [[El-Ad Group]]) and Eli Gindi, owner of the Oak Room and lessee of the Plaza Hotel. Although unpaid rent and other matters were alleged, a major point of contention was the "Day and Night" parties held on Saturday afternoons. These events (crucial to the Oak Room's profitability, bringing in $180,000 in an afternoon) were rowdy and featured loud music, and were described by the hotel's owners as damaging to the hotel's reputation and disturbing to the hotel's guests.<ref name="Times" /><ref>{{cite web |url=http://gothamist.com/2011/05/06/the_oak_room_is_closing_rowdy_brunc.php |title=The Oak Room Is Closing, Rowdy Brunching D-Bags Blamed |author=John Del Signore |date=May 6, 2011 |work=The Gothamist |accessdate=January 7, 2015 |url-status=dead |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20141230185532/http://gothamist.com/2011/05/06/the_oak_room_is_closing_rowdy_brunc.php |archivedate=December 30, 2014 }}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=https://nypost.com/2011/01/16/sibling-revelry/ |title=Sibling revelry |author=Carla Spartos |date=January 16, 2011 |work=New York Post |accessdate=January 7, 2015}}</ref>
 
==Notable performers==
Although the hotel's Rose Club (formerly the Persian Room) has long been the hotel's premier nightclub and venue for entertainment,<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.theplazany.com/dining/roseclub/ |title=The Rose Club |work=Plaza Hotel website |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref> the Oak Room has also hosted performers including [[Alexa Ray Joel]]<ref>{{cite web |url=http://observer.com/2011/01/midtown-girl-alexa-ray-joel-goes-ahead-with-her-own-life-at-the-plazas-oak-room/ |title=Midtown Girl: Alexa Ray Joel Goes Ahead with Her Own Life at The Plaza's Oak Room |author=Brian Thomas Gallagher |date=January 5, 2011 |work=New York Observer |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref> and [[Brian Newman]]. [[Lady Gaga]] appeared in impromptu performances with Newman in the Oak Room on September 29, 2010<ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.star-magazine.co.uk/posts/view/23849/Gaga-surprises-fans-in-New-York/ |title=Gaga surprises fans in New York |date=September 30, 2010 |work=Star |accessdate=January 8, 2015 |archive-url=https://web.archive.org/web/20150109043957/http://www.star-magazine.co.uk/posts/view/23849/Gaga-surprises-fans-in-New-York/ |archive-date=January 9, 2015 |url-status=dead }}</ref> (wearing a dress made of hair)<ref>{{cite web |url=http://buzzworthy.mtv.com/2010/10/01/lady-gagas-hair-dress/ |title=PHOTOS: Lady Gaga's Hair Dress! |author=Tamar Anitai |date=October 1, 2010 |work=Buzzworthy |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref> and again on January 5, 2011.<ref>{{cite web |title=Lady GaGa performs at the Oak Room |url=https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/video-lady-gaga-pays-surprise-visit-to-manhattan-club-20110106|last=Perpetua|first=Matthew |date=January 6, 2011 |accessdate=November 25, 2011 |work=[[Rolling Stone]]}}</ref><ref>{{cite web |url=http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/lady-gaga-boyfriend-luc-carl-hit-oak-room-impromptu-concert-dancefloor-pda-article-1.153189 |title=Lady Gaga, boyfriend Luc Carl, hit up Oak Room for impromptu concert and some dancefloor PDA |author=Carson Griffith and Molly Fischer |date=January 7, 2011 |work=New York Daily News |accessdate=January 8, 2015}}</ref>
 
==The Oak Bar==
[[File:Day Trip to New York City (2787626323).jpg|250px|right|thumb|Entrance to The Oak Bar in August 2008.]]
The '''Oak Bar''' is closely associated with the Oak Room and adjoins and is connected to it,<ref name=nycgov/>{{rp|22}} but is a separate entity.<ref name="The Oak Room and Oak Bar"/><ref name=Times2/> The Oak Bar was established in its current location on the northwest corner of the Plaza Hotel in 1945 when the hotel was under the ownership of [[Conrad Hilton]] (or re-established – the area may have been part of the Men's Bar between 1912 and 1920).<ref name=nycgov/>{{rp|50}} Three [[Everett Shinn]] murals were commissioned for the 1945 opening and remain in place,<ref>{{cite web |url=http://untappedcities.com/2012/12/06/where-food-and-drinks-are-served-with-a-work-of-art/ |title=Top 10 Bars in NYC Where A Drink is Served with a Piece of Art |author=Benjamin Waldman |date=December 6, 2012 |work=Untapped Cities |accessdate=January 9, 2015}}</ref> and a {{convert|38|ft|m}} oakwood bar was installed. All or part of the area occupied by the Oak Bar had formerly been the offices of [[E. F. Hutton & Co.|E. F. Hutton]].<ref name=nycgov/>{{rp|50}} The Oak Bar is in [[Tudor Revival architecture|Tudor Revival]] style with a plaster ceiling, [[strapwork]], and floral and foliage motifs.<ref name=nycgov/>{{rp|14}}
 
==In popular culture==