Grand Central Station’s Campbell Bar: Stepping Back in Time

Imagine stepping back into the 1920s: you’ve just gotten off work in downtown New York City and you’re about to walk through Grand Central Station and hop the train home. But you’ve had a long day and honestly a proper cocktail would be so nice right now.

So you slip into the dark room of the Campbell Bar to the sounds of a piano playing softly in the background and order your drink of choice while leaning against the dark mahogany bar. The bartender gives you a knowing nod and a half smile, and you sigh into your glass. Another day done.

Photo by Andy Nichols

Photo by Andy Nichols

Ok, that is exactly how it feels stepping into the Campbell Bar just outside of Grand Central Station in New York, even in 2018. It’s like stepping back in time...with one MAJOR exception. But I’ll get to that.

Andy and I arrived and were seated in a table along the wall, also mahogany. The interior is all dark woods, deep colours, soft lights, and immaculately dressed men and women, some in couples and others in larger groups - out for the evening or possibly just a few drinks after work that went late.

We ordered a classic aviator for Andy and a spicy marg for me - a treat, to be sure, at $18 a piece, but not extraordinarily so. And then we just kind of sat and took it all in. Until that moment we noticed the music...

…was early 2000s pop.


They had the atmosphere absolutely nailed, you guys, down to the scents in the bathroom accoutrements (hints of lavender and rose, of course) and the polite, distant tone of the server as she brought us cocktails. And then they played a Spotify playlist with hits from the 90s and 2000s. Oh man.

Regardless, you’re missing out if you don’t make the Campbell Bar a stop on your tour of New York City. Get a little dolled up (I can’t imagine they’d let you in otherwise) and step back in time for an hour or two. You’ll love it.

(No pictures inside the bar because we wanted to just enjoy and take it in - you can check the site I’ve linked above and here to see their photos).

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