It’s easy to lose track of time at The Office. It was designed that way. No clocks, no view of the outside world; just frosted glass that lets in enough light to signal whether the sun has set. Comfortably seated on a brown Chesterfield banquette, one almost forgets they’re on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental—the chosen home for chef Grant Achatz’s first foray outside of Chicago. The adjacent Aviary NYC, the second outpost of his hyper-experimental drinks kitchen arriving this fall, may be more attention-grabbing, but there’s something romantic about The Office, with its Prohibition-era style, collection of vintage spirits (the oldest bottle of Cognac dates back to 1835), and cocktails served in etched goblets. And though it sounds very dignified and serious, it’s refreshingly playful. Every detail—from the Remington typewriter on an old steamer trunk to the ice cream sundae served with a crystal lazy susan full of gummy bears, Reese’s cups, and other candy—was thought out by Achatz, his partner Nick Kokonas, and designer Adam Tihany, who instructed me to find a special object on the bar before I visited. “I’m big on monkey lamps,” he says. “I think everybody should have one.”
High Above Manhattan, a Retro Cocktail Aerie with No View
Experimental Chicago chef Grant Achatz brings high-concept cocktails, rare spirits, and a deceptive environment to the Mandarin Oriental.By Laura Itzkowitz August 31, 2017
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