On Friday, September 16, two friends and I attempted a bar crawl across Manhattan, stopping at multiple midtown locales that have been featured on Real Housewives of New York.
This was not my first rodeo—Ellie Shechet and I visited known Housewives haunt Beautique back in April and while we didn’t spot any cast members, we did stumble our way into a possible high-end sex ring. But this time differed because I was doing it for the love of the game—no expensed drinks, no official assignment. I was merely a fan of the franchise gathering with another fan and one friend who doesn’t watch the show who we tricked into coming by not explaining our motives. (Will she speak to either of us ever again? Who can say!)
The first stop on our bar crawl was the Baccarat hotel bar on 53rd Street. It was here that Luann de Lesseps got into an argument with Martha Stewart (off air, unfortunately) and where Luann’s fiancé Tom first picked up fellow cast mate Ramona Singer before taking her on one to 12 dates, depending on who you ask.
Baccarat, my friends and I quickly learned, is fairly gorgeous. Rooms cost a grand a night, the lobby has an intense light installation that leaves you feeling like you’re auditioning to dance in Beyonce’s “Partition” video (I’m sorry, you didn’t get the part), and the bar is illuminated with beautiful chandeliers. We got a table almost right away (“They think we’re hookers!,” my friend whispered excitedly as the maître d’ led us to a corner booth) and the service was swift and polite.
Praise out of the way, visitors to the Baccarat should be prepared for at least two things: 1. Drinks cost an arm and an Aviva Drescher leg at $24 bucks a pop and 2. the staff will certainly judge you if you take alcohol off a stranger’s table—something I learned the hard way when the woman sitting next to me ordered a $20 glass of wine and left without drinking it. Was it so wrong of me, a young woman on safari, to take that glass of wine and drink it myself? Our waiter certainly thought so, but I’d definitely do it again.
We left after two rounds (not including my trash wine), but not before I overheard two women in the bathroom complaining about a lice outbreak at their kids private school, with one woman remarking that “the kids of my friend the heiress have had lice twice.” I couldn’t linger to hear more because next we were headed to the crown jewel of the evening: the bar at the Loews Regency Hotel, sight of Tom D’Agostino’s cheating and a favorite meet-up joint for him and Luann. It’s basically their Cheers—(Luann is exactly like Diane—if Diane had a pretend singing career and once fucked a Johnny Depp-lookalike in St. Barts.)
We arrived at the Regency Restaurant and Bar around 11:30, the time we thought it would be most exciting and rife with opportunities to spot the countess herself. Only guess what? The Regency, the supposed never-ending bacchanalia of Park Avenue, closes at 11.
Maybe it’s because all of the lights were on at their full brightness so that the bartenders could clean up or maybe it was because the bar looks like it is literally in the hotel lobby, but the Regency at best resembles any normal hotel bar that you could find right outside of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. In fact, I think I remember using a food voucher there when United canceled my flight. Inside, there were half a dozen men in suits (did they work there? Were they guests? Were they Rey?) huddled around the bar. They stared at us like angry feral cats as we tried the locked door and watched us steadily through the windows as we walked away. Do I sound haunted? I felt haunted.
With the Regency being such a bust, it was time to go home—no, not to my apartment, but back to Beautique where, because we’d come in our sluttiest clothes (you can’t hope to catch a Tom without showin’ off a lil bait!), we had no problem making it to the back room where John had once so infamously arrived without Dorinda. Within 10 minutes of our arrival, a drunk man groped my butt and tried to kiss my neck twice, though I eventually got him to stop by telling him that if he wanted to try it again, he’d better at least come back with a bottle of champagne for me and my friends (my version of leaning in). Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on whether or not you hoped this story ended with my murder), he stumbled off and did not return—proving that we weren’t the only poor slobs pretending in the building that night.
We were there for less than a half hour before leaving because we didn’t want to waste the rest of the evening escorting one another to the bathroom to ensure that we weren’t followed in. Also because we couldn’t find any rich people to buy us booze and the well of trash wine had run dry. The Turtle Time clock had run out, we were kicked off the Hooters yacht called life, two white women and a black woman walked into three separate bars—and then they had this post.