The original Monkey Bar, which occupied the same space on east 54th street in New York City as the new, renovated incarnation, opened in 1932. Back then, it was frequented by such luminaries of New York City’s upper social echelons as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and Fred Astaire; these personalities and others are featured in the mural by Edward Sorel which covers the back wall of the new one.

The painting was commissioned by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, one of the owners of this revamped Monkey Bar (the others are hotelier Jeff Klein and British restaurateur Jeremy King) and a veteran of the semiprivate dining experience—his other venture, The Waverly Inn in the West Village, has been proudly denying hungry diners entry since 2006 (it too features a mural by Sorel).

The dimly lit, preposterously romantic space—outfitted with deep, salubrious banquettes and the odd zebra-skin rug—is as equally difficult to gain entry to as the Inn, but this is Manhattan and such games (limiting customers to a pre fixe time frame; not picking up the phone at all) are par for the course. Once inside, patrons have a straightforward and well-executed menu to choose from (put together by chef Larry Forgione), but people come here, and stay, for the company.

At Monkey Bar, if it looks like Richard Meier at the next table, it probably is. Larry Forgione acts as Executive Chef, serving high-end comfort food dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller, Nora’s Meatloaf and Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Amangiri resort, Utah

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Best Made Axes

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Blackman Cruz store, LA

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Commonwealth Utilities S/S 09 collection

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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BlackWhite House in Bethesda, Maryland by David Jameson Architects

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Methow Cabin, by Eggleston Farkas Architects, Seattle

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Hotel Erwin, Venice Beach, California

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Illustration from the Monkey Bar by Barry Blitt, New York

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Interior of the Monkey Bar

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Illustration for the Monkey Bar by Paul Cox

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My Best Fred, NYC

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Neal Creek, Hood River by Paul Mckean, Oregon

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Beaker & Flask, Portland

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Beast, Portland

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Naomi from Beast, Portland

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Laurelhurst Market, Portland

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Bunks famous sandwiches, Portland

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Le Pigeon, Portland

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Viridian Farms, Portland

Viridian Farms, Portland

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Installation by Johanna Grawunder in Robert at MAD, NYC

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Speakeasy - Rye NYC

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Rye NYC

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Speakeasy - Clover Club, NYC

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Speakeasy - The Violet Hour, Chicago

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Speakeasy - The Varnish, LA

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Speakeasy - Bourbon & Branch, San Francisco

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Diamond House, XTEN Architecture, LA

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Fab 40: Monkey Bar, New York

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Melina Keays is the entertaining director of Wallpaper*. She has been part of the brand since the magazine’s launch in 1996, and is responsible for entertaining content across the print and digital platforms, and for Wallpaper’s creative agency Bespoke. A native Londoner, Melina takes inspiration from the whole spectrum of art and design – including film, literature, and fashion. Her work for the brand involves curating content, writing, and creative direction – conceiving luxury interior landscapes with a focus on food, drinks, and entertaining in all its forms