Manhattan has a new midtown destination – The Peacock and The Shakespeare, opened in a wonderfully restored townhouse on East 39th Street – and Manhattanites could not be more delighted.
Jason Hicks of Jones Wood Foundry and Yves Jadot of Raines Law Room have taken over the former Williams Club and created two distinctly different spots – The Peacock, with panelled library walls and the feel of a “gentlemen’s club” – and The Shakespeare, decked out in the great British pub tradition. The renovation has been carried out with superb attention to detail and the incorporation of bohemian and quirky British touches.
Celebrated chef Robert Aikens has joined to collaborate with Hicks to develop menus that are classically British, and not overly fussy. Aikens has cooked alongside the Roux brothers at their Michelin-starred London restaurant, Le Gavroche, and received an excellent 3-bell review during his time as Executive Chef at The Dandelion in Philadelphia. Prior to opening Jones Wood Foundry, Hicks did stints at Aureole, La Goulue and Orsay.
As Hicks explains, “When I first walked through the doors of the old Williams College Club, I was drawn into the building’s soul and transported back to the rich history, and that was what inspired me to create The Peacock and The Shakespeare.”
Arriving up the stone steps to the double townhouse doors, one is welcomed into the warm atmosphere of the Library Bars, all roaring fires and leather club chairs. Unusual eclectic modern art hangs throughout the Club. The Peacock is Manhattan’s supper club – it feels like one’s home – and there are two dinning rooms, allowing for an intimate feel.
Off the dinning rooms is a terrace, which in Spring will offer a champagne terrace bar. But for now, as Manhattan deals with the Polar Vortex, the roaring fires, leather sofas and club chairs beckon.
If a more relaxed experience is what one wants, then the counter point to the sophistication and understated elegance of The Peacock is The Shakespeare pub downstairs, where American culture is embraced within British traditions.
The Shakespeare is a full bar with a large selection of British and American beers on offer. The bar stools are a mix of historic tweeds, and there is a real snug with a hatch for passing your drinks back to the bar.
The food at The Shakespeare is smaller portions, with stripped-down pub food on slate plates. Alongside the bar is a private dinning room, The Abingdon, which is perfect for groups of over twenty. Red tavern walls with a roaring fireplace – one is transported to another era with all the comforts of today.
The Peacock and The Shakespeare are in effect striking that balance (so hard to achieve) of understated, effortless style.
12 East 39th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues.
Tel: 646- 837-6776