Filling a Neighborhood Need: How the Stayton Room Stands Out

Images courtesy of the Stayton Room and the Lexington Hotel

The Lexington Hotel in New York City, a former home of American icon Marilyn Monroe, has opened The Stayton Room: an upscale bar reminiscent of the “Jazz Age.” 

Across from Grand Central Terminal, the hotel is situated on Lexington Avenue, an area of Manhattan peppered with pubs. The Lexington Hotel’s Director of Sales and Marketing, William van Wassenhove, says the new bar stands in stark contrast to this trend.

“Knowing the neighborhoods, there was a distinct lack of an upscale bar. There are tons of great restaurants. There’s a selection of pubs and other things, but no real cozy, upscale place to go and have a drink after work,” Van Wassenhove said.

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The Lexington Hotel was founded in 1929—the end of the Roaring Twenties, a time when spirits were high, but illegal. Van Wassenhove says, because of this, the name of the new bar is a tribute to activist Captain William Stayton who helped repeal the Prohibition laws in 1933. Ironically, the name of the bar came first, and the concept second.

Creating this bar was the right thing to do.

The Stayton Room, located on the left-hand side of the hotel lobby, features dark wood, plush sofas and intimate lighting. Notably, an arc-shaped light fixture visible from Lexington Avenue hangs over the bar across a rosewood tambour-backdrop. Lighting from Tom Dixon sets the mood.

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“Everything is very subdued to keep an intimate feel. There’s a lot of work with textures and colors. There are very rich jewel colors, so you’ve got crushed velvets, gold, deep pinks, blues, sapphires and emeralds,” Van Wassenhove said.

Inside the Stayton Room bar inside the Lexington Hotel in New York City

The whole project took a year, from start to finish, and the refurbishment itself took three months. The initial budget evolved with the project, but it ended up at two million. Van Wassenhove says renovations went swimmingly.

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Ultimately, Van Wassenhove says creating this bar was the right thing to do.

“The great part of this project was to be able to give a new meaning to this space, and to optimize this space as well. Before this, it was a very small, non-function space,” Van Wassenhove said.

The Stayton Room, available to both guests and locals, is open from 4pm to 12am daily. Visitors can enter through The Lexington Hotel’s lobby or The Stayton Room’s private entrance at 140 East 48th Street. Prohibition-era libations like the Hemingway Daiquiri and the French 75 are available. The new space also features a Bar Fare menu with small dishes including Fava Bean Hummus and Peekytoe Crab Toast with Chipotle Aioli.

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