The Rainbow Room sits atop the Rockerfeller Centre. Their restaurant and bar offer a good alternative to the ‘Top of the Rock’ observatory – both offer great views of New York City.
You’ll need to book a restaurant table in advance – I think you can just walk in and order a drink at the bar. The best tables, in my opinion, are next to the window along the left side of the restaurant – most spectacular view on that side.
The entrance to the Rainbow Room is easy to find. Once inside, there are various corridors and you have to find the entrance to the elevator. There was a cloakroom maybe 30 metres from the elevator. We didn’t bother checking our coats – but check yours if you’re only using the bar or you’ll be holding over your arm the entire time. Apparently, there is an outside terrace that requires an $85 per person minimum spend – I couldn’t find it and maybe it’s only open during the summer.
We checked in at the elevator entrance and they had my name on a list. There was another check in desk at the top and they took us to our table. Being just two, we weren’t next to the window, but in the next row of tables that border onto the bar area.
I wore a suit jacket, dress shirt and jeans. Most diners were similarly dressed – those in the bar area ranged from smart casual to t-shirts.
Here are some views from our table.
The reflection in the window is from the ceiling of the bar area.
I had to get closer to the window for this picture.
It was quite dark and a little noisy (people in the bar area and lounge music). It was difficult to read the menus and I wasn’t ashamed to use the light on my phone to read it – I saw plenty of others younger than me doing the same.
A rather stingy glass of Malbec was $20. A Brooklyn Lager $10. Tap water was free and regularly topped up.
There wasn’t any bread offered.
I ordered Kobe Pigs In A Blanket (Kobe Beef, Sweet Onion Relish, Mustard) $17 as a sharing starter. In England, pigs in blankets are sausages wrapped in bacon, so we were surprised when, what looked like sausage rolls arrived.
I’m almost sure that within the pastry was a regular hot dog sausage and not Kobe beef – I’ve eaten Kobe beef in Japan. I should have asked for the menu back as I thought I’d misread it in the low light – I would have complained. Of course we ate and enjoyed these – who doesn’t like sausage rolls, but I feel cheated.
For our main courses:
SixtyFive Bar Burger $26
Chef’s Blend of Short Rib, Skirt Steak,
Chuck and Aged NY Strip, Cabot Cheddar,
Caramelized Onions, Smoked Tomato Jam,
The detailed description above failed to mention the giant pickle on the side!
It was, as you’d expect a good burger and with real beef.
Dover Sole $68
Sautéed Spinach, New Season Potatoes, Lemon
Absolutely delicious and worth the $68.
During our meal, I could see the various visitors to the bar taking pictures of the view – and who can blame them? But it did mean that various people were directly behind our table and that may bother some diners.
We really enjoyed our visit to Bar Sixty-five at Rainbow Room. I’m sure you could eat better and for less elsewhere in Manhattan, but everyone is there for the spectacular views and that makes it worth the visit – even if they swap Kobe beef for hot dog sausages!
30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor New York, NY 10112 USA
And if you are only interested in the ‘Top of the Rock’ observatory: