When I was 15 studying for my GCSE’s in England, I did a project on the designer Ralph Lauren for my Design course. Brazenly, I somehow managed to finagle a three month internship helping the window designer at their New Bond Street location. For one of their window displays, we created a mini East Hampton estate. As we meticulously worked on the gorgeous displays, one of the carpenters gave me some invaluable advice. “Retail is detail”, he proclaimed. At the time it seemed like quite a lot of fuss for such a small temporary space, but the effects were transportive. A passerby could envision themselves hosting a little soirée on Lily Pond Road, dressed to the nines in a Ralph Lauren.
Cut to the 21st century… We recently had a chance to finally check out Ralph Lauren’s much buzzed about NYC restaurant venture: The Polo Bar. While not officially a members club, the vibe is VIP all the way. They greet you by name outside, which is such a nice touch, if your name happens to be on the list. Reservations are a must, even for the bar. Inside, it’s that magical mix of polished, approachable sophistication. After a few nibbles and an old school cosmopolitan by the fireplace, we slinked downstairs to the gorgeous dining room. Timeless and instantly classic, it doesn’t feel ‘new’ or ‘fresh’, it just ‘is’. It’s quite the scene but in a subtle way, and everyone belongs.
After a round of shrimp cocktails, oysters and champagne, we saddled up to the sole purpose of our evening. The much anticipated burger. Wow, just wow. Juicy, flavorful and simplicity at its best. Pretty sure it’s already a signature item. The menu is an homage to classic American cuisine, with plenty of options for everyone. Even your vegan friends can rejoice here.
A great addition to the neighborhood, The Polo Bar already feels like an institution. Everything was just perfect, in an un-contrived way – thanks in part to the care and attention to detail, and just the right amount of magic and imagination. If we were to give it a grade? A+++. Oh, my Design GCSE? Also an A. Retail is detail indeed.
The Polo Bar
1 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
Tel. +1 212 207 8562