Ophelia New York | Ascension to Elegance

Ophelia, one of the two female characters in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, suffers a tragic death, falling and drowning in a brook. She is a character of purity, trust, innocence and vulnerability in Hamlet. When she is found dead in the water, no one really knows for sure whether it was done by her own hands or by accident. However, one could imagine, bringing her back to life and restoring her essence, the only direction she can go is up.

Ascension – the act of bringing back and rising to a higher level

It would only make sense for Ophelia, the simple yet sophisticated cocktail lounge, to be located on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower, sitting atop the iconic Art Deco tower on the East River. It all accentuates the idea of her rising from the waters she has drowned in and situating herself higher than before.

Ophelia Lounge New York | Photography by Liz Clayman

The Beekman Tower was designed by John Mead Howells and built in 1928, originally known as the Panhellenic Tower, serving as a women’s only club and hotel for the National Greek-letter sororities. A few years later, it was opened to male guests as well and soon renamed to Beekman Tower to show that both genders are welcomed and accommodated.

Entering the historic building with a modest design, you definitely get taken aback when the elevator opens to a very elegantly and chicly designed cocktail lounge. The beautifully lit bar stands across from the elevator and in front of floor to ceiling windows to offer views beyond the bar for when entering and when seated at the bar. But the views do not stop here. Wrapped around the bar on both sides are filled with uniquely arranged and comfortable seating, all exposed to a generous view of the Manhattan cityscape.

Ophelia’s Ascension  | Photography by Liz Clayman

Ophelia offers an ever-evolving menu of signature cocktails, all of which have a different spin and twist on classic cocktails. The idea behind the cocktail menu is the process of deconstruction and reconstruction, breaking down to each ingredient of each cocktail and adding in new ones as replacements to reconstruct a whole new twist of a classic drink.

Just like one of their signature drinks, Ophelia’s Ascension, it was certainly unique and interesting in its presentation and taste. Jamaican pepper infused Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, makers mark, Sri Lanka palm sugar, aromatic bitters and cedar smoke. The alcohol was dry distilled and trapped in a tube with cedar smoke and fumes, and only opened when ready to be served over ice. This drink refers to the death of Ophelia from the play, Hamlet and the idea of bringing her back to life through the releasing and disappearing of the trapped fumes and smokes as the alcohol is poured over ice. It creates a beautiful imagery of how Ophelia and her pure essence evaporate but somehow merged into the drink and also filling the air of the space, ultimately “coming back to life”.

Top Of The Tower  | Photography by Liz Clayman

If you’re up and all about an old-fashioned drink that hits the spot, Ophelia’s Ascension is your drink! The strong tastes and aromas from each ingredient clearly shone through and hit you. There are many other interesting cocktails like the Pain Killa, Bullet Proof, Resurrection, and Top of the Tower. Just the names of these drinks are enough to get you interested. You’re definitely going to be up for lots of surprises.

Besides their impressive menu of cocktails and drinks, they also have a menu of snacks and bites. The wagyu beef sliders were absolutely amazing, with the juice of the beef bursting out with each bite. They also serve cheese platters with different cheeses that could end up being a perfect match for the drink you’re having. The truffle fries came in a generous portion size, definitely a snack that can be shared amongst several friends.

Stunning Views From Ophelia Lounge New York  | Photography by Liz Clayman

As a 360-degree greenhouse terrace, Ophelia offers more than just stunning views wherever you sit, whether it’s a more intimate setting or an area for more of a group and party. The cocktail lounge offers a unique vibe and interesting concept that connect everything with their special drinks, which figuratively and literally, bring them to the top and above the rest.

Cover Photo by Liz Clayman