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Few New York real estate projects have caused as much buzz as the renovations of the Campbell Apartment, the historic cocktail New York bar located inside Grand Central Terminal. The New York bar is named for John W. Campbell, an early-20th-century financier who used the space as an office. Hidden in Grand Central’s, it stood as one of midtown Manhattan’s last bastions of civility and golden–era “Old New York”—a place where men couldn’t wear shorts and you could still get a properly shaken martini before catching the Metro-North.
Last year, the longtime operator of the Campbell Apartment lost the lease after it expired in a dispute with the landlord. And when Gerber Group finally prevailed in a bidding war for the new lease, many people’s feathers were quite ruffled, to say the least. Gerber Group is known for buzz-worthy lounges, many of which are located in hotels, such as the rooftop New York bar at the Viceroy on 57th Street, or Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel on Lexington Avenue.
Fortunately, the newly completed renovations are a hit. Working in conjunction with Ingrao, Inc.—an AD 100 interiors architecture design studio behind such other projects as Baccarat Hotel and Residences and Hudson Yards in New York—Gerber Group has successfully cleaned the Campbell Apartment, in a way that will appeal to its die-hard fans and newcomers alike.
Since the lounge area is historically landmarked, Gerber Group and Ingrao were constrained in just how much they were able to do, and all changes they had to have in mind. This limited the renovation to updating existing features of the restaurant dining area and lounge room and adding seamless elements that optimize guest experience while staying true to the character of the space.
A new custom lighting system, for instance, better highlights the hand-painted ceiling; the oversize fireplace remains intact, and a new air-conditioning system keeps guests comfortable and climate-controlled more than ever before. The leaded stained glass window and all original millwork remain intact. Luxurious new mohair and leather barstools and banquettes add warmth and texture to the space.
From the beginning, their wish was to have a lounge room that could be a “total knockout New York bar”, using a green quartzite that could match all the restaurant color schemes chosen – forest green, sapphire blue, tan leather…
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