“I wanted to eat of the fruit from all of the trees in the garden of the world… and so, indeed, I went out, and I lived.” – Oscar Wilde
There are bars out there where you may find once hosted some of the literary greats of our time; rooms where smoke filled the air and conversation of art, politics, and life lingered in whispers and hung on the wine stained glasses of the minds that shaped our culture as we know it. We long for these moments that were once had by artists like Fitzgerald or Hemingway; to feel as they once felt, the promise that a new, better world could be created, not just by the physical, but by the thoughts and words they put down on to paper, none more so than the man who’s name holds fame as well as notoriety: Oscar Wilde.
While most of these bars can be found around the world, and carry their own special significance, the owners of the already popular Lillie’s decided it was time that they create a bar in which they can celebrate one of their favorite authors, as well as create a space for budding philosophers to share new ideas over the perfumes of drinks like the 50 Shades of Dorian Grey or the Wise Guys.
Before you enter the bar you will find Oscar sitting outside on a bench, enjoying the view and enticing visitors to take a seat; whether it’s beside him or on his lap depends on how you’re feeling… I suggest the lap… so would he.
Entering through the gilded doors you are visually overwhelmed by the opulence that Oscar himself would see as quite ordinary – being a trendsetter of his day. Pictures and paintings of other Irish authors hang along the silk papered walls, chandeliers of all different styles cast a dim light setting the mood for conversation and drink. Take a closer look and you will find on pillars, pipes, busts, mirrors, even the stalls of the toilets, quotes from Mr. Wilde himself leading you to explore a little more, to dig a little deeper.
After some exploring mosey on over to the bar, and don’t worry about not finding yourself a seat, as the longest bar in NYC (118.5 ft) you’re sure to find yourself a nook where you can muster up some exciting conversation under the player piano, which now appropriately houses a massive collection of whisky. Order up a few snacks to keep yourself going; my favorite by far was their Broccomole which has a little bit of a kick, and their Salt & Pepper Calamari which gives you a little taste of east Asia.
So, whether you’re a bibliophile or just looking for a new bar with a cool look, Oscar Wilde takes you on a journey whether you’re ready for it or not. So, in the spirit of Mr. Wilde, make it extravagant, make it beautiful, make it an adventure!
For more daily journeys check out my Instagram! And as always, safe travels!