The Aviary NYC is permanently closed
The Aviary NYC
The best way to describe The Aviary is to tell you that it’s on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Columbus Circle, and that there’s a $28 cocktail that involves various chemistry class contraptions and smoke, and it’s called “Science A.F.” If you’re not familiar, that’s teen-speak meaning “as f*ck,” which has now been adopted by corporate marketing departments. And that’s a good way to describe The Aviary: it’s something that was once cool, but which has been ruined by a corporate marketing department. The original Aviary is in Chicago, and it’s the wacky but cool cocktail bar run by the people behind the famed creative tasting menu restaurant Alinea - and in Chicago, we are big fans. But The Aviary here is in a hotel where it feels like a cross between The Jetsons and a fancy airport lounge. The drinks are interesting and fun in presentation - there’s one that involves a rubber band slingshot, and another that is basically a cocktail terrarium - but they don’t taste very interesting, or even that good. Also, the service is a mess - we had about six different servers, and it took about 40 minutes to get a check. When you’re paying $28 a drink, that’s not cool. It’s mostly a bar, but there is some food, which is tasty, but absurdly priced (like $20 for a single tapas-sized bite). Overall, we’d say: spend your money elsewhere.