05.01.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Where There’s Smoke…


Like any place truly worth visiting, the Carnegie Club isn’t conspicuous from the street. A small sign or two in its tall, sidewalk-facing windows is all you’ll see, and the discreet entrance — a single door leading into a dimly lit foyer — is all that separates the world outside from its interior. And what an interior it is: an exercise of all the senses, the Carnegie Club smells of leather; of earthy, smoky, chocolatey notes from cigars past; and of whiskey, wood, and books.

Saturday evenings here are spent listening to an 11-piece jazz band whose crooner covers Sinatra classics all night. Men are dressed in jackets, the ladies in dresses and finery. With smoke swirling everywhere, it is easy to imagine what nights out must have been like decades ago: dark, full of mirth, impractically dressed, intoxicating vapors in the air and in your glass.

Deep caramel wood shelves and a sweeping wooden staircase dominate the Carnegie Club, as does the curving marble-topped bar; books, lamps, and cushy leather chairs abound, and it’s not hard to understand why this is the place to be for those who wish to have real conversations — the kind that don’t involve raising one’s voice to be heard over the subwoofer. The club is one of the last places in New York City to allow indoor smoking, and for those who enjoy strong cocktails (guaranteed at Carnegie Club) and good scotch, the combination is unbeatable.

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