For years, my best-kept secret destination for cocktails was Ophelia, a bar atop the Beekman Tower on Mitchell Place. (For a litmus test of how off the beaten track the place is, ask yourself if you’ve ever heard of Mitchell Place.)
Now a contender has emerged in the Panorama Room, which provides an even more breathtaking sweep of the Manhattan skyline. The bar is situated on the roof of the Graduate Hotel on Roosevelt Island, a place whose out-of-the-wayness as a destination lay in the fact that few New Yorkers, apart from its 14,000 residents, ever go there.
Lighting, provided by neon tubing, is romantic, but the real romance lay in the million and one lights on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling picture windows.
For liquid refreshment, there is a White Negroni, concocted from gin, salers, and blanc quinquina, garnished with a grapefruit twist and an olive. The Old Man and the Sea derives its name, one supposes, from the Gray Whale gin used in it along with sherry, blanc quinquina, and smoked olive. The food menu leans toward raw bar items (oysters, a shrimp cocktail, crudo) and a handful of open-face sandwiches.
Panorama Room, 2 N. Loop Road, Roosevelt Island.