Fine & Rare is a perfect name for Tommy Tardie’s live Jazz restaurant and bar. He followed up his wildly successful cocktail institution––the Flatiron Room––with Fine & Rare in 2017, bringing back the type of nightlife New York City was famed for in decades past.
It is, indeed, a fine and rarefied place in the city for both a drink and a show. It’s the type of joint you wear your best suit out to on a Tuesday. It’s built for a glittering pair of heels, and, perhaps, a fascinator. Plus, they’ve served both Scorpion fish and ostrich eggs at their over-the-top lunch. Yes … you read that right.
We sat down with Tardie to discuss his venture––from the 100-year-old floors to the impeccable Jazz … to what’s next for this nightlife legend.
We love that you have brought back old-school, New York-specific dining and entertainment in a whole new way. Can you tell us a little about your overall mission?
We have created a theatrical dining experience at Fine & Rare, where our guests are transported to the timeless sophistication of “old New York.” That experience is carried through in every detail – from the fine food and rare spirits we offer, to the decor and unique decorative items we carefully curated for the space, to the backdrop of live Jazz. Of course, our team – from the kitchen to the dining room – complete the experience with unparalleled service and attention to detail that makes every visit a truly unique journey.
What happened to those old Jazz lounges and intimate dinner-and-a-show type venues and when would you say they really began to disappear in the city?
There are some still around, but they don’t have all of the elements that Fine & Rare has that make the diners’ experiences feel intimate and unique. I think now more than ever diners & imbibers are looking for authentic experiences that fulfill a sense of nostalgia. At Fine & Rare, we fulfill that by providing art, music and spirits that nod to a golden time.
If we come into Fine & Rare, what’s one thing we will be surprised by?
The overall feeling that overcomes you when you walk through the entrance. The space professes old-world charm, with an eclectic nature and interesting artifacts found everywhere you turn and from all different time periods. There are 100-year-old floorboards from a Connecticut mill line; a vintage schoolhouse façade hosts a roaring fireplace, one of Manhattan’s largest. Rescued teller windows from Grand Central Station dot the surroundings, accompanied by custom artwork pieces designed specifically for the space. In an inventive twist, the restaurant itself becomes the bar as hundreds of bottles line the walls where staff climb the ladders to grab them off the shelves.
Tell us the appeals of stopping in for lunch or brunch?
We recently launched our lunch and we wanted to kick it off with something over the top and delicious, similar to what we did for the launch of our Jazz brunch. For Jazz brunch, we offered a giant ostrich egg breakfast dish. At Fine & Rare, we like to create a theatrical experience for our guests where they have the opportunity to learn about exciting and rare spirits and foods. For lunch, Chef Philip did a twist on the classic fish and chips with the hard to find Scorpion Fish alongside Scorpion Chili Dusted Fries. The Scorpion fish is called so because it of its venomous spines. When caught live, they are often thrown back to avoid coming in to contact with their spines as the venom within them is toxic enough to kill a human if medical treatment is not sought. When dead, the spines can be carefully removed with kitchen shears. The flesh cooks white, is firm, and has a mild and somewhat unique flavor to lobster meat.
How can people get in touch to reserve a table?
People can make a reservation on our website at www.fineandrare.nyc to make a reservation.
What’s coming in 2019 we should be aware of?
Aside from lunch that we are very excited about, we will continue to even further elevate our food and beverage program. The summer will bring a new list of cocktails created by our bar manager, Amanda Swanson, that will provide guests with a mental escape from the heat on the Manhattan streets.