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When you walk into Butcher & Banker in the basement of New York City’s New Yorker Hotel, it’s like being transported back into the Mad Men era. The atmosphere is sleek and sexy, filled with wall-to-wall fabric, cozy booths, and five antique, lead-crystal chandeliers.

The restaurant, located in the former Manufacturers Hanover Trust bank vault and designed by Michael Whiteman of Baum+Whiteman, best known for creating Windows on the World and the Rainbow Room, is focused on providing an upscale experience right out of Old New York.

“Butcher & Banker turns the luxury experience on its head,” Whiteman said. “Guests arrive in the brightly lit lobby of the New Yorker Hotel before descending via private elevator to an upscale environment complete with an elevator vestibule decked out with a cluster of crystal chandeliers. Even down to our playlist, we wanted to recreate that era with up-tempo jazz standards from the '30s, '40s and '50s.”

But to truly feel the sophistication and flair, snag a table in the hotel’s old bank vault, which has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind dining area.

“People who dine in the vault are avid about posting their experiences on social media, so it has become a part of the overall experience of Butcher & Banker, rather than just something to observe from afar,” Whiteman said.

And with dinner selections that include scallops and foie gras with cabernet-shallot risotto, a selection of shellfish on ice, and steaks accompanied by Johnny Walker butter, a night at Butcher & Banker is guaranteed to be a decadent trip back in time. Add an old-fashioned Manhattan off the classic, no-nonsense cocktail menu, and you may just forget what year it is.

“We've avoided concoctions with lots of ingredients and funny names and taken, if you will, a more sober approach,” Whiteman said. “We focused on reviving the classics like the gin martini, Singapore sling and the perfect Manhattan.”


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