The latest place to see and be seen, and yet…it’s in Midtown. Near Port Authority. You truly have to cross some crowded seas to get here.
You could say it’s an oasis in Midtown.
Getting into The Polynesian is a bit of an adventure in itself. First, I truly hope you make a reservation or plan on getting their early—or both. I was invited on a group reservation, and arrived not long after the bar opened.
But the thing to know about the location is that it is in the Pod Hotel on a much higher floor. There is nothing at ground level but a line, some intimidating bouncers, someone with a clipboard and a list (of course) and the elevators.
Once you get in the elevator and upstairs, you find yourself in the hotel lobby, which is cramped, especially when everyone’s suitcases are taking up most of the room. But off to the left side upon exiting, behind a velvet curtain (of course), is host stand to The Polynesian.
The place itself is spacious. There’s a small lounge area out front with a long bar and a dining room around back. And for when the weather is good, there are a handful of tables and seats on a patio outside.
Being a upper crust tiki bar, cocktails are the thing to get here. I happened to go for an event for Laird's Applejack brandy, which taught me that brandy serves as a great rum replacement! (Normally I reserve brandy for baking and mulled wine during the holidays, but there are truly some good bottles out there that can be served neat or on the rocks, before or after dinner.)
Given the location and all of the hurdles, I’m not sure I’d make the effort to go back, unless invited for someone’s birthday or another party, which would be valid reasons. But definitely worth at least one trip for some fine cocktails.