“Offices, offices, offices,” said Matt Strauss, the managing partner of PHD Terrace in Midtown. “Tourists, tourists, tourists.” He was waving toward the kaleidoscopic lights and humanity glob of nearby Times Square, visible from the two-floor lounge that opened in early October atop the Dream Midtown hotel. “But we’re infusing it with our brand of downtown cool,” he said.
“Brand” is the right word. The Tao Group’s mastery of the models-and-bottles equation has built powerhouse night-life franchises like Tao, Lavo and Marquee; this is the second PHD (the original is above the Dream Downtown in Chelsea). In a neighborhood with dreary drinking options, even a cut-and-paste hot spot for happy hour is a useful addition.
PHD is on the 15th and 16th floors of the Dream Hotel, on an unremarkable Midtown block with an Amalgamated Bank and Starbucks. The rooftop is enclosed during the winter, but plants are abundant, vines snake along the wall behind the bar and benches have plaid picnic-style pillows. Downstairs is a clubby rectangle, all dark hues and reflective metal and glass; it’s like being inside a humming kitchen appliance.
Catering to an older after-work contingency means an earlier party. On a recent weeknight, the herd thinned by midnight, though fedoras, leather jackets, man buns and black bodycon dresses remained at tables stocked by promoters. “There’s a lot of young professional guys and girls,” a 35-year old man in a gray suit said. “You can’t tell me there’s not a market in Midtown.” He came with co-workers from the financial technology sector, but he was the last one remaining. “I’m a degenerate, so I’m still here,” he said.
Tunes wafting across the rooftop were mellow and ’80s-centric. Downstairs, the D.J. played Drake songs, Future songs and songs featuring both Drake and Future.
A doorman in the lobby guards the elevator and functions more as a traffic cop than a velvet rope. Table reservations are available.
Amstel Light is $8. Cocktails like the Hot to Trot (tequila, cucumber, agave, jalapeño) are $16. Food is served until late; buttermilk fried chicken waffle tacos ($12) sound like food blog schizophasia.