UPDATE: It was reported today (May 6) by several New York newspapers that the Oak Bar and Oak Room will close at the end of July under their current management. No further details were yet known. Earlier story follows.
NEW YORK — Many of us who enjoy the iconic pleasures of the Big Apple may be saddened to hear that the famous Oak Room and Oak Bar at the Plaza Hotel isn’t what it was supposed to be when it reopened in 2008.
The old-fashioned elegance that permeated the mural-covered bar area and the wood-paneled great dining room was supposed to have been rekindled by the Gindi brothers, who leased the space from the hotel, located on Central Park South in Manhattan.
But, the hotel says the Gindis have ushered in not a resurrection of the fabled sophistication, but, allegedly have let the Oak Bar — founded in 1907 — spiral into a sleazy den for drugs, loud music, vulgar conduct, tabletop dancing and burlesque acts.
In addition, the Oak Room recently earned a grade of “C” — the lowest possible — from the city’s Department of Health. Among the violations: “Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room” and “Hot food item that has been cooked and refrigerated is being held for service without first being reheated to 165º F or above within 2 hours.”
In response to the hotel’s $33.3 million lawsuit, the Gindi brothers’ lawyer, Robert Lynn, says there has never been any illegal drug use, and that The Plaza has been trying to kick them out for months. “Probably the owners of The Plaza would do better regulating who goes into their hotel rooms,” Lynn said. “They really are reaching to find a breach of the lease.”
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