NYC
Posted September 11, 2022

On this very cloudy Sunday, we originally were planning to go to a “rooftop” outdoor film viewing on top of a hotel. Unfortunately, it got cloudy fast, and it rained throughout most of the day. The hosts cancelled the event, but we still desired to meet up with some friends. We ended up at Refinery Rooftop, which is just around the corner from the cancelled event. Fortunately, they were able to accept walk-ins around 4:30 PM.

Ambiance

The Refinery Hotel is fairly close to Bryant Park, and the lobby presents a dark ambiance with a lot of mystique around it. It’s definitely modern with some dark tones to it. The bar restaurant is on the top floor, and it can only be boarded via the lobby. Once you exit the restaurant, you will notice that the bar of the Refinery Rooftop bar actually has 3 distinct areas. When you talk to the host at the front, you’re in an area that has a lot of exposed bricks with some picnic like tables. There was a small water fountain nearby which gave it the water flowing ambient sounds. But the real nice part of this area is behind the host where there’s a window ceiling where it allows plenty of light to pierce through. In the day time, it provides a lot of nice natural light, and the actual bar is lit up nicely. Behind this area is an outdoor area which we did not venture to.

Depending where you sit, it’s possible that the noise level can vary from decent to somewhat loud. We sat in front of the elevator at a wooden picnic table, and the sounds got louder as the crowds start rolling in.

Despite the noise, it was very easy to flag the wait staff to help with ordering. I just waived my hand, and the wait staff immediately came by on their next rounds.

Food

The Bananarama ($18) came with Bacardi silver rum, banana liqueur, Chinola passion fruit liqueur, and lime. This cocktail was underwhelming for me as I was expecting the banana to be more pronounced. I actually tasted more of the sweetness of the passion fruit and the rum. I wished there was more banana flavors in it.

The Matcha Madness ($18) came with Grey Goose vodka, rumchata, fresh matcha, and oat milk. This did not taste great as some of these ingredients sounded good on paper but clashed with each other.

The Hummus ($16) came with olive oil, aleppo, cucumbers, and grilled naan. This came out rather on the watery side and seemed a little bland to me flavor wise.

The Margherita Flatbread ($16) came with pomodoro, fresh mozzarella, and parm. This pretty much tasted like it seems visually. The flatbread tasted decently, but the toppings were rather sparse.

The Butcher’s Meatballs ($19) came with BBQ sauce, bourbon, and crème fraîche. The BBQ sauce tasted decent with the typical after tastes. The meatballs were very condensed with a bouncy texture to it. It reminded me a bit of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs in some ways.

The Yucca Fries ($10) came with chipotle aioli. This was surprisingly very fluffy with balanced seasoning with it. The chipotle aioli did not add much for me personally. It did not have much flavor. I think the chipotle only gave it subtle heat and not much flavors.

The Blistered Shishito Peppers ($12) came with tajin seasoning and lime. This was surprisingly one of the more tasty shared dishes for our evening despite it being fairly straight forward. The lime gave it nice acidity, and the peppers were cooked nicely.

Final Verdict

As expected, the Refinery Rooftop bar has a pretty good ambiance, but the food itself is straight forward and decent. I probably would not visit here solely for the food and drinks.

Yelp Jabs

Racism is rampant at this business. I’d highly recommend going elsewhere if you are a person of color and don’t want differential treatment because of it.

These are pretty bold accusations, but as a person of color, I did not feel there was any differential treatment. What was amusing about this Yelper, was that the manager called her out on her Yelp criticism. I don’t know which side is right, but it seems it could have been better to take this offline with the manager directly.

Went for brunch and it was beyond average. Ordered the Eggs Benedict and it was swimming in salad dressing which seeped into the hollandaise sauce, which essentially turned the English muffin back into dough. Gross! Two of us ordered that item and didn’t eat it.

This Elitist might want to re-read their draft, as they were criticizing their Eggs Benedict that they were “beyond average”. Beyond average moves the needle towards “good”.

Revisions

  1. Sep 11, 2022 - Initial revision.