Around the corner from the Polo Ralph Lauren store between Fifth and Madison Avenues in New York, a well-dressed man (probably wearing RL), stands under a dark green awning holding a clipboard.
As people approach he looks at his list and nods his head “yes” or “no.” This isn’t the hottest new nightclub. It’s a restaurant, but if your name’s not on the list you’re not getting in.
This is the Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren’s third restaurant. His other two are RL in Chicago and Ralph’s in Paris. The dinner-only eatery is reservation only, no walk-ins, even at the bar.
Lauren reportedly opened the Polo Bar because he reputedly lamented the lack of a good Reuben sandwich in New York.
The restaurant is an extension of the RL brand. It sits within the building that houses the first-ever dedicated Ralph Lauren Polo store; you can buy some of the tableware; the coffee is brewed especially for Ralph Lauren; and the wait staff even wears Ralph Lauren.
Lauren says the restaurant is inspired by his love of gathering around the table with family and friends, and his love of New York’s food emporiums. His first date with his wife, Ricky, reportedly was at the New York steakhouse, Keens.
“I don’t want to be the hot restaurant,” says Lauren, who dines at his place regularly. “I want to be the restaurant you want to go to twice a week.”
Lauren wants The Polo Bar to serve the kind of food everyone wants to eat. There are no tasting menus or foams.
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