Can you bring sexy back to a neighborhood that was never sexy to begin with?
The starry duo of Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods are betting they can with their cavernous new Midtown sports bar, T-Squared Social, which opened Wednesday and is situated on that famously throbbing hub of New York nightlife — er, East 42nd Street.
The golfer and the pop star, who are apparently tighter than Laverne and Shirley, decided to collaborate on the venture during a round of golf on a luxe private course in the Bahamas. As one does.
The 22,000-square-foot T-Squared (Tiger and Timberlake, hardy har har), which is the swanky neighbor to a boarded-up sandwich shop and a Sephora, wears a lot of hats.
And I’m not just talking Mets, Yankees, Jets and Giants caps.
First, it’s a craft cocktail bar with drinks created by a professional mixologist that are given golf-y names like the Back 9 Hot Toddy and the Pimm’s-based 7 Rings ($21 each). There’s a theatrical Smoked Old Fashioned ($21). They also serve high-end Champagne for as much as $700 a bottle. Try going to Connolly’s nearby and ordering the Krug. I dare you.
Then it’s a swell place to watch the game on your way to Grand Central after work. There are more than 30 TVs across the enormous space, including what they claim is the largest digital screen in New York, at 200 inches.
That hulking television — the best in the bar — unfortunately is behind 11 exclusive, reservable tables cordoned by a velvet rope to scare off us plebs. T-Squared, which is part of the Nexus collection of members-only sporty clubs, is hoping to snag subscribers for $250 per quarter.
Hungry? T-Squared just so happens to be a gastropub. The very tasty and messy Madison Avenue burger ($32) is topped with caramelized onions, Comté cheese and a red-wine-based bordelaise sauce. No Heinz for you! A filling pork belly appetizer ($23) has three different preparations, including with salty hoisin sauce and spicy bacon.
The chopped cheese costs $19 and is … exactly the same as a $5 bodega chopped cheese. For almost $20 the question isn’t “Where’s the beef?” it’s “Where’s the Wagyu?”
Good God, this place is an arcade, too. There are four full-swing golf simulators, a mini bowling alley by the 42nd Street entrance and dart boards on the 43rd Street side. Oh yeah, T-Squared is so huge there are doors on two blocks.
Yes, it’s got a record-breaking TV screen, elevated grub and specialty drinks.
The trouble is that atmospherically, the establishment hews closer to Woods’ personality than Timberlake’s. Translation: It doesn’t have one.
Almost an airport lounge, the bar waffles between a high-end indulgence and the domain of popped-collar office bros named Chad. While it’s split up into many separate zones, there’s only a single bar area that will inevitably be mobbed when it’s put to the test during the Ryder Cup, which starts Sept. 29.
In a neighborhood known for its beloved, if struggling, Irish pubs, this shiny new watering hole is in dire need of a more convivial vibe. And perhaps it will eventually find one.
But, unlike a relaxing 18 holes of golf, you can’t take your time in the cutthroat world of New York nightlife.
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