Explore: OMAR'S

Take a look inside a New York restaurant that has succeeded in a loud market by letting the food speak for itself.


Presented by Tom MarchantMercedes-Maybach
April 28, 2015 8:01AM (UTC)
Explore is a new travel and lifestyle series presented by Maybach, where Salon and Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant transport you to venues and destinations that open up vistas on new perspectives and experiences. Photo Credit: Jamie McDonald. Click here to explore more entries in the series.

Our world has got loud. People shout, boast, beckon, demand. Whether it’s messages being pushed at you or attention being clamored for, it seems that we live in a world where to be known or to have an impact requires a shouting contest. Make enough noise and they have to listen. Right? No. Not always right.

Fortunately there are still people, places and propositions that value discreteness and because of it achieve incredible results. I know this when I take to the wheel of the new Mercedes Maybach S600, whose design and performance speaks, not shouts, for itself. I know this as I drive past hidden bars, artistic hotels and innovative restaurants in this inimitable vehicle; all waiting patiently to be discovered, all having already achieved success for simply being. Quietly. For this is a world where understated confidence, focus on quality and a discerning taste is held in the highest measure. A world where it is known that to offer something genuinely compelling and deserving of people’s attention does not require the volume to be turned up to 11 at all times.

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Within a city that is known for its noise sits a beautiful bar, restaurant and members’ club that is the embodiment of understated wonder. A place that I often drift to then drift away in. This place is OMAR'S.

Nestled away on West 9th Street in the heart of Greenwich Village, OMAR'S was opened in Spring 2013, the brainchild of its namesake Omar Hernandez. When you marvel at how perfect the ambience is each time you visit, it should not come as a surprise that before opening OMAR'S, Hernandez was a leading light at André Balazs’ Hotels group. There he oversaw the ever challenging requirement to create the best possible ambience and spirit within the properties. Not easy and not something that can just be packaged up and pushed out. That’s why so many people get it wrong. But when you have someone who gets it, for whom it is instinctive and knows how to source that much needed magic, you get a very special place. A place that always feels right, whatever the occasion and time you set foot in there. It’s for reasons like this that OMAR'S has become such a loved institution of the discerning crowd and never needs to shout about its offering. The spirit of the place draws the taste makers, the influencers, the creatives and the curious to it like moths to a flame. And how they dance in that light when they arrive.

When Omar opened his eponymous venue he split it into two areas. One being a beautiful public bar and restaurant named La Ranita and the second being his private members’ club. Walking down west 9th street you drop down steps set under a black awning and are greeted by the entrance to La Ranita. Passing through the entrance you are presented with an elegant bar that breathes art-deco in its style. Think dark woods, chrome finishes, marble bar and mirrors running the length of the wall. Beautiful lighting washes over you as you take a seat at the bar, order from their list of beautifully crafted cocktails and sink into the atmosphere. At the end of the bar the room gives way to a sophisticated dining room that is backed by a window opening on to a small court yard where Roman inspired sculptures stare back at you. The menu offers an array of glorious Mediterranean and American classics over which you can while away the evening or simply create the perfect start to it.

Next door to La Ranita is the private members part of OMAR'S. A beautiful bar and dining area for the invite only crowd. Stunning art lines the walls of the low lit, invitingly lush and relaxing room. From the street you take a separate entrance through which its members are welcomed into its beguiling confines. It’s a space and environment that is hard to step away from. It feels like home so why should you want to leave? In that aspect it achieves what so many private members clubs aim for but fail to reach. Like everything touched by Hernandez it appears effortless, intuitive, familiar and inspiring. It has a confidence of knowing what it is, what it stands for and what sets it apart from the others. And knowing, this belief, is what brings people to it. It doesn’t need to shout. Its talents create all the noise it needs. Here’s to the quiet ones. Here’s to OMAR'S.

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