Ascent Lounge is located on the fourth floor of New York City’s Time Warner Center in the space that was previously home to Stone Rose. If you ever visited Stone Rose, you most likely remember how sleek, stylish, and masculine the lounge was. Thankfully, City Nights Hospitality, the group that took over the space from previous owner Gerber Group, only made some minimal changes. It’s still a spacious, classy destination to enjoy a great cocktail and solid small plates, and it is undoubtedly one of the best date-night spots in the city.
The dim space has a few different seating options, including seats and standing room at the bar, plush chairs, couches, and banquettes, but the best seats in the house are the ones next to the huge wall of windows that overlook Columbus Circle.
Cocktails are in the $17 to $19 range, and there’s a nice mix of plays on classics, original creations, and seasonal specialties. “Neoclassic Cocktails” include a Manhattan Mule (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, ginger beer, strawberry, and lime); Fred & Ginger (Hudson Baby Bourbon, Amaro, orange bitters, and fresh ginger); and The Trifecta (The Botanist gin, fresh grapefruit juice, muddled fresh grapefruit, and basil). Signature Cocktails include the Violet Kiss (Grey Goose vodka, crème de violette, St. Germain, and white cranberry juice, below); The Ascent (gin, ginger liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, muddled fresh raspberries, and Champagne), and the $25 Va Va Voom (Stolichnaya Elit vodka, Bombay Sapphire East gin, Lillet Blanc, gold flakes).
Seasonal cocktails include Cinnamon Spiced Cider (cinnamon tea-infused Mount Gay black rum, fresh lemon juice, apple cider, and Ancho Reyes liqueur); Golden Delicious (Macallan 10, honey syrup, peach tea, apple juice); and La Poire Cider (Grey Goose La Poire, St. Germain, hard apple cider). Pitchers of margaritas and sangria are available, as is a decent selection of wines, beers, and bottle service. The cocktails were well-made and nicely balanced, and though they don’t approach the level of cerebral, chef-like creativity that goes into designing cocktails at say, Pegu Club, they were certainly a lot of fun to drink.
There’s also a surprisingly expansive food menu to complement the cocktails, with a nice selection of small plates and snacks along with panini and pizzas. If you’re with a small group, a great way to sample the kitchen’s offerings is the Ascent Platter ($70), which comes with roasted almonds, olives, cheeses, roasted baby carrots, shrimp and chorizo skewers, mango chipotle barbecue chicken skewers, honey and pineapple glazed meatballs, filet mignon skewers, and lobster tail skewers. It provides a nice cross-section of the menu, and can easily serve as dinner for two.
There’s no shortage of classy lounges to splurge on for date night, but nothing else compares to Ascent when it comes to spaciousness and views. It’s classy, swanky, not nightclub-thumping at all, and should certainly be on your radar when Saturday night rolls around.