RUNNING WITH THE BULLS
In the late 1800s, the New York Stock Exchange was the place where astute businessmen and burgeoning industrialists staked and won their fortunes. At The Waldorf Astoria Bar, New York’s giants of real estate and finance hammered out deals while drinking elbow to elbow with Diamond Jim Brady, Buffalo Bill Cody, Bat Masterson, and other colorful characters. Behind the bar, in honor of this patronage, the hotel placed two magnificent bronze statues–a bull and a bear.
A NEW LOCATION
When The Waldorf Astoria opened in 1931 from its original location where the Empire State building stands now to its new location on park Avenue, it united two beloved watering holes – the clubby Men’s Bar and the convivial Old Waldorf Astoria Bar – into a new, and equally welcoming Men’s Bar. Manhattan’s financial and Wall Street elite immediately embraced their new gathering spot. The new Men’s Bar featured magnificent bronze statues of a bull and a bear, brought from the original Old Waldorf Astoria Bar. These powerful figures, which represented the significance of the Men’s Bar in the financial life the city, caused patrons to nickname it “The Bull and Bear.” Over time, so many deals were struck “at the Bull and Bear” where the gilded pair now stood sentinel that regular patrons adopted the moniker as the bar’s unofficial title.
The year is 1960, and The Waldorf Astoria has just opened the clubby Bull and Bear steakhouse. Behind the bar, patrons see two imposing bronze sculptures; a bull and a bear. The hotel decided to give these two figurines a prominent place behind the restaurant’s bar in homage to their original location. To the casual onlooker, it might appear they were recently placed; decorative elements mirroring the new restaurant’s name. But long-time patrons know the figurines–and their namesake restaurant–carries an historic pedigree. Like its older siblings, Bull and Bear quickly became again a favorite meeting place for Manhattan’s power elite.
NEW INTERIOR DESIGN
In 2000, the Waldorf Astoria’s design team updated the décor of Bull and Bear to enhance its level of comfort without sacrificing its clubby, old-school ambience. Bull and Bear now sports an air of casual sophistication that will appeal to regular patrons and newcomers alike. The restaurant has been elegantly restyled in Italian fabrics and leathers; the private dining salon, the wine Library, has been refashioned with a warm decor perfectly suited to wine-centric events. Today, the bronze bull and bear remain masters of their domains in a newly energized setting, surveying the scene as the staff at Bull and Bear serve New York’s most generous cocktails, its prime steak, and some of the city’s most delectable game and seafood.