Raising the Bar
The new Elephant Bar at Schlesinger’s Steak House gears up for summer fun
Meet the herd here: Pachyderms prevail in the Elephant Bar. On summer evenings, the room will open onto two spacious outdoor patios
As if big, succulent steaks — and the freedom to indulge in a fine cigar if you wish — weren’t enough. Nope. The owners of Schlesinger’s Steak House in New Windsor had to make the place an even more attractive Orange County dining and nightlife stop with the addition of the aptly named Elephant Bar.
If for some reason you hadn’t heard, Schlesinger’s is a wildly popular classic steakhouse and cigar bar. Yes, you read that right. Because there has long been a cigar shop on the premises, the bar remains one of a handful of establishments in New York State where you can smoke indoors — cigars or cigarettes — to your heart’s content. More than 100 brands of cigars are sold here, and if smoking in a pub takes you back to the good old days, the funky retro furniture in this upscale joint makes it even more of a classic experience. And no worries for the rest of you: The restaurant dining rooms — packed with charm in this historic 1762 house — are all smoke-free. Here, you can indulge in hand-cut meat, aged for at least 36 days right on the premises. While the Schlesinger Steak, a well-marbled 20-ounce ribeye, remains the most popular menu item year after year, there is also a nice selection of seafood, chicken, burgers, and other entrées. (Regulars swear you should add the sautéed onions, peppers, and mushrooms to just about everything you order.)
But back to the Elephant Bar. The new, nonsmoking area — decorated with lots of elephant paraphernalia, including a long, antique bar that sports two brass rails punctuated with (what else) elephant heads — is located right behind the steakhouse. Although it will be open year-round, the action really happens in the summer. Then, the bar, which has one whole wall of glass, opens out onto two large patios, and the legendary “beach” at Schlesinger’s gets going. No, there’s no water or sand, but there is a tiki bar, tropical drinks galore, hip cover bands, and lots more fun to be had. Although at press time the summer schedule had yet to be finalized, look for a $14.95 all-you-can-eat barbecue on Mondays and Tuesdays, acoustic entertainment on Wednesdays, and bands and deejays every Thursday through Saturday. So, while all those packed chain restaurants on Route 300 in Newburgh certainly serve their purpose, drive just a tad further and you can savor a much more unique experience.