For years, New York waited for the reopening of the Oak Room and the Oak Bar, storied oases of cosmopolitan style and history. In 2008, after a lengthy renovation, the public was finally allowed to enjoy these beautiful rooms within the Plaza Hotel again. And now, due to incompetence and bad taste on a huge scale on the part of the owners of the Plaza and the Oak Room and Bar, the joint may close again by July.
Eli Gindi, the owner of the Oak Room and Bar, and a real estate developer best known for owning Century 21 (classy!) has mishandled the place from the start. The restaurant was poorly reviewed. The bar offered bad service and poorly made, expensive cocktails. And the tone was all wrong. The atmosphere felt tacky, nouveau riche, touristy. Gindi started losing money, so he resorted to bottom of the barrel tactics. There was once a drink named after Mel Gibson. (Now there's a touch of elegance!) There were tableside burlesque shows. And then Gindi struck gold with "Black and White" Saturday afternoon parties, in which young yahoos with money to burn bought bottles of Cristal and whooped it up. No Truman Capote ball, these. But they brought in a lot of money. However, the Plaza management didn't like it. It was bad for the hotel's image, said the pot to the kettle. A hotel that lets in people like Charlie Sheen and his sundry porn stars and prostitutes. Lease negotiations broke down, and the Plaza sued the Oak Room operators for millions. Now the Oak Room will likely close on July 31.
Why does the Plaza attract the attentions of classless schmucks? Remember: Trump used to own it.