Dylan Jones: 'Elaine’s makes you think of Woody Allen, who shot the restaurant scene in 'Manhattan' here'

Share
Related Topics

Elaine's. Just saying it makes you think of New York; of Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese and Norman Mailer, quarrelling over their early evening drinks and talking about money and girls. Makes you think of Woody Allen (who shot the opening restaurant scene in Manhattan here), makes you think of Warren Beatty, of Michael Caine and Jackie O. Makes you think of cocktails, of tortoni, spumoni, zabaglione and puntarelle, of large desserts and proper Upper East Side royalty.

For nearly 50 years, Elaine Kaufman's saloon has been one of those places that defines a certain type of Manhattan experience, a place where, according to Candace Bushnell, "You can get incredibly drunk, get out of hand, and nobody bothers you." Some say that Elaine's has always been about testosterone, that it is a "men's club" (Nora Ephron), and as Elaine herself is fairly rambunctious (12 years ago, after an altercation with a customer, she was arrested and spent part of the night in custody), this indeed may be the case. Everyone ends up in Elaine's eventually, and not just the great and the good, either. "If hookers were banned from New York restaurants, half of them would close overnight," Elaine famously once said.

I went to Elaine's last week for dinner with my friend Larry Schiller (while I knew it was uptown, I didn't realise quite how uptown – although it's officially in Yorktown, it feels as though it's in Spanish Harlem. We ate a lot of Italian food, drank a little Italian wine, and plotted and planned for the future. And halfway through our meal we were joined by Elaine herself. Suffice it to say, she was charm personified, greeting everyone who passed our table as though they were old family friends. She appeared to know about everyone's back problems, or their book deal or their divorce.

"Do you come here every night?" I asked the New York institution, perhaps a little naively.

"Of course," she said, looking at me as though I were a rube just off the tourist bus from Midtown. "Every night, usually till two. Come on, baby. What else am I gonna do? If I stayed at home I'd die."

Good point Elaine, good point.

Dylan Jones is the editor of 'GQ'

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'