A boutique hotel in the Lower East Side with an exclusive lounge that is in soft opening mode now, soon to be open only to guests and card carrying members. Been there, done that. But we decided it was our duty to check out Above Allen, the new lounge at the Thompson Lower East Side, to see if this was just more of the same, or if the space could distinguish itself as unique in a crowded field. The verdict? Dare we say a success? We dare. The greatest aspect of the lounge is its location 7 stories above ground, allowing its guests to seemingly hover above Allen St (get it), with breathtaking western views of Lower Manhattan and Midtown. The music was good, the scene was lively late into the evening, and the drinks, while on the expensive side, were certainly not eye gouging ($6 beer, $11 cocktails).
The hassles were relatively minor. Getting inside was a chore, because the doorman was perched in the lobby and had to lead every approved party upstairs in a crowded elevator. Tables were reserved, but loosely, in that we sat at several throughout the night when they were not occupied, and were never asked to leave. Coat check was mandatory, although there were people with coats everywhere.
But all of these things can be filed as growing pains for a new club that will soon transition into members mode. So we suggest you make an effort to head down to Allen and Houston before they pull the member lever, at least to experience the view. And stay for a drink or two while you're at it.