Where to watch the NFL games this season? Murray Hill's Highland Park is going all out to attract female football fans.
Starting Monday, September 12, Murray Hill's new gastropub kicks off
"Casa La Femme", a special night aimed at "mature, smart women" who
also happen to love football, says managing partner Christopher
Collins. "It's a place they can go to have a drink and enjoy the game
without getting puked on."
Indeed, Highland Park is not your average, sweaty, beer-stained man-cave/sports bar. With its tufted leather couches, rustic high-tops and chic exposed-brick walls, the 2200-square-foot locale looks far different than when it housed the beloved but decidedly less fancy Bar 12, which shuttered last month.
So what's the game plan? First, fantastic food. With Pop UP chef Nadia Day as a partner, the upscale watering hole hopes to capture female customers' hearts by appealing to their tastebuds while not forgetting their waistlines. The menu features several interesting salads that venture beyond many pubs' lone iceberg-tomato-and-onion option. And should vegetarians opt to forgo the greens for hardier fare, there's several naughty-but-nice choices under Snacks, like the 5 Cheese Truffle Baked Maracroni and a grown-up Grilled PB & J made with elderflower-infused jam on brioche.
Collins, however, swears by the burger: angus with gruyere and whiskey caramelized onions. Add cheese if you must, but he says this one's good enough to go it alone. "Right now there's no better burger in Murray Hill," says Collins, who also has a stake in Katra on the Bowery. "If you don't like the burger, I'll give you every penny back!"
Along with the extensive list of drafts and whiskeys, ladies can sip an array of distinguished cocktails, such as the popular Highland 34, made with Bulldog Gin, St. Germane, fresh lime juice, muddled with cucumber and topped with champagne.
An Irishman who comes to New York by way of Chicago, Collins' last bar was Cagney's, the Windy City's official New Orleans Saints game-watching headquarters, as sanctioned by the team's fan club. But Collins says that shouldn't stop New Yorkers from coming by to watch their teams on one of Highland Park's 24 TVs.
"My heart is with the Jets," says Collins, whose second favorite is the Bears, since the first American football game he watched was Chicago's 1985 Superbowl XX win. "But Highland Park is so big and has so many screens, we'll be playing all of the games. There's plenty of room for everyone."
Highland Park is taking reservations for this weekend's college and pro games, as well as Monday Night Football.