When PHD at the Dream Downtown hotel opened in the summer of 2011, the Chelsea rooftop lounge was an instant hit with the bottle service crowd. The New York Times described it as “Xanadu” “for those who have spent years absorbing life lessons from ‘Entourage.'”
Now, its backers are taking their dream uptown. On Thursday, they’ll open a sister location, PHD Terrace at the Dream Midtown.
When asked to describe where the new venue fits in the Manhattan nightlife landscape, managing partner Matthew Strauss doesn’t hold back.
“We want to make this the coolest person in New York’s private penthouse party — that you got invited to,” he says.
In practice though, PHD Terrace aims to create a more casual atmosphere, catering to the Midtown after-work office culture as well as tourists. It is located just outside of Times Square’s primary orbit — far enough away to not repel native New Yorkers, but close enough to offer enviable views of the Midtown skyline.
Josh Held, who designed the multilevel space, stuck to a palette of gold, green and wood tones. The lower indoor level is steeped in golden accents, which include a pyramid-tile bar, glitzy metallic tables and ornate chandeliers. The miniature glass chandeliers lining the bathroom hallways are a nod to the downtown location’s signature design motif.
Meanwhile, the rooftop channels a casual outdoor patio aesthetic through distressed wood banquets, tables with wicker elements, throw pillows and cushions in a natural color scheme. The space is dotted with pots of hydrangeas and the perimeters are drenched in ivy. Strauss was asked to explain the reasons for the abundant use of foliage.
“We’re using a lot of ivy to add that personal penthouse feel,” he says. “Like, ‘This is my garden, come up and enjoy a cocktail at my place.'” Ah, that explains it.
Unlike most personal rooftops, though, this one also boasts a DJ booth and full-service bar. Two of PHD’s most popular cocktails have been brought uptown: the Hot to Trot (tequila, cucumber and jalapeno) and the Wet Dream (cherry vodka, cranberry, pineapple juice and St. Germain). The lounge also features a full kitchen, and will offer a menu of light fare such as Carbonara clams, dry-aged beef sliders and fig and gorgonzola flatbread.
While the warm weather months are cooling down just as PHD Terrace is ready to open, the lounge hopes to benefit from remaining fully accessible year-round, and a significant rooftop expansion is already slated to open late next spring.
“We are a year-round property,” Strauss says, noting that the space has already been booked for a handful of parties tied to the New York Film Festival, including a couple of Cinema Society events in the coming week.
“We want to make everyone in New York feel like this is the spot they want to come to,” he says optimistically. With no other rooftop lounges in its line of sight, he may just be onto something.
PHD Terrace at the Dream Midtown
210 West 55th Street
Open 4 p.m. until late