The Benson Hotel Image

Rich mahogany. Okay, it isn't mahogany that makes the stately lobby and bar of the Benson Hotel look so fancy—it's actually the even fancier Circassian walnut, brought over from Russia—but rich Circassian walnut doesn't quite have the same ring. Still, if you're looking to feel high class for once, being surrounded by beautifully carved Circassian walnut and glittering Austrian crystal chandeliers does the goddamn trick. The Benson looks fancy enough on the outside that it keeps most people away, but even 99 percenters can settle in at one of the relatively private tables, order something on the rocks, and eavesdrop on people whose lives, unlike ours, haven't turned out to be massive disappointments. And once we're done feeling fancy, Mary's Club is practically next door, where there's a whole different type of wood. ERIK HENRIKSEN

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