Bartender, I’ll Have A Big Pony — And Make It A Double


Ralph Lauren recently launched a mobile coffee truck in Manhattan, and today the New York Times broke the news on his new restaurant, The Polo Bar.

Scheduled to open later this month, it’s located just around the corner from the new Polo flagship on 5th Avenue. Quotes the article:

Simon Doonan, an author and the creative ambassador at large for Barneys New York, said Mr. Lauren’s retro approach to gastronomy may speak to those who have grown weary of lectures about the provenance of each roll in a breadbasket. “I think a lot of food today is unnecessarily creative,” he said. “Every time you go out to eat, it’s like a Jacques Tati movie or a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch.” Mr. Lauren, in contrast, offers “a meal you might get if you walked into an episode of ‘Mad Men.’ ”

OK, “Mad Men” cuisine, but what about the dress code? The article concludes:

Mr. Lauren stressed that the Polo Bar would not be “a formal restaurant,” but what will he make of those customers who are sure to show up at the front door outfitted for a theme-park flume ride in Orlando instead of a fox hunt in the Scottish highlands? “We just had a conversation about it,” he said. “Would you turn them away if someone comes in in a T-shirt?”

He admitted that he’s no stranger to the maître d’ brushoff. “I’ve been one of those guys,” Mr. Lauren said. He recalled dropping by a fancy establishment, years back, when he had already become a force in global fashion. “I had shorts on, and they turned me away,” he said. He accepted that fate with equanimity.

As for the Polo Bar, sartorial regulations could wind up being flexible. Mr. Lauren broke into a subtle grin and said, “I guess if I don’t do any business, I’ll take anyone.”

Brooks Brothers is supposed to be planning a restaurant next to its own flagship, suggesting the comparisons between Polo and Brooks will extend to more than just cut and cloth. — CC

30 Comments on "Bartender, I’ll Have A Big Pony — And Make It A Double"

  1. I don’t get the “Coffee truck” concept. Besides, his coffee at Ralph’s was terrible.

  2. From the menu:

    “The Polo Bar’s Signature Burger features a 1/3 lb. Kobe beef patty prepared in a port wine reduction, and comes on a whole-weat bun that has the famous Polo logo emblazoned on the top. Served with Polo sauce, organic lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, free-range Maui onion, and ethically-sourced pickles. $119. Add a slice of Cantankerous Farms™ artisanal six-year-old aged extra-sharp organic Vermont Cheddar, $10.”

  3. @ Henry – That must be off the purple label menu 😉

  4. I won’t lie, this looks pretty cool…dammit Ralph.

  5. Perhaps, but what is a “free-range Maui onion”? One that grazes meadows growing out of rich volcanic soil instead of being corn-fed and penned up?

  6. We went to the Chicago restaurant for lunch 3 times; each time the dining room was full, so we ate in the bar section. It was fun, the restaurant was beautiful, the coffee was excellent and the servers in white shirts & bow ties were attentive. We are looking forward to trying the NYC restaurant next time we visit.

  7. I went to his Paris restaurant when I was in town for Roland Garros last year and I have to say that the veggie burger made me want to pay him another visit next time I get the chance.

  8. I didn’t realize it at first, but the olive/cherry skewer is in fact a miniature polo mallet. What a fun lil’ detail.

  9. Chefs and restaurants have taken an inappropriately prominent place in our present lives. The less we hear about them, the better.

  10. A.E.W. Mason | December 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm |

    The link in this post is to a slide show by the NY Times. Among the slides is a picture of Mr. Lauren in a three-piece suit. Maybe it is the way he’s standing, but it looks very ill-fitting. The shoulders on the jacket appear to protrude about 2 inches beyond his actual shoulders. In fact, the whole effect, including the pocket watch, has a bit of the costume about it. He usually gets away with it, but, for me, not this time. It looks forced.

    The restaurant looks lovely, even if a bit contrived.

  11. Good to see that he still chooses to wear “forward” pleated pants.

  12. I think he’s a tad on the diminutive side, right? I have colleagues who stand well under 5’9″ like a bit more shoulder.

  13. Tom, TOTALLY agree. Food is (quite literally) in-and-out. Keep it simple. I say as I take another bite of barely salted oatmeal.

  14. I have eaten at Ralph’s Chicago restaurant years ago and it was good. Not sure how I feel about another big corporate restaurant in the world, but Ralph usually does a good job with his business lines.

    As to his suit and shoulders, he puts huge pads in his suits to broaden his shoulders. I have read where he stated that his head is too large for his shoulders so he tries to broaden his look. Whoever said that his suit looked like a costume, that is not far from the truth. Ralph is often quoted saying that he sees his life as a movie set and tries to picture what he should be wearing and what should be on the set. Here is one example.

    Still, I cannot hate on Ralph. At least he is honest and seems to appreciate his good fortune. From the article: “People ask, ‘How can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes?’ ” he once famously said. “Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams.”

  15. Ralph Lauren is a 37 short, and he sells clothes in his size. This is great for me, because that’s my size, too.

  16. “People ask, ‘How can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes?’ ” he once famously said. “Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams.”
    —Ralph Lifshitz (a.k.a. Ralph Lauren)

    Now is the time for the inane purists to start ranting about how inauthentic Ralph is, how he didn’t go to prep school, how he wasn’t born into it so can’t be a preppy, etc.

    C’mon, guys! You’ve bored us before with your asinine attacks on Christian (who has never pretended to be anything other than what he is); why not take on the biggest “pretender” of all?

  17. Henry
    Whenever I hear about the WASP New England Old Money origins of Ivy Style I imagine prep school boys slaving over a cutting tables working away with scissors and measuring tapes hanging from their necks. 😉

  18. Vern Trotter | December 13, 2014 at 1:11 am |

    Ralph worked at Brooks for a while in the early 60s when everyone that worked there was better dressed that the vast majority of prep schoolers, Ivy league students, Wall Street brokers and lawyers and Madison Avenue types. They, twice a year, would have a “taken out of stock” (TOS) sale where “seconds” were sold to employees for almost nothing, maybe 10% of wholesale, as I recall. Shoes, luggage, anything the firm sold. Easy to build up a nice wardrobe.

    One could learn a lot about our way of dress and style, especially if you were planning on staying in the retail business with a Brooks type slant. No need to go to prep school!

  19. For a good while Chipp used Linett and Norman Hilton for their stock (off the rack) clothing. I have wondered if a young Ralph Lauren’s first encounter with Norman Hilton’s natural shouldered, unpadded jacket was Chipp, situated not too far from the Brethren’s 345 Mad. Ave. flagship.

  20. Vern Trotter
    When I sold clothing in college it was cost less 10%. How else do college kids working in dress better than the customers? We bought items out of stock at anytime.

  21. S.E.
    I thought Linett made RL’s original suits or am I confusing them with someone else?

  22. The early 1970s Polo suits were made by Canham in Lawrence Massachusetts and they were very nice, though hard to find. Bloomingdales & Paul Stuart had them along with some May Dept Stores, including Kaufmann’s in Pittsburgh which had a Polo Store, Wilkes Bashford & Jerry Magnim’s Po Store in Beverly Hills.

  23. I meant Lanham in Lawrence Mass, where there also was a small factory overruns store too.

  24. Jerry Magnim’s Polo Store in Beverly Hills.

  25. JWK
    Thanks, I knew it was an “L” name. 😉

    FYI, early 1970s Polo suits were available a Woodys in Topeka, and Manhattan Ks. also Columbia, Mo.

  26. Jerry Magnin, not ‘Magnim.’ His store in Beverly Hills was the first stand-alone Polo store.

  27. That seems to be the same Jerry Magnin who is the great-grandson of the founder of the late, lamented I. Magnin upscale department store chain. (As an aside, I have two jackets from I. Magnin: one is Mongolian cashmere, and the other is Polo University by Ralph Lauren, a green corduroy number that never fails to get rave reviews. I miss Ralph’s University Club line.)

  28. This is great, WASP101 now has a place of his “Power Lunches”!

  29. Wally "Biff" Scott | December 15, 2014 at 10:17 am |

    Henry, the “biggest pretender” of all was taken on a few weeks back.

  30. Charlottesville | December 15, 2014 at 11:23 am |

    I bought a RL Polo suit in gray flannel at Ed Michtom’s in Charlottesville, Virginia ( ) sometime in the late 70’s or perhaps early 80s. More English than Ivy, but it was well made and conservatively styled for the era (recall that this was the tail end of disco when bell bottoms, platform shoes, leisure suits, polyester shirts and similar monstrosities had only recently been evicted from the scene). It was expensive for me at the time, but I always felt properly dressed.

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