The best way to take in the infectiously indulgent Brasserie Beaumarchais is to start early and don’t plan on getting too comfortable. Set in a gorgeous, whitewashed space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district, the energy evokes a royalty-soaked cocktail party, two sips shy of exploding into a private dining hall in Versailles. At this unique brasserie, banquette tables are made for dancing and the Champagne magnums are made for drinking and dousing.
Named after Marie-Antoinette’s favorite Parisian playwright, Pierre-Augustin, Beaumarchais is famous for its Grand Brunch—an all-day affair beginning at 11:30 am and ending around the same time in the evening. “We start very civilized, and everyone enjoys beautiful French food and Champagne. Later, the DJ starts cranking up the music and we close the curtains,” says Jean-Baptiste Parvaix, Beaumarchais’ manager. “By 2 pm, it’s a big party.”
The brunch boasts delicacies such as homemade foie gras plumped with a Calvados and apple cider filling and a savory Croque Madame lavished with truffled béchamel. At dinnertime, the catch of the day might be a baroque turbot served by a fetching waiter who’ll charm the table with an amusing de-boning performance.
But at Beaumarchais, it’s really all about the drinks. A standout from the well-priced cocktail list is La Vie Est Belle, an elixir of honey and coconut-infused vodka perfumed with chocolate bitters, served on the rocks. Beaumarchais’ high-rolling set favors rosé no matter the season and doesn’t shy away from the fanfare associated with Champagne magnums. Pyrotechnic pomp is the house custom, with a caped waiter hoisted to the table waving sparklers to the tune of a bass-pumped version of the Superman theme. And, with a magnum list that begins with a $300 NV Moët et Chandon Brut Imperial all the way to a Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2004 for $1850, everyone can live the decadent dream of the demimonde, at least for one Champagne-soaked afternoon or night.