This New York Rooftop Bar, Inspired by Design Legend Elsie de Wolfe, Packs in Prohibition-Era Flair

The interiors of the Elsie Rooftop, perched atop an office tower near Times Square, draws inspiration from legendary 20th century socialite and interior designer, Elsie de Wolfe.

Elise Rooftop New York Design
Courtesy Elsie Rooftop

The late, great 20th century socialite and pioneering interior decorator, Elsie de Wolfe is said to have once quipped, “Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.” A new rooftop lounge in Manhattan, with de Wolfe as both muse and patron saint, aims to achieve all three.

Aptly called the Elsie Rooftop, the combined bar, restaurant, and terrace is perched on the 25th floor of a nondescript corporate office building in Times Square. Belgian designer Delphine Mauroit, an alum of esteemed hospitality firms such as Rockwell Group and Yabu Pushelberg, drew from de Wolfe’s storied life and tastes for the venue’s gilded, Jazz-age inflected interiors.

De Wolfe poo-pooed the heavy Victorian style popular during her childhood and instead favored a fresh, bright palette, replete with florals, mirrored surfaces, and whimsical 18th century French furnishings. “Elsie’s style had always been ‘light, air, and comfort,'” said Mauroit, “and it is in that spirit that we created Elsie: a space that beams across the New York skyline and, for a moment, let’s you live the life of the rich and famous in the Roaring Twenties.”

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Mauroit, who has perfected the speakeasy style across the globe, exercised a glamorous yet restrained touch at Elsie Rooftop. From a hallway of burnished mirrors, guests enter the primary, high-ceilinged lounge space. A dramatic helical light fixture hangs above the well-stocked marble bar area. This sense of openness is modulated by intimate clusters of seating, upholstered in blue and blush velvet with vignettes of tubular brass—materials that make appearances throughout.

The design team also drew from de Wolfe’s personal villa at Versailles where she lived until her death in 1950, with details such as parquet flooring and a penthouse-like scale. “Our concept was to create a villa on the roof, intermixing various residential elements such as the arched doors leading to the garden,” Mauroit explained.

These arches usher out onto a roof terrace where visitors can fete above the lights of Times Square with magnums of rosé champagne—Elsie de Wolfe would surely approve.

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