The best NYC venues for each stage of the agency-client relationship

The agency-client relationship can be a delicate dance. It all starts off with a bit of flirtation as the two parties get to know each other better. The initial hook-up is followed by emotional highs and lows. If things go too far downhill, then there’s the break-up.

While a lot of this may happen behind closed doors, sometimes the scene unravels hidden in plain sight. We asked agency creatives for their recommendations of the best spots in New York City for sharing the good and the bad times with their clients. The answers have been lightly edited.

When making a first impression:

Danny Rodriguez, group creative director, McCann NY
“The King Cole Bar at the St. Regis has cocktails and snacks that are designed to impress clients. It’s the birthplace of the Bloody Mary. Clients love fun facts like that. Don’t forget your corporate card, though, because this place is pricey.”

The interior of the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis


Eric Mugnier, svp, M&C Saatchi Mobile
“The Campbell Apartment at Grand Central Station is a great place to impress a new client with a bit of New York City history. The décor is rich and slightly opulent as it was once a private salon in the 1920s. The client will appreciate the atmosphere, and, besides, who doesn’t love Grand Central Station?”

Charles Fulford, group creative director, Huge
“Maysville — the Mecca of American whiskey — is a fantastic venue to celebrate a win or to woo a new client. The atmosphere is always a perfect balance of sophistication and bustling, without being pretentious. The unbelievably knowledgeable staff can find the perfect aged spirit for your party’s mood and palette, while Gramercy Tavern vet Kyle Knall serves up some of the most exciting southern cuisine in the city.”

The whiskey collection at Maysville


Vin Farrell, global chief content officer, Havas Worldwide
“I like to take new clients either to the Polo Club on 55th St., or Cherche Midi on Bowery and Houston depending upon the client and their taste. I’ve always loved midtown because it feels so official, and the Polo Club is modern with a classic feel. More importantly, the service at both establishments makes it a point to get to know you in an engaging way that lends itself to a fantastic experience. If you go once every six months or six times a month, they treat you the same.”

When sharing good news or just catching up:

Vin Farrell, global chief content officer, Havas Worldwide
“Jack’s Wife Freda, because good news should be celebrated like family, and Jack’s Wife Freda treats everyone as such. Plus, it’s alive and super hip. For catching up, the Corner Bistro, because life’s best moments should take place over a great burger.”

The interior of Jack’s Wife Freda

Juan Carlos Pagan, design director, Deutsch NY
“The Rooftop Gallow Green on top of The McKittrick Hotel is a great place to give good news and celebrate. There is a lovely bookstore cafe in SoHo called Housing Works. It’s normally quiet and perfect place to have a coffee and catch up.”

The Gallow Green rooftop bar at the McKittrick Hotel

Kenny Gold, associate director of social media, McCann New York
“For good news or client catch-ups (or when stars align, both), ABC Cocina is still a go-to for me. You can’t go wrong here. I always go for the spicy whisky sour.”

For messy break-ups or for sharing bad news:

Geoff Cook, founding partner, Base NY
“When I need to deliver bad news, I tend to go to the Downtown Manhattan Heliport just around the corner from Base. It allows me to pretend not to hear any acerbic responses, and if things get really heated, it provides for a quick getaway.”

Danny Rodriguez, group creative director, McCann New York
“I love the Coffee Shop in Union Square. This place is great for cheese fries and delivering bad news. The proximity to the Union Square subway lines makes for a quick getaway.”

The Coffee Shop in Union Square

Eric Mugnier, svp, M&C Saatchi Mobile
“Bad news has to be quick and public. Get a private table at Flatiron Lounge with its somber atmosphere. They have a great whiskey selection to loosen up the bad-news victim. Remember, once it’s over, you don’t want to linger. Brandy Library is an alternate venue.”

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