New York’s Beacon Restaurant Beckons to Gays and Their Weddings
Unless you live under a rock, you know that same-sex marriage became legalized in the state of New York this past July. What you may not know, however, is that not only can you get married in New York, but you can also have one heck of a party.
So what are you looking for in the "ultimate" wedding reception? I posed this question to many of my gay friends, some of whom are married, some not. There was a consistency in their answers.
Much like straight couples, same-sex couples want: 1) great atmosphere, 2) superb food, 3) a well-stocked bar, and 4) for everyone to have a great time. Interestingly enough, the gay friends with whom I spoke went one step further. They all wanted a place where they would feel comfortable and accepted.
It's no secret that New York City has many venue options for same-sex couples. Unless a restaurant has a rainbow flag hanging outside or Judy Garland pictures on the wall, however, you may not know which is gay-friendly and which is not. And although you may enjoy go-go boys dancing on the bar, grandma might not appreciate it (or maybe she would). So, where can same-sex couples have a reception where everyone has a great time?
My quest for the ultimate wedding reception venue led me to Beacon Restaurant & Bar. Since 1999, "the Beacon," in midtown Manhattan, has been just that. "We specialize in a certain type of cuisine with a certain type of hospitality," co-owner Chef Waldy Malouf shared. "We are a beacon of that style of cuisine and service."
Since 1999, Chef Malouf and his team have brought elegant yet "homey" dining to West 56th Street. Just blocks away from Central Park, the Museum of Modern Art and City Center, the Beacon is convenient and seemingly close to everything.
But it is the sophisticated open fire cooking, inventive cocktails, and innovative wine list, which are the hallmarks of the Beacon. "We are New York sophistication without being pretentious," explains Malouf.
It’s no wonder that celebrities, politicians, agents, and even United States’ presidents frequent this eatery. "It is a place where everyone can come, sit back, enjoy great food and drinks and feel safe," Chef Malouf explained. "We don’t call the press or paparazzi."
In the past 12 years, every president has visited this midtown eatery, except for President Obama (perhaps he will attend a gay wedding).
From outward appearances, you wouldn’t necessarily think of the Beacon as a gay environment. Private Dining Manager Jameelah Williams has the answer, "We’ve always prided ourselves on being a place where everyone is comfortable."
This gay can certainly attest to that. From the moment I walked into Beacon Restaurant & Bar, I felt "embraced." It is classy without being stuffy. The décor is rich and luxurious. The food and cocktails are amazing. The staff is friendly and passionate about what they do. But most of all, not only is it a place where your grandmother will feel comfortable but it will pass the litmus test of your fellow gays as they "work" the elegant staircases with cocktails in their hands.
Malouf probably said it best, " When you walk in, you feel a certain level of experience and background. You know you will be well taken care of." Apparently so. Private Dining Manager Williams shared that not only does the Beacon have great event packages, but also it is a full event productions venue. "We not only handle the flowers and DJs, but also Chef Malouf will personally work with you on the menu," Williams said.
Recently, one gay couple had their ceremony in the private Club Room, dined with guests on the balcony, and then danced the night away on the lower dance floor.
Chef Malouf is no stranger to the New York restaurant scene. With over 30 years of experience, two cookbooks, a resume that includes running the New York’s famed Rainbow Room, and memberships on the Board of Directors of the Culinary Institute of America as well as the American Institute of Wine and Food, Malouf is the real deal.
With accommodations for 10 to 250 people, elegant décor, custom cuisine, and a bar unlike any other, Beacon Restaurant & Bar, would certainly be my choice for celebrating my nuptials. Anyone got a ring?
For more information, contact Jameelah Williams at 24 West 56th Street, New York, NY 10019. (212)332-0501.