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Explore real-life world of 'Mad Men'

'Mad Men" fans, it's time for a cocktail.

The return of the AMC show March 25 after a hiatus of a year-and-a-half is cause for celebration, and there's no better place to raise your glass than in Manhattan, at one of Don Draper's favorite haunts.

While many of the places name-dropped in "Mad Men" no longer exist -- Lutèce, the Stork Club, Toots Shor's -- there are plenty that do, among them P.J. Clarke's, the Roosevelt Hotel and Sardi's. Some Manhattan bars, clubs and hotels are even offering packages, drinks or viewing parties to mark the show's return.

Of course, the series is filmed in California, so what you see on TV are well-researched sets, not real Manhattan bars. But "Mad Men" fans will not be disappointed by reality: Many of the establishments that turn up on the show retain a classy, retro vibe in real life, and can offer a fun, sophisticated setting for drinks or a meal.

Judy Gelman and Peter Zheutlin, authors of "The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook," provide "A Handy List of Mad Men Haunts" in their book, along with recipes from them.

"Some of these places just never go out of style, like the Grand Central Oyster Bar," said Zheutlin. "It's such a classic and bustling place."

"Mad Men" aficionados know the Oyster Bar was not mentioned by name on the show, but it's believed to be the place where Don takes Roger Sterling for a martini-and-oyster lunch.

P.J. Clarke's, at Third Avenue and 55th Street, manages to appeal to a trendy 21st century sensibility while channeling the classic cool that got the crowd from "Mad Men" ad agency Sterling Cooper drinking and doing the twist. P.J. Clarke's "was the site of many 'Mad Men' parties," Gelman said. "I think there might be more scenes set there" than any other bar or restaurant.

The Roosevelt Hotel, 45 E. 45th St. at Madison Avenue, where Don stayed after his wife, Betty, threw him out, is offering a "Mad Men in the City" package, starting at $425 a night through June 30, so guests can "experience New York City as Don Draper would," according to Kevin Croke, the hotel's director of sales and marketing.

One of the best places Zheutlin and Gelman ate while researching their cookbook was Keens Steakhouse, 72 W. 36th St. They found the steak "sumptuous," and were amused to learn that Keens' top chef had no idea the restaurant had turned up in "Mad Men." (It was a client lunch, at which Don and Pete Campbell discussed the sport of jai alai.)

Gelman said the show's depiction of Keens did not fully capture its rich atmosphere and quirky history. The restaurant, which dates to the 19th century is known for its low ceilings lined with thousands of old clay pipes. Patrons like Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth stored personal pipes there for use when they dropped by.

In contrast, Sardi's, 234 W. 44th St., was more faithfully recreated in a "Mad Men" episode, down to the framed caricatures on the wall.

Other "Mad Men" scenes took place at Dublin House, 225 W. 79th St., an old Irish pub where, on the show, Joan Holloway's husband gets drunk; The Palm, 837 Second Ave., a seafood and steak restaurant; and Barbetta, an Italian restaurant at 321 W. 46th St., which Gelman says remains "absolutely luxurious and romantic."

 

Hot spots

If you want to step out like Don Draper, here’s where in Manhattan.

P.J. CLARKE’S
Third Avenue
>and 55th Street
The site of many
“Mad Men” parties.

THE ROOSEVELT HOTEL
45 E. 45th St.
at Madison Avenue
Don Draper stayed there after his wife, Betty, tossed him out.

KEENS STEAKHOUSE
72 W. 36th St.
Draper and Pete Campbell discuss the sport of jai alai during a client lunch at the restaurant.

DUBLIN HOUSE
225 W. 79th St.
Pub where Joan Holloway’s husband gets drunk during one episode.

SARDI’S
234 W. 44th St.
Celebrity caricatures adorn the walls.

THE PALM
837 Second Ave.
Steak and seafood restaurant

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