P.J. Clarke's, the legendary saloon, has spawned a brand and a chainlet, the latest opening in Woodbury, where all is more glossy than gritty.
The original, at Third Avenue and 55th Street in Manhattan, inspired the set for "The Lost Weekend," an Oscar-winning Billy Wilder classic, about an alcoholic on a rye-fueled bender.
In Woodbury, the bar is a pleasant gathering place, with TVs tuned to sports. More important, the raw bar is very good, with fine oysters. And the hamburgers for which Clarke's is known, notably "The Cadillac" with bacon and American cheese, and a blue cheese-barbecue sauce number, are easy to recommend. Likewise, the dry-aged sirloin and the Caesar salad.
There are some disappointments, from a forgettable chicken potpie to routine fish and chips.
But, overall, it's worth visiting. To judge by the weekend crowds, P.J. Clarke's already is a spirited hangout.
P.J. Clarke's, 8289 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury; 516-367-7400.