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BEST PLACE TO BE SEEN

Merc Bar

Slinky, suave, sophisticated, and about a dozen more s-words besides, the Merc Bar is the sort of place where you can expect to see drop-dead dime pieces in backless black dresses sipping French martinis with Ketel One and Chambord, while GQ-gorgeous guys enjoy their Belvedere vodkas straight up. The interior is dark with wood paneling plucked from some Eurotrashy '60s ski-resort flick starring Elke Sommer. And all about are low couches, chairs and ottomans that the beautiful people of PHX rearrange like some giant, earth-toned game of mah-jongg. Lush, loungey music emanates from the stereo, and for a moment you can pretend that Bill Clinton's still the prez, the stock market bubble never burst, and all's right with the world. The name refers to Mercer Street in Manhattan, on which Gotham's Merc Bar, the sister to the P-town establishment, sits. The waitresses look like supermodels, and the clientele on any given night comprises a meet market that only peddles filet mignon, if you catch our drift. The self-assured and the self-appointed make the scene, and to appear there tells the world you're a person of refinement and taste, a player who can afford the better things in life, even if you're not rich -- yet. Readers' Choice: J Bar in the James Hotel

 
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