Like something out of a John Waters flick, Hi-Life’s kitschy Americana-inspired décor is matched only by its zany menu. Flooding this retro-fab décor are gaggles of girlfriends, laid-back daters, and carefully scruffy Upper West Siders looking for quirky takes on steaks, chops, and sushi. Past a large aquarium at the front entrance, less lively piscine pleasures are proffered from an Airstream-chic, aluminum-paneled raw bar. But not everything is peculiar: Juicy 8 oz. burgers come piled high with American standard bacon, cheese, and fries. The entrée offerings detour into pad Thai and sashimi salad territory, but also reward late-night appetites with hearty bar-and-grill classics like crab cakes, Cobb salad, and grilled salmon. Among the smaller bites, a standout petite filet mignon app is served on a carving board with a side of rich potato salad, and the sushi selection—though heavy on nouveau rolls and spicy mayonnaise—also cuts straight up slabs of yellowtail and tuna. The bar half of the equation sports retro lamps and button-tufted leather walls that might evoke childhood memories of Aunt Edna’s ’60s-era rec room. Luckily the well-scrubbed boss types holding down the stools, along with a list of throwback cocktails and “little umbrella drinks,” ensure the high life here stays true to its angle.
477 Amsterdam Ave. at 83rd St.; 212-787-7199