Wall Street Drinks In an Up Market

Who needs CNBC with all the action that’s been going on in the Grill Room over the last week? It’s more interesting to watch the news happen in real time in the Four Seasons–especially when Adriana stops in.

Wall Street was the talk of the restaurant in the last week, as bankers and dealmakers showed up to celebrate. James Lee, from JPMorgan, a lead underwriter of the massive General Motors IPO, was in the house, shaking hands over his role in the largest IPO in history. Can you imagine? Only a few months ago, Wall Street’s big shots were regrouping and trying to navigate their way through the economic jungle. Now, they’re back and headed toward a bull market!

In addition to Jimmie, Leon Black showed up last week, as did the endlessly entertaining Pete Peterson. (Pete hosted a small birthday party last Monday night for David Rockefeller, whose friend Henry Kissinger toasted him with the line, “I knew David Rockefeller before I was Henry Kissinger.”)

Later in the week, Lazard hosted a cocktail reception for its partners. Hank Greenberg held court at his regular table, and Goldman’s Gary Cohn was here, too.

And in spite of everything that’s happened in the economy over the past year–and when things were bad, they were bad here, too, believe me–the most ambitious bankers are back with a bounce. They’re ordering wine and toasting deals.

There’s even the return of the New York bankers who work on European deals. They settle into their tables in the Pool Room around 11:30, which is basically the end of the workday in London. When their trades go well, they celebrate with martinis and wine and segue from lunch to drinks in the bar. Global finance in action!

Outside of Wall Street, big media is also back in the swing. Barry Diller lunched with Time‘s Richard Stengel, Richard Plepler with John Huey. (Plepler’s HBO also hosted a party for Fran Leibowitz‘s new documentary, Public Speaking, which was nicely featured in The Times.)

For a touch of royalty, Queen Sofia stopped in as part of a visit to the city. Queen Sofia! Can you imagine?

But my favorite part of the week was thanks to Adriana, the gorgeous woman who slinked into the Grill on Friday and surprised the movers and shakers by pouring Bedell Cellars Musee merlot for everyone. Even when you’re in the middle of a mega-deal, everyone makes time for Adriana.


Julian Niccolini is the co-owner of the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan.

Wall Street Drinks In an Up Market