Two Airlines Walk Into A Bar…

Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic have developed something of a solid partnership lately, to the extent you can call it a “partnership” when one airline owns 49% of the other (hint: Delta’s taking the wheel in this situation and Virgin’s riding shotgun).

In a somewhat brilliant cross-marketing move, the two airlines have jointly opened a bar and lounge at London’s O2 Arena, “NY-LON.” (NY-LON referring to the two transatlantic financial capitals, not to the apparent primary ingredient in Virgin’s seared tuna steak.)

NY-LON Bar and Lounge at London's O2 Arena
NY-LON Bar and Lounge at London’s O2 Arena

Though NY-LON is located within the O2, it appears to be open to the public seven days a week, from 12 noon to midnight, regardless of whether the O2 is hosting an event.

Per Delta’s press release:

“The opening of NY-LON is yet another example of the Virgin Atlantic and Delta partnership doing things differently,” said Reuben Arnold, Virgin Atlantic’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Customer Experience. “London is an iconic city and by bringing a taste of our capital together with one of the Big Apple, we’re sure this will be another winning combination.”

The aviation-themed lounge, built around a bespoke bar replicating an aircraft engine, is far more than just somewhere to grab a quick pre-concert drink. Open daily from midday to midnight, NY-LON serves light bites and beverages inspired by the airlines’ heritage. Menu highlights include the Brooklyn crab salad and Billingsgate fish pie, which can be enjoyed with a range of cocktails, including the London Vesper and Stateside.

The website for the lounge is well-designed, and the space looks stunning.

NY-LON Bar and Lounge
NY-LON Bar and Lounge
NY-LON Bar and Lounge Meeting Room
NY-LON Bar and Lounge Meeting Room

The menu is supposed to be inspired by New York and London, though… you tell me (prices are in pounds sterling, at ~$1.56 to the pound).

Cocktail menu
Cocktail menu

On the cocktail side, we’ve got an “Atlanta” cocktail, which is sadly not NeNe Leakes’ special margarita with orange juice, and a “Georgia Mary,” which is different from a regular Bloody Mary insofar as it costs $20. I’d say there’s not much nexus here to the whole “New York meets London” theme, though the cocktails are outrageously priced so I guess it’s New York-and-London-themed, after all.

(Also, let’s not call a cocktail a Cropduster, shall we?)

As for food, there is that famous Brooklyn crab salad.

Food menu
Food menu

I mean… that’s just weird, right? What the hell makes a crab salad Brooklyn? Is the crab wearing chunky glasses and dirty Chuck Taylors? Because otherwise, I think if you told me my blue crab came from the waters of the Gowanus Canal, I’d politely send it back.

Color me surprised, too, that scrapple is on the menu representing “New York.” Scrapple is a disgusting (-sounding; I’ve never tried it myself) delicacy unique to Pennsylvania that not only has nothing to do with New York, but should not be on a menu in London representing the culinary riches of the United States. I’ll let Wikipedia fill you in on scrapple:

Scrapple is typically made of hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which are boiled with any bones attached (often the entire head), to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are removed, the meat is reserved, and (dry) cornmeal is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added. The mush is formed into loaves and allowed to cool thoroughly until set. The proportions and seasoning are very much a matter of the region and the cook’s taste.

Yum!

Scrapple, a not-New York dish I will NOT be ordering at NY-LON
Scrapple, a not-New York dish I will NOT be ordering at NY-LON

As for whether the “London” cuisine is actually representative of London or is equally head-scratching, I’ll leave that to the UK commenters, who are going to roast me over the coals anyway for this post, as I was accused of stoking fervent anti-British sentiment with my Virgin Atlantic Upper Class trip report just this past month.

Anyway, puzzling menu items aside, NY-LON looks truly swanky, and a great option for Delta and Virgin frequent flyers before and after events at the O2, since there are apparently discounts offered to Medallion and Flying Club elite members.

It’s also a really cool marketing idea and a way to get the fun parts of the Delta and Virgin Atlantic experience without buying a plane ticket.

In fact, seems like the perfect spot to go to before a One Direction concert, no?

Comments

  1. I kind of like things like this. Not exactly the same, but things like the Centurion Suite at Staples Center make you feel a little bit more valued. Granted, there’s nothing really special to it, but it really is nice to have another option that isn’t accessed by all the 10,000,000 people there to see the Clippers/Kings/Gaga/Britney/whoever. CSP at Sundance also comes to mind.

  2. I knew this was not written by ben because the word “delta” was used more than 2 times or even used at all

  3. I can recall a Japanese show about how bad British food is. I think the food in the show, invented/cooked by British locals, is totally in line with the scrapple in terms of texture and plating…so it is somewhat Ny-Lon themed…

  4. Is it just me or do you keep banging on about being accused of being anti British? I’ve not read many of your posts but it feels like you bring it up constantly… (Apologies if I’m just imagining/exaggerating this!)

  5. Ah, having read the linked article I now see your point. Though you can hardly complain, your review meets the stereotype of ignorant and arrogant American perfectly – even though you thought you were just being funny. Which it was at the start before coming incredibly tiresome (I can’t quite figure out whether the people who somehow found it hilarious also fit the stereotype or just enjoy hearing the same unoriginal jokes over and over again?).

  6. @callum: I’m going to be the bigger man and conclude that your overpowering condescension and misplaced sense of superiority have nothing to do with stereotypes about your nationality.

  7. To clarify: scrapple is a recipe from the war era used in diners across eastern PA and mid-atlantic states and may use any part of the pork.

    You obviously aren’t anti-UK, since you spend so much money and effort visiting there. Humor rarely translates well into other cultures.

  8. Scrapple is just a US (ok, Pennsylvania, though I tried it in New Jersey) pork-based version of haggis. Neither tops my favorites list but they’re not horrible. I wouldn’t pay $10 for a plate of scrapple, though.

    Everyone is cashing in on Brooklyn these days, including several hipster spots in Paris. Nothing in this menu says to me local-sustainable-artisanal so I wouldn’t expect anyhing extraordinary, let alone Brooklyn-ish. All the NY dishes are described in Brit menu-speak–courgettes? prawn? Fuggedaboudit!

  9. Why is scrapple so surprising (with family hailing from PA Dutch areas I’m familiar with it)?

    The DL press release describes the menu not merely as NYC centric but “inspired by the airlines’ heritage”.

    If you’d read all of the Wiki article alone, much less other sources, you’d have known that Scrapple is from not just PA but rural areas across the mid-Atlantic – DE, MD, VA, NJ, etc. Certainly NJ as well as Philadelphia and far eastern PA are within the greater NYC realm. Scrapple is available in NYC proper and is recently gaining some popularity.

    Scrapple was not a wartime creation. It’s been around in the US since the 1600/1700s and stems from similar styles of dishes from Europe.

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