Renovated Rainbow Room reopens

Rainbow Room inside
The original compass-rose parquet dancefloor has been restored, polished to a shine and retrofitted with mechanics that will once again allow it to spin. Above, recessed lights create a rainbow pattern on the ceiling.Rebecca Davis / Today
By Ben Popken

A darkened spot in the New York City skyline is lighting up again. After a five-year hiatus, the historic Rainbow Room restaurant and event space atop 30 Rockefeller Plaza has reopened, renovated and reborn.

Originally opened during the Great Depression in 1934, the room hosted and toasted some of the city's and entertainment's finest. It served Noël Coward and Cole Porter on the day it opened. Brooke Astor, Muhammad Ali and Howard Hughes have all walked across the rotating dance floor, surrounded by the 24 double-height floor-to-ceiling windows offering extensive views of Manhattan's skyline.

But by the 70's, the room that symbolized the ultimate in New York City glitz and glamour had grown shabby underneath the feet of tourists and businessmen. An update in the 80's brought back some of the old glitter and glam. However its doors shuttered in 2009 following a landlord-tenant dispute.

Now building owners Tishman Speyer have brought the classic back for another spin on the top of the rock. Keeping in line with the landmark status the room received in 2012, all the site's historic details have been preserved, brought to life with new luster.

Take a peek with us as we look in upstairs, and through the archives, to see the Rainbow Room as it was then and now.

Guests enjoy the opening of the historic Rainbow Room at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 in New York.Diane Bondareff / Today
The original compass-rose parquet dancefloor has been restored, polished to a shine and retrofitted with mechanics that will once again allow it to spin. Above, recessed lights create a rainbow pattern on the ceiling.Rebecca Davis / Today
Crystal curtains decorate the windows where fabric ones once hung. They fall so the bottom third of the window has an unobstructed view of the skyline.Rebecca Davis / Today
A chef prepares food before lunchtime guests arrive at the Rainbow Room, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.Mark Lennihan / Today
The Sunday brunch, one of the two times a week the new Rainbow Room is open to the public, costs $95. That doesn't include tax, tip or alcohol. The room will be reserved for private events and parties the remaining nights of the week.Mark Lennihan / Today
Monday nights at the Rainbow Room will feature live entertainment and a prix fixe menu starting at $175 per person. First Mondays will feature top tier talent, such as the The Roots and the Count Basie Orchestra. Those evenings will ring in at $250 per person.Rebecca Davis / Today


Diners watch as ballroom dancers Lydia and Joresco take the floor in the then newly opened Rainbow Room in 1934.Today


Diners fill the room during the Rainbow Room's glory days in 1936, just three years after the end of Prohibition.Today
Classic cocktails on offer include the "1915 Gin & Tonic," made with Dorothy Parker Gin, Lemon, Angostura Bitters, and Johnnie Ryan Tonic ($22). There is of course, a Manhattan. It's made with Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Punt e Mes, Carpano Antico, and Regan's Orange Bitters ($25).Rebecca Davis / Today