United Nations Delegates Lounge – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura

United Nations Delegates Lounge

What happens here stays here – unless it affects the whole world. 


This is, without a doubt, the world’s worst bar to get sloppy drunk with a coworker.

Along the East River sits an impeccably designed, football-field-sized room that, depending on the date and time of day, positively teems with the world’s most influential people. To the initiated, they think very little of it; merrily drinking and carousing, they’re simply shaking off a work week. To the rest of us, this is the most jaw-dropping social hour on the planet, for the scene described is taking place within United Nation’s Delegates Lounge, during one of their infamous monthly jazz concerts.

By day, the Lounge is used as a mellow spot in which coffee and negotiations take place. Redecorated by Rem Koolhaas (at the behest of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands) over the course of five years, the Lounge itself is every bit as slick as one would imagine for a $1.9 million dollar price tag. An 11th-century Surya Sun God (a gift from Indira Gandhi in 1982) is among the room’s heritage decorations predating the 2013 renovation, as was once the Nobel Peace Prize awarded jointly to Kofi Annan and the United Nations as a whole. 

At night, however, things loosen up a bit as the bars are rolled out from behind closed doors. The spot is, understandably, a favorite among the staffers and delegates. It’s loyalists have even gone so far as to refer to it as the “Seventh Committee,” in tribute to the U.N.’s six official working committees. According to one officer with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, “Some days, when it’s your job to help achieve the mandate of peace on earth, it’s a requirement to come down, look at the art and relax.”

Best yet, if you play your cards right, a spot on the guest list to the world’s most peaceful international jazz night could yet land in your lap. Though stricter than recent years (due repeated breaking of guest rules, poorly behaved interns, and everyone getting too busy on the dance floor) the process of gaining admission to the Delegates Lounge now stands at two guests per staffer, no interns without a Secretariat ID, and no DJs on Friday nights unless someone is hosting an official party.

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