A hotel is never really a hotel without a top-notch bar. Really. These often luxuriously glamorous and sophisticated urban hotspots are the place to find well-heeled travelers and high-end locals mingling together within chic décor, an exotic environment, and over some pricey drinks. Basically, they are the poshest lairs in town, the perfect place for electric nights of elegant-style drinking. Cheers!
So no matter what your poison or your preference-- whether it’s swilling down a martini in a lobby riddled with history, or downing some gin on top of a hotel roof while viewing the city skyline, get together with Big Apple locals and out-of-towners alike over some classic cocktails and ever more classy conversation. Here are eight outstanding independent and boutique hotel bars in New York City.
Best Hotel Bars in N.Y.C.
1. The Rose Bar & The Jade Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel
With an unparalleled location right next to Gramercy Park, this swanky hotel has it all—superb cocktails, stylish wait staff, dimly lit spaces, plush velvet chairs, cozy fireplaces, pool tables, as well as an incredible art collection containing a fifteen-foot original piece by Mr. Andy Warhol himself.
The Manhattan hotspot is owned by hotelier-to-the-stars Ian Schrager and famed artist Julian Schnabel, who had a hand in creating the not one but two impeccably stocked oak bars. Have yourself a billiards match with some of the patrons over at The Rose or sip joyously on a Ginger Fig Martini or Elderflower Smash at its sister The Jade. Just be sure to dress to impress, or else, you probably won’t be allowed to join in on all that jolly old fun.
Gramercy Park Hotel is located at 2 Lexington Ave at 21st Street in New York, NY
2. The Ides at The Wythe
Take in the New York skyline from Brooklyn from the rooftop of Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel. The former textile factory turned posh hotel opened in 2012 and is definitely where all the hipsters flock to. Grab a bite down at Reynard and then head on up to the roof early on in the evening-- this understated yet still fabulous Art-Deco-style bar usually gets pretty crowded. Fast. So be there or be square, because it’s where all the cool kids go for fancy cocktails in the $10-$12 price range, ever-changing master DJs, and truly panoramic views. Be sure to try a Hemingway Daiquiri. You won’t regret it. Promise.
The Wythe is located at 80 Wythe Ave. in Brooklyn, NY
3. The Press Lounge at Ink48 Hotel
Offering unobstructed views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, this luxury bar was deemed by The NY Times' Frank Bruni as, “without question, one of the city's most attractive bars." It’s perched atop the Ink48 Hotel and is located just fifteen minutes from the Theatre District and Times Square, making it the perfect spot to meet with friends for an evening cocktail, to impress a date, or to have a nice casual business meeting in—all in the heart of The Big Apple.
Drink-wise, there’s a wide array of signature cocktails to choose from, as well as an extensive wine list and small plate snack choices. Watch the city sparkle as the sun goes down at this New York favorite. It may be super pricey, but really, the premium experience is certainly worthy of the up-charge.
Ink48 Hotel is located at 653 11th Avenue at West 48th Street in New York, NY
4. Le Bain at the Standard Hotel
Sitting atop the ritzy Standard, this self-proclaimed “penthouse discotheque” is arguably one of the most difficult spots to get into in NYC. It’s got stunning views, chic bathrooms, a disco club, exclusive celebrity watering holes (i.e. The Boom Boom Room), and a creperie, among loads of other things. It may be super hard to gain entry, but try out your luck tonight by heading out to this Meatpacking District fave uber early. You’ll have a blast sipping on lemon drop martinis, splashing around in hot tubs built directly into the dance floor, and grooving to some of the best DJ beats is town.
The Standard is located at 848 Washington Street in New York, NY
5. The Library Bar at The NoMad Hotel
Despite the name, this one’s anything but bookish. It was designed by Jacques Garcia, of Paris' L'Hotel fame, and is a smart cocktail den slash dining room featuring glamorous dark wood tables, leather-bound cocktail lists, and skilled bartenders who are always happy to mix you up something good. Classic and house creations are even poured by Ms. Jessica Gonzalez herself, whose most recent stint was at the East Village's innovative Death & Co. cocktail bar.
Bibliophiles will have the time of their lives perusing through two levels of fully curated literary collections, smooth leather chairs, plush couches, Persian carpets, and an original spiral staircase imported straight from the South of France—all while enjoying the wide variety of wines, beers, snacks, and cocktails available. Try the Matchlock, a nice combo of rye, bourbon, absinthe, vanilla, ginger, lemon, grapefruit and Angostura bitters, or spice things up with a Petticoat, which contains Sichuan peppercorn-infused Plymouth gin, apricot liquer, lemon, and velvet falernum. Yum.
The NoMad Hotel is located at 1170 Broadway between 27th and 28th Street in New York, NY
6. Jimmy at The James
With herringbone floors, a leather trimmed solid wood bar top, brick glazed tile walls, rich blue upholstery, and always warm fireplaces, this sleek south SoHo rooftop bar, is no doubt one of the hottest in the city. It offers spectacular views of lower Manhattan, the Hudson River, as well as the twinkling lights of Jersey City, and is an even hotter ticket during warm weather months-- with an enclosed outdoor lounge offering guests with a private plunge pool surrounded by teak wood decking and outdoor showers.
Order some classically inspired cocktails or go crazy with summertime favorites like the Grilled Pineapple Mojito (made with bracing clear rum) or the Grapes of Wrath (made with cucumber vodka, St-Germain, seltzer, and rosemary). What’s more is that all the ingredients including syrups, bitters, and juices are all prepared in-house from herbs grown straight out of The James' on-site garden. Go experience a classic seventies NYC pub vibe with a nice contemporary twist. You won’t be sorry.
The James is located at 15 Thompson Street in New York, NY
7. The Jane Hotel Ballroom
Looking for a dance party to remember? Jump in line to get into The Jane, Manhattan's ultimate “ballroom” and hottest Saturday night dance fever spot that’s perfect for unwinding with some high-class cocktails, taking in some youthful crowds, and getting down to some Mo-town hits or One Direction tunes. This place has got it all.
Fortunately, so does the bar, which really does has everything from a disco ball and huge furniture you can jump on, to a mezzanine level for dancing and tall palm trees swaying over by the DJ booth. Plus, if you want something really weird, get funky by downing a $12 gin-and-tonic while staring at the giant stuffed ram that hangs around. No kidding.
The Jane Hotel is located at 113 Jane Street between West Street and Washington Street in New York, NY
8. Bemelman’s Bar at The Carlyle
If you're looking for old New York, this is the place to go. Filled with Ludwig Bemelmans' whimsical murals, white-coated waiters, and sophisticated cognac drinks, this Madeline-themed wonderland is an upscale Art-Deco-style den that you can easily get lost in, especially while listening to the elegant sounds of live piano music coming from the grand stage.
You’ll find everyone from politicians and movie stars to art lovers and mature city folk who come together to enjoy some fine drinks, some terrific company, and some great piano jazz—all in relative peace and quiet. Get super classy with a Calvados-plumped Sidecar (French apple brandy) or savory Pisco Sours (made with Pisco 100, egg white, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, and simple syrup). Or go a bit heavier with a Whiskey Smash (made from Makers Mark bourbon whiskey, muddled mint, muddled lemons, and simple syrup). No matter what, you’ll be having a heck of a cocktail experience. Just be sure to bring that wallet though—drink prices are pretty hefty here (cocktails run about $21 each, with per-person cover charges running $15-$25 on weeknights, and $15-$30 on the weekends).
The Carlyle is located at 35 East 76th Street between Madison and Park Avenue on the Upper East Side in New York, NY
This article was written by Pamela Chan.