Best NYC Hotel Bar #1: Rose Bar
If Julian Schnabel and Ian Schrager had a baby.. no wait, they did! Cinema's most painterly director and New York's elite bar owner teamed up to create Rose Bar, an incandescently stunning hotel fixture illuminated by a web of brilliant, suspended light bulbs and decorated with lush, baronial tones. A pearl-white chandelier looks like a fantastic reef hauled up from the ocean deep, throwing light on the rose-red curtains and violent paintings selected by Schnable himself.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #2: Hudson Bar
Outfitted in gold and canary shimmers with a redoubtable ceiling mural by contemporary expressionist Francesco Clemente, Hudson Bar tempers its sumptuousness with cool white floors and clean, rectangular tables. The regular clientele alighting upon the high yellow velvet stools count themselves among the city's wealthy elite. Hudson Bar's most decidedly abstract touch is the log bench, where 10-foot wooden log has been equipped with the backs of chairs to provide a fairytale branch for Manhattan's beautiful and powerful to perch comfortably.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #3: Thom Bar
Like your artsy friend who's constantly haranguing you to come with her to gallery openings, Thom Bar gives you the sneaking suspicion that you're barely cool enough to be associated with such culture cred. If you weren't born rich, beloved and beautiful, you might want to take a breather on Thom Bar's blue velvet couch before you summon the nerve to mingle with the sleek clientele. Ponder the oddity of a cow skull nail high on a wall in the back, scrape your nails against the bamboo panelings, or strike up a conversation with a bright young thing about the place is decorated like a 1920s billionaire's living room, if said billionaire had a fetish for royal velvet and animal skulls.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #4: Mé Bar
Topping off the unprepossessing La Quinta hotel is this airy rooftop location spotted with white fold-out chairs and matching wooden tables. The decor is equally down-to-earth--strings of white lights line the walls and pastel lamps beam from overhead. The beachy touches and red Japanese lanterns are a welcome breath of salty sea air in this land of overwrought lounges and sweaty clubs.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #5: Cellar Bar
Bryant Park Hotel looks out upon the twinkling reaches of Bryant Park, but if subterranean medieval cellars are more to your liking, check into the Cellar Bar. Circular steel chandeliers evoke nothing more authentic than a cast-off prop from A Knight's Tale, but the pretty lavender and purple booths provide enough seating to alleviate the crowds filing in after 10pm. Click here for more info on Cellar Bar, New York NY
Best NYC Hotel Bar #6: Whiskey Blue
The premiere hunting grounds for angular debutantes and the Wall Street players who love them, Whiskey Blue has cropped up in bright cities across the country shilling its special blend of high-life sophistication and lounge-y hedonism. Plush leather divans invite patrons to engage in something a little more than sitting, while white-sleeved bartenders mix martinis and Cosmos from behind a mahogany and alabaster bar. While Whiskey Blue struggles as a viable nightlife locale, it excels as a happy hour hangout for the upwardly mobile.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #7: Underbar
Even if the padded red velvet walls look like some desperate decorater skinned Hugh Hefner's bathrobe, Underbar has made its name as one the city's sexiest hotel lounge. Sultry rock heros like Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits croon about mangled love affairs from the overhead speakers, and small groups can saunter into private nooks where silhouetted curtains feature cut-outs through which to peer into other rooms. Sort of reminds us of a priest's window, and who hasn't wanted to make out in a confession booth?
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #8: King Cole Bar
Couched away in the landmark St. Regis Hotel, King Cole wears the mantel of a turn-of-the-century Maxwell Parrish mural bordering its oak-lined walls. This is the highly-disputed birthplace of the Bloody Mary, though here it goes by the alias "Red Snapper," and a beacon of true old school New York. The upholstered seating and candlelit halos are all part of the vintage allure.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #9: Oak Room
A vintage throwback to the days of jazz and gin, the Algonquin staff has been polishing Oak Room's burnished wood accents when most New Yorkers were running around the Midwest in diapers. Nowadays this patrician spot hosts as many upscale Broadway ticket-holding tourists as actual city-dwellers, but don't feel put off by the sunburnt Texans. Sidle up next to the aging icons of the city's old money echelons and order yourself a dry martini just for the fun of it.
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Best NYC Hotel Bar #10: The Library
Bought a nice pipe and got nowhere to puff it? You'll fit right in at the magisterial bar at the Loews Regency, featuring a book-lined space that's as much of a "hotspot" as can thrive in the chilly expanses of the Upper East Side. Dress not for a night of sliding into banquettes: Library's classical touches, down to engraved tan leather armchairs, demands conservative cocktail dresses and buttoned collars.
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