Hotel Watering Holes: NYC's Top Hotel Bars

Hotel Watering Holes: NYC's Top Hotel Bars

by Clubplanet
06.17.2009

With its bevy of bars, lounges and clubs, spending the night out in New York is no easy feat. The specialty cocktails, the best scene or the glistening ambiance? How do you know which hotel is the right fit for you? That’s right, we said hotel. Having to compete for survival is definitely something New York City is familiar with. Hotels, like every other business, must attract the customers. We’ve found 10 hotel bars that do New York nightlife better than many liquor-lain businesses. Who says you need be a guest to enjoy a little extra hospitality?

 

Rose Bar
2 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
212-920-3300

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 Schnabel himself.

 

 

Thom Bar
60 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012
212-219-2000

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.

 

Cellar Bar
40 W 40th St
New York, NY 10018
212-642-2260

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. A great place for an after work cocktail, and an even better place to stay the night.

 

 

Whiskey Blue
541 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022
212-486-1591

The premiere hunting grounds for angular debutantes and the Wall Street players who love them, Whiskey Blue, at the W Hotel, 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.

 

 

Underbar
201 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003
212-358-1560

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?

 

 

King Cole Bar
2 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
212-753-4500

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.

 

 

 

Oak Room
59 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
212-840-6800

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 sun burnt 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.

 

 

 MO Bar
80 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023
(866) 801-8880

With a breathtaking panoramic view of Central Park, this 35th floor bar atop the Mandarin Oriental New York is the perfect spot for pre and post dinner drinks. The exotic atmosphere is as chic as you would expect, and so are the prices – however, well worth it. Our favorites are the Ginger Infused Mojito with Mandarin Oriental Ginger Infusion with 10 Cane Rum, Fresh Mint, Lime Wedges and Candied Ginger; and the Jade Blossom with Zen Green Tea Liqueur, Zygo Peach Vodka, Sauvignon Blanc and Edible Orchid.

 

 

The Yard
310 West Broadway
New York, NY 10001
212-965-3000


To the left of the Soho Grand Hotel entrance, you will find a ground-level alley space converted into an open-air bar/lounge. Though missing the rooftop skyline views, the Yard offers a quiet, summertime alternative to the handfuls of obscenely crowded New York City bars. Strings of miniature, globular party lights and the aluminum patio furniture complete the garden party atmosphere. The Yard’s staff, dressed in gondola-esque striped, boat neck shirts, serve small plates of food and delicious drinks.

 

 

2nd Floor Bar
25 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003
212-475-5700

Though architecturally incredible on the exterior, the interior of the Cooper Square Hotel boasts a new kind of chic colonialism in its 2nd Floor Bar. The space accommodates 30 seated guests at its many 2-top tables and finds itself an even quainter atmosphere with its candle lighting. The space features a variety of Sangrias, a back room available for larger parties and an outdoor terrace opens for the warmer months. This bar has its own separate entrance; it’s that cool.

 

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