Filled with the hustle and bustle of well-heeled tourists and staycationers checking out our fair city with fresh eyes, hotel bars often boast a palpable excitement not found in other nightspots.
You never know whether your fellow patron might be a first-time visitor from the Midwest or an expat New Yorker returning from abroad, and the décor and roster of signature cocktails are typically meant to impress. From wood-paneled classics to shiny contemporary spots laden with city views, below we've run down our favorite hotel bars and their best handcrafted libations.
Mr. Purple at Hotel Indigo — 180 Orchard St. at Stanton Street, Lower East Side (Photo via mrpurplenyc.com)
Wrapped in windows, this 15th floor bar offers some of the best sunset views in Lower Manhattan, whether you choose to sit in the spacious indoors or the year-round outdoor terrace bar. While the vibe at this LES establishment is decidedly young and hip, the cocktail menu leans toward putting new twists on old classics. Try the Coffee Old Fashioned with Knobb Creek bourbon, espresso demerara and New Orleans coffee bitters or the Thyme Collins with Nolets gin, Lillet Blanc, thyme infused simple syrup and fresh lemon. A DJ spins tunes most nights, and there's a small, but varied menu of apps, sandwiches and brunch items.
The Bar Room at The Beekman — 123 Nassau St. at Beekman Street, Financial District (Photo via luxdeco.com)
Set within the architectural gem that is The Beekman, The Bar Room is luxurious space filled with gilded antiques and dark upholstery set beneath the hotel's breathtaking atrium. The luxe lounge conveys a rich, sophisticated manner that's reinforced by the cocktail menu which features such refined entries as the Franz Joseph Gall — featuring Dujardin VSOP brandy, spiced honey, lemon, sparkling wine and bitters — alongside a long list of cognacs, Armagnacs and other brandies. Enjoy a selection of light bites at the bar or enjoy a mouthwatering dinner at Tom Colicchio's adjacent Temple Court restaurant.
Westlight at William Vale Hotel — 111 N. 12th St. at Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg (Photo via bizbash.com)
With million-dollar Manhattan views and sleek, modern interiors, this swanky lounge atop Brooklyn's chicest new hotel is a must-see. The tightly curated cocktail menu impresses with both its simplicity and inventiveness. Take, for instance, the Little Bird, a creamy concoction of coconut, pisco, white rum and lime Crème de Cacao topped with grated cinnamon. The simply named Billy, meanwhile, is a potent mix of Bison Grass vodka, Dolin Blanc vermouth , pineapple and absinthe. If you feel a bit peckish between cocktails, Westlight offers a single-page menu of both sweet and savory small bites.
Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle — 35 E. 76th St. at Madison Avenue, Upper East Side (Photo via rosewoodhotels.com)
Few things say classic New York like a cocktail at The Carlyle. Swaddled in illustrations by namesake Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the "Madeline" children’s books, this revered nightspot also features cozy leather banquettes, black-glass tables and a 24-karat gold leaf ceiling to up the luxury quotient. Live music is standard, there's an extensive food menu, about a dozen champagnes and sparkling wines, and an intriguing signature cocktail menu that includes The Old Cuban, a "Champagne Mojito" with Bacardi 8 Rum, muddled mint, fresh lime juice and Angostura Bitters.
The Lobby Bar at The Ace Hotel — 16 W. 29th St. at Broadway, NoMad (Photo via yelp.com)
While scads of hotels have bars in the lobby, few can say their lobby is the bar. At the always-stylish Ace Hotel, peoplewatching is a primary activity in the vast lobby venue, whether you take in the daytime visitors armed with their MacBooks and espressos or the nocturnal guests enjoying DJ or live music offerings. The venue's innovative cocktails include the Pearly Legal a mix of Cana Brava rum, Denizen's Merchant Reserve rum, allspice dram, pear cider, Demerara and fresh lime, and the Italian in Manhattan featuring Old Overholt rye, Amaro Montenegro, Dolin Rouge and bitters. Dine at adjacent The Breslin, with its own small bar, or enjoy small bites from the April Bloomfield establishment in the lobby space.