Best Hotel Bars
The NoMad Hotel, New York City
This bi-level bar evokes glamorous old New York. Bar director Leo Robitschek and bartender Lacy Hawkins offer innovative cocktails like a big-batch whiskey sour in a gargantuan spigot jar that serves 12.
39 Degrees, at the Sky Hotel, Aspen, Colorado
A crackling fireplace, heated outdoor pool and superb views of Ajax (now officially known as Aspen Mountain) are just a few of the draws at this hip après-ski spot. Another is mixologist Denis Côté’s far-ranging cocktail list, which includes classics like the sidecar, warmer-uppers like a Cognac-spiked hot chocolate, and his signature Aspen Slush, prepared with local Stranahan’s whiskey.
Proof on Main, at the 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
With a fantastic chef in the kitchen, fabulous art on the walls and more than 50 bourbons on offer—it’s in Bourbon Country, after all—Proof on Main is not only Louisville’s best spot for a serious drink, but one of the country’s prime whiskey meccas. Patrons can try a flight of bourbons, sample a bourbon mash before it gets aged in a barrel or sip signature cocktails like the Ambassador’s Wife (bourbon, elderflower liqueur, vanilla-citrus Tuaca liqueur and basil).
The Driskill Bar, at the Driskill Hotel, Austin
The Driskill Bar, set in Austin’s oldest and most atmospheric hotel, has button-tufted leather sofas and a gilded ceiling. But with live music that varies from the blues to honky-tonk, it’s anything but stuffy. The Driskill’s bar program makes superb use of Texan ingredients: Its signature drink mixes locally distilled Tito’s Handmade Vodka with hibiscus and agave, and fun snacks include roasted Hatch chile popcorn.
Bradstreet Craftshouse at the Graves 601 Hotel, Minneapolis
This restaurant has a drink menu by Toby Maloney and a private "parlour room" hidden behind a velvet curtain.
Modern Hotel Bar, Boise, Idaho
One of Boise’s best bars is in the boutique Modern Hotel, a whimsically transformed 1960s Travelodge (each of the bar’s restrooms contains a 45-rpm record player). Mixologist Michael Bowers’s handcrafted cocktails feature subtle, elegant twists on the classics—his Black Manhattan gets an herbal, citrusy kick from the Italian liqueur Averna.
Thoroughbred Club, at the Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston
Tucked beside a grand open-arm Georgian staircase and replete with wood paneling, the Thoroughbred Club is known for its classic afternoon tea service, and come evening, mixologist Mouzon Taylor’s excellent bourbon cocktails. His Mouzon Mash—an homage to his peach-farmer grandfather—calls for bourbon, muddled peaches, mint, lemon and simple syrup.
J. Parker Rooftop, at the Hotel Lincoln, Chicago
J. Parker, named after Abraham Lincoln’s hard-drinking bodyguard, offers sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the Gold Coast. Mixologist Erin Hayes, formerly of Perennial Virant and Boka, serves ingenious cocktails inspired by a regional theme that changes every three months. Her Hello, Havana drink incorporates rum, passion fruit puree, lime juice, and house-made ingredients like banana liqueur and a smoky cigar tincture.
Nomi Lounge, at the Park Hyatt, Chicago
The Park Hyatt’s seventh floor lounge combines a serene, elegant setting with sublime cocktails devised by Toby Maloney and the mixologists at Alchemy Consulting, the team behind Chicago’s cocktail temple the Violet Hour. The Lakeside incorporates Junipero gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino and lavender.
Chandelier Bar, at the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas
Las Vegas has no shortage of over-the-top drinking establishments, yet the Cosmopolitan’s three-tiered Chandelier Bar—enshrouded by beaded curtains made of more than 2 million glittering crystals—easily stands out. The best cocktails can be found at the exclusive second-floor bar, where mixologist Mariena Mercer prepares inventive drinks like the Verbena (tequila, yuzu sour, ginger syrup, lemon verbena leaves, and Szechuan button garnish) and uses a Pacojet to churn old-fashioneds into sorbet.
Mansion Bar, at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
The bar at this opulent 30-year-old Dallas stalwart serves some of the most thoughtful drinks in the city. Classic cocktails feature ingredients that are made in-house, including ginger beer and spiced Falernum liqueur for its Dark and Stormy, and barrel-aged bitters for its Manhattan. Cognac-colored leather walls and live music add to the bar’s clubby ambience.
Parasol Down, at the Wynn, Las Vegas
Dozens of colorful upside-down parasols dot this whimsical lounge, where mixologist Patricia Richards’s excellent cocktail list includes East Meets West, a spicy twist on the mojito accented with house-made lemongrass-ginger simple syrup. The views of the Lake of Dreams are a nice change of scenery from the Strip, especially during the evening light shows. wynnlasvegas.com
The Bar at the Alaskan Hotel, Juneau, Alaska
Operating since 1913, the Alaskan Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, and according to urban legend, is haunted by a ghost. Locals pay no heed and love the bar’s Gold Rush atmosphere (Tiffany lamps, antiquated wallpaper) and large selection of beers including Pacific Northwest microbrews like Deschutes Brewery’s malty Black Butte Porter.
Rose Bar, at the Delano Hotel, Miami Beach
Situated in the lobby of one of South Beach’s most iconic hotels, the Rose Bar is appointed with soft-lit Venetian chandeliers and pink upholstered walls, and epitomizes the 1950s Art Deco style that characterizes the neighborhood. The perfect people-watching spot serves drinks such as a chili watermelon caipirinha to go with haute bar snacks like popcorn topped with truffle shavings.
Clyde Common, at the Ace Hotel, Portland, Oregon
Jeffrey Morgenthaler oversees the rotating drinks list at this airy tavern adjacent to the ever-popular Ace Hotel. He also barrel-ages cocktails like the Negroni for months, to integrate flavors and add oaky hints of vanilla and caramel. Coming soon: Pepe le Moko, a speakeasy-style bar underneath Clyde Common that will serve more of Morgenthaler’s ingenious cocktails along with bocadillo sandwiches.
Culinary Dropout at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Located in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, this bar has a relaxed vibe, live music and cocktails like the signature After School Special, made with raspberry tea–infused tequila.
The Rooftop Bar, at the Standard, Los Angeles
At this hip poolside roof deck, L.A. scenesters lounge on futuristic-looking bright red waterbed pods and white deck chairs while sipping margaritas prepared with papaya- and jalapeño-infused tequila. The stellar views include a dramatic panorama of downtown, and Hollywood classics projected onto a nearby building facade.
Sazerac Bar, at the Roosevelt New Orleans, New Orleans
The crown jewel in NOLA’s cocktail history, the Sazerac Bar at the historic Roosevelt Hotel originally opened in 1923 and soon became a regular haunt of Louisiana’s colorful governor Huey P. Long—he even dodged a bullet there, or so the legend goes. The drink to order, of course, is the namesake Sazerac (rye whiskey, bitters and an absinthe rinse) and other New Orleans classics, like the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Living Room Bar at the W Hotel, Miami Beach
Leading Miami’s craft-cocktail movement, the alchemists at this luxe lounge in the W Hotel use unusual ingredients like Sriracha (Thai hot sauce), roast herbs for cocktails with blowtorches and top drinks with flavored foams.
Carousel Bar, at the Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans
One of New Orleans’s most famous watering holes, this atmospheric, circus-themed revolving piano bar has 25 original hand-painted seats overlooking Royal Street. The cocktail list is heavy on drinks with a historical bent, including two types of Sazeracs; plus, there’s a Hemingway daiquiri in honor of the one-time regular.
Bar 210, at the Rittenhouse Hotel, Philadelphia
Along with a view of Rittenhouse Square, this elegant bar inside the venerable Lacroix restaurant offers an impressive list of single malt Scotches, American craft beers (including Dogfish Head’s hoppy 60 Minute IPA) and seasonal cocktails such as the All Things Green (gin, absinthe, Chartreuse, green herb puree and yuzu juice).
10 Arts Bistro & Lounge, at the Ritz, Philadelphia
Capped by a 140-foot marble dome, this palatial lounge housed in a former bank serves inspired small bites like tuna tartare with ginger-lime emulsion and clever cocktails that include a chef-driven specialty. The Ri-Pear (Grey Goose La Poire, pear purée and a splash of white cranberry juice)—is named after 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge’s superstar French chef, Eric Ripert.
Bemelmans Bar, at the Carlyle, New York City
Bemelmans exudes old-school New York at its finest, with white jacket-clad waiters serving exquisite Champagne cocktails in a golden room with famous murals by children’s book author, Madeline creator and former hotel resident Ludwig Bemelmans. At the Cafe Carlyle next door, the Woody Allen plays the clarinet on Monday nights with his New Orleans jazz band.
Top of the Standard, at the Standard Hotel, New York City
The payoff for those able to get past the doorman at this Meatpacking District hot spot, née the Boom Boom Room: The stunning gilded lounge—as well as its notorious bathrooms—have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer some of the most sweeping views in downtown Manhattan. Expertly crafted drinks include the sweet and spicy Bang Bang, prepared with rum, muddled strawberries, strawberry cordial and fresh ginger.
Driftwood Room, at the Hotel deLuxe, Portland, Oregon
The Driftwood Room pays tribute to Hollywood’s Golden Age with original Art Deco interiors and drinks named after classic films and cinema legends. It’s also become a favorite haunt for mixologists and other locals serious about cocktails, thanks to Michael Robertson’s expertly crafted drinks like the Roman Holiday (Campari, Champagne, grapefruit juice, and house-made hibiscus tea simple syrup).
Grant Grill Lounge, at the US Grant Hotel, San Diego
The Grant Grill Lounge’s Jeff Josenhans borrows techniques from distillers, winemakers and brewmasters for his thoughtful, time-consuming drinks. His Manhattan is aged in an oak whiskey barrel for 100 days, while his carbonated, hoppy-tasting Mule in a Bottle is prepared with bottle-fermentation techniques typically used to make Champagne and beer.
The Ides at the Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn, NY
Located on the rooftop of Williamsburg's Wythe Hotel, Andrew Tarlow's hip terrace bar features craft cocktails and sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.
Redwood Room, at The Clift, San Francisco
The storied Redwood Room combines gorgeous original paneling—derived entirely from a single redwood tree—with swank, modern touches like Philippe Starck-designed furniture and a contentious rotating display of digital artwork. Inventive cocktails include the Marilyn Monroe, a tropical blend of cachaça, tamarind, coconut milk, lime and cream.
Six Seven, at the Edgewater Hotel, Seattle
The optimal time to visit Six Seven is at sunset, which highlights the lounge’s incredible views of Puget Sound. Inside, the decor is forest-chic with tree trunk pillars, and the bar menu includes drinks like the spicy, citrusy Ginger-Rita (tequila, Cointreau, lime and ginger) and snacks like charcuterie from Salumi Artisan Cured Meats (founded by Armandino Batali).
POV, at the W Hotel, Washington, DC
New York City cocktail guru Sasha Petraske’s first foray into the Washington, DC, bar scene brings expertly mixed libations and five types of ice cubes chiseled from 25-pound blocks of ice. But craftsmanship isn’t the rooftop bar’s sole lure: Unobstructed views of the White House and Washington Monument are breathtaking.
Lobby Lounge, at the Four Seasons, Houston
This luxe bar on the ground level of the Four Seasons has a decidedly Texan flair, with braised short rib and pulled pork sliders on the menu, and local music stars like Ira Perez performing midweek. The impressive brown spirits collection features more than 50 labels of whiskey, Scotch and bourbon.
Jade Bar, at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Scottsdale
With fantastic views of Camelback Mountain and a serene wraparound patio, Jade Bar feels a world away from busy Phoenix and Scottsdale. Cocktails often combine fresh fruit, herbs—even vegetables. The Sugar Snap Southside, a signature drink, is prepared with sugar snap pea-infused vodka, muddled mint, egg white, lemon and simple syrup.
Lewers Lounge, at the Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki, Hawaii
This tony piano lounge has serious cocktail cred—the legendary Dale DeGroff, formerly of NYC’s Rainbow Room, created the bar menu with drinks like a blackberry julep and ginger lychee caipirissima. Another plus: Patrons can try a slice of the hotel’s famously fluffy coconut cake.
Off the Record, at the Hay-Adams, Washington, DC
Some come to this power bar at the historic Hay-Adams to sip dirty martinis while rubbing shoulders with seasoned Washington politicians. Others come for the fine drinks (a popular take on the mojito is made with muddled grapefruit segments, fresh basil and Prosecco) and the elegant vibe (plush, tufted red banquettes and ornate gilded ceilings).
The Durham, Durham, NC
The Durham Hotel’s rooftop bar offers incredible views of the city and a refreshing cocktail menu created by local star chef Andrea Reusing. Try the El Rosario (cachaça, Fernet-Branca, honey, mint and black pepper) with one of the small plates or a selection from the seasonal raw bar.
Roof at Park South, New York City
The bottle service scene at many New York City rooftop bars can be off-putting. This laid-back bar, on the other hand, offers views of the city’s skyline without the attitude. Bar director Ted Kilpatrick mixes unique cocktails like Daiquiri Por Mi Amante, with strawberry-infused five-year rum, lemon, Tabasco and more strawberry.
Midnight Rambler, Dallas, TX
Tucked away in the basement of the Joule Hotel, this cocktail salon has a glamorous Art Deco style and an array of inventive drinks. Its two bars serve shooters, punches and cocktails like the sour-based Royal Tannenbaum, made with rosemary-and-orange gin, amaro and house-made cranberry soda.
Dirty Habit, San Francisco, CA
This restaurant and lounge occupies the former Fifth Floor space at Hotel Palomar. Brian Means mixes cocktails with brown spirits and old whiskeys in gorgeous antique glassware.