By Tracy Kaler
From pubs to wine bars to speakeasies, nightlife choices in NYC are diverse and plentiful. For instance, out-of-towners can often find a classic or hip hotspot to imbibe by hopping the elevator to their hotel lobby, since countless New York hotels provide stylish digs for drinking, meeting, and even grabbing a bite to eat. We culled the scene and came up with these seven watering holes, which are some of the best hotel bars in Manhattan.
Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle
A stop in Bemelmans is a must if you’re exploring the Upper East Side. A tour de force in the uptown nightlife scene, this high-end tavern-cum-lounge exudes sophistication and charm simultaneously and attracts both locals and tourists. Pay particular attention to the playful Ludwig Bemelmans mural (you really can’t miss it), which features scenes of Central Park. Quaff your Manhattan as you listen to jazz standards from 5 p.m. nightly and relish this tavern’s storied past. Tip: Before 9 p.m., there’s no cover charge. And the complimentary bar snacks are some of the best in town.
35 E 76th St
Lobby Bar at the Ace Hotel
Cool kids flock to this hip Flatiron lounge on the ground floor of the Ace. Office by day and nightclub after dark, this lobby bar pours wine and craft beer, and mixes drinks with NYC-centric names such as the “Murray Hill Mule” and “Italian in Manhattan.” Breakfast and an all-day menu from April Bloomfield’s The Breslin next door are available, as well as caffeinated drinks. A DJ spins tunes most nights of the week, and live bands croon Sunday nights.
20 W 29th St
Crosby Bar at the Crosby Street Hotel
Immerse yourself in Kit Kemp’s whimsically designed yet comfortable bar in the Crosby Street Hotel. You’ll want to dress city chic to blend with the interiors, but even if you’re more on the casual side, you won’t find pretense here. The warm, friendly staff serve up drinks like the “SoHo Spritz” and “Empire Fizz” as well as champagne cocktails, a solid list of wines and beers, plus bar bites and a full dinner menu.
Lantern’s Keep at Iroquois New York
This speakeasy tucked in the rear of one of Midtown Manhattan’s most charming hotels doesn’t disappoint. Prohibition-style cocktails are the theme of the drink menu so you won’t find any vodka here. Standouts include the Pineapple Collins and the Monte Carlo, as well as a list of libations made from rum, gin, whiskey, and tequila. If you need a nosh, Lantern’s Keep puts out delish small plates such as white bean and truffle dip, bison carpaccio, and escargot.
49 W 44th St
King Cole Bar at the St. Regis
Featured numerous times on the silver screen, this chichi tavern was the founding place of the Bloody Mary cocktail. The King Cole Bar attracts a powerful and elite crew, as well as locals looking for a laid-back but upscale experience and tourists staying at the St. Regis Hotel. One of the city’s most talked about murals by Maxfield Parrish lines the wall behind the bar. While the small space can get crowded, drinkers sometimes overflow into Astor Court, the dining space just outside the bar.
2 E 55th St
The NoMad Bar at the NoMad Hotel
Leo Robitschek curated the drink list at this upscale see-and-be-seen spot near Madison Square Park. Large format cocktails serve groups up to 10 people, and a dry-aged burger often makes the best-of lists. But it’s the stately interiors, unique atmosphere, and Eleven Madison nuances courtesy of Daniel Humm and Will Guidara that keep patrons returning to this drinkery that’s been awarded the title of best bar in North America.
10 W 28th St
Grand Bar at the SoHo Grand
Quintessentially SoHo, this bar in downtown’s first boutique hotel shines from top to bottom. The Bill Sofield-designed space sings every note flawlessly, which you’ll notice in the bar itself and in the attached lounge. A diverse cocktail menu, a stockpile of bourbons, and great wines by the glass make Grand Bar a destination for drinking. The bar also serves a variety of excellent bistro dishes including steak frites, tuna tartare, and a warm apple pie that’s to die for. Breakfast and brunch are equally delicious.
310 W Broadway