When you think of a vibrant, lively bar scene it’s likely that your mind goes right to New York. Whether you’ve visited the city or not, everyone knows that the nightlife here is unparalleled.
From rooftop bars to sneaky cool speakeasies, the places to get a good cocktail in NYC are seemingly endless. However, there’s one particularly great spot to get a drink in Manhattan—a hotel bar.
There’s something that feels uniquely special about hotel bars. The ambiance is rich, the drinks are perfectly crafted, and the bartenders are particularly attentive. Not to mention the fact that it’s easy to meet interesting people in hotel bars.
After living in the city my entire adult life, I’ve done my due diligence of visiting New York’s most beloved bars (tough work, I know). To help you plan out your cocktail stops on your next trip, here’s my list of the best hotel bars in New York City.
The Carlyle, Bemelmans Bar
If you’re looking for a quintessential New York night, cocktails at Bemelmans Bar are sure to please. The atmosphere feels somewhat old school while offering a classy, high-end experience. The bar has been open at The Carlyle hotel since 1947 making it a true Manhattan staple.
Murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books, line the walls within the cozy bar. It’s so special to enjoy a drink while being immersed in the art from these classics.
The bartenders all wear tuxedos and bow ties which adds an extra element of charm. They make one of the best dirty martinis in the city, but you can’t go wrong with any order here. The snacks that they serve you are also to die for, and the live piano music is absolutely dreamy. You’ll find yourself posted up here all night.
The Pierre New York, Two E Bar & Lounge
Drawing inspiration from a swanky Upper East Side residence, the Two E Bar & Lounge is a sophisticated and posh place to enjoy a cold beverage. Black and gold finishes embellish the bar, creating a bougie experience that will make you feel rather ritzy.
The bar and lounge is a popular spot to grab a bite to eat during the day, but at night, the venue comes to life with musical performances from Broadway stars and jazz aficionados.
Take a seat at the counter or cozy up in a plush lounge chair. The Goodbye Cosmo, made with vodka, lemon juice, and candied orange, is a must-try.
Baccarat, The Bar
Don’t let the simple name fool you—The Bar at the Baccarat hotel is anything but understated. The flashy red, white, and black interior draws guests in while velvet touches add a sense of warmth. The atmosphere is described as “dark opulence meets a rough-hewn aesthetic.”
If you’re in the mood for something refreshing, order the Chandalier cocktail—it’s made with gin, lavender, and lemon. Love margaritas? Try the Opus, a mezcal-forward drink with flavors of prickly pear, agave, and lime, garnished with a Himalayan salt rim.
Lotte New York Palace, The Gold Room
The Palace is iconic for many reasons (thanks Gossip Girl) but the bar in the hotel still remains one of New York’s greatest treasures. The vibe? Iconic Manhattan architecture meets the glamour of the Gilded Age.
The Gold Room is located within Villard Mansion, one of the most magnificent mansions from the Gilded Age that still remains in Manhattan. It was declared as a historic landmark in 1968 and flaunts 30-foot ceilings and meticulously detailed wainscoting.
Some of the cocktails on the menu are named after notable New Yorkers, like the Carnegie and the Hemingway. As far as appetizers go, the oysters, caviar, and truffle fries are all delicious.
The Mark Hotel, The Mark Bar
Eclectic, lively decor greets guests upon entry at The Mark Bar. Bright shades of orange meet playful patterns and funky lights to set a chic yet welcoming tone—and the cocktails are just as impressive as the ambience.
The Cucumber Mint Martini and the Mark Manhattan are two local favorites but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu!
The Plaza, The Champagne Bar
Grabbing cocktails at The Champagne Bar is a must-do when visiting New York City. For locals, it’s a go-to spot for celebrations and post-theater drinks. The space is modeled after the Champagne Porch that was in the same location when the hotel first opened in 1907.
They’re known for serving classics (think an Aperol spritz, French 75, and a Bellini) that impress, but there are also a few craft cocktails that are unique to the bar. You can also choose from a variety of champagne flights if you’d rather sip on something bubbly.
Got a sweet tooth? Desserts like New York cheesecake and caramelized chocolate cake are served daily until 10 pm.
The St. Regis New York, King Cole Bar
Just a few blocks from Central Park, tucked between 5th and Madison Avenue, you’ll find the iconic King Cole Bar. This spot has been a long-standing favorite of mine. It’s upscale without feeling too pretentious and it’s a great spot for history lovers to enjoy a beverage (it’s the birthplace of the Bloody Mary).
Enjoy a seasonally-inspired dinner at Astor Court before or after your cocktails—the restaurant is located in the same space as the bar.
The Best Hotel Bars in New York City
Some of my other favorite spots in the city that are worth checking out:
- The Ritz Carlton Central Park, Contour
- The Loews Regency, The Regency Bar
- The Bowery Hotel, The Bowery Lobby
- Crosby Street Hotel, The Crosby Bar & Terrace
- The Whitby Hotel, The Whitby Bar