Even during the warmer months, a cavernous, cozy bar can be just the way to beat the heat. Here are some of our favorite hotel bars that have the cozy thing — from leather couches to dim lighting, dark liquors to rich fabrics — down pat.
Rose Bar, Gramercy Park Hotel (pictured above)
The Rose Bar, a velvet-heavy lounge filled with celebs and beautiful people, is still one of the coolest scenes in town — a testament to the staying power of this super-trendy Ian Schrager-Julian Schnabel project. When our reporter stopped in for a drink, he ran into Sting. While we can’t guarantee you’ll bump into one of The Police while sipping a martini from the extensive menu, we can guarantee that, with candlelight, a laid-back atmosphere and Warhols strewn about, it is the perfect setting for a long fun night.
King Cole Bar, The St. Regis New York
Even if you can’t afford to stay at The St. Regis, it’s worth stopping at the King Cole Bar for a nip. According to legend, it was the first place in the country to serve a Bloody Mary, here called the Red Snapper. The bar also serves small plates such as a half dozen oysters and a sliced steak sandwich. This intimate space with wood-paneled walls is a snug pick.
Redwood Room, Clift
The Redwood Room bar, originally opened in 1933 as a classic art deco lounge, has been reincarnated as one of the trendiest places to drink around Union Square in San Francisco. Paneled in warm redwood (legend holds that it’s all from a single, 2,000-year-old tree), the bar has velvety red sofas and chairs, digital artwork, and warm, sexy lighting.
The Ace Hotel Lobby Bar, Ace Hotel NY
While many high-end bars are for a more “refined crowd,” the young people need an indoor meet-up place, too, right? The Ace Hotel’s lobby bar has become the place for New York’s young, MacBook-toting tech set, and the organic comfort food, specialty cocktails and high-end coffee the hip kids demand are all available here. With animal skin throws, plaid chairs, squishy leather button couches, bookshelves, a wolf’s head, and bar snacks like spiced almonds and caramel popcorn, it’s an inviting pick. Grab a communal table, order an excellent lamb burger from the on-site restaurant, The Breslin, and strike up a conversation about Twitter with your table mates. You might just leave with a new round of venture capital funding.
Off the Record, The Hay-Adams
Appropriately named Off the Record — “Washington’s place to be seen and not heard” — this cozy, high-class basement bar exemplifies a great hideaway for getting some reprieve from the heat. Decorated with warm red walls and dark wood paneling, much of it left over from the hotel’s initial construction in 1927, it’s a good place to down few glasses of bubbly.
Round Robin Bar, The Willard Intercontinental
Stop in to hobnob with some of Washington’s elite. Allegedly, Kentucky Senator Henry Clay established the official recipe for the mint julep on the site of the Willard in the early 1800s, and the stately Round Robin Bar still proudly serves it today — Maker’s Mark bourbon, mint, sugar, and branch water. Upstairs, the Scotch bar serves from a menu of more than 130 Scotches — one of the most-extensive selections in the city.
The Last Hurrah, Omni Parker House
Where Charles Dickens read A Christmas Carol for the first time on American soil, The Last Hurrah delivers a taste of historical Boston — literally and figuratively. Located inside one of the country’s oldest hotels, the bar has a classy old-time atmosphere: leather-cushioned chairs, wood paneling, men in sports coats. You can sample Boston cream pie, invented at the hotel in the mid-19th century. Or, better yet, you can order the Boston cream pie martini from the bar’s extensive martini menu. Other drinks, like the Dickens Punch, also relate to the hotel’s history, and the whiskey menu is one of the most impressive in Boston.
You can’t return a bad vacation. That’s why Oyster.com, “The Hotel Tell-All,” and partner of The Travel Channel, comprehensively visits, photographs, reviews and rates each hotel we feature. Basically, we uncover the truth, before it’s “uh-oh” time.