Signature Collection Bars


by staff, 06/17/2013

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More than most watering holes in the City, hotel bars provide a certain elegance and level of intimacy that make enjoying your drink just a little more special. Located within some of NYC's most luxurious hotels, the bars on our list make for wonderful places to imbibe with friends or spend some quiet time by yourself. In addition, many of them boast a bit of history, such as the King Cole Bar & Salon, where, legend has it, the bloody mary made its US debut. Enjoy the full bar experience along with specialty drinks at locations like the Star Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, which serves the apple-infused Big Apple, or the London Bar, where the West Side Manhattan is made with bourbon, ginger liqueur, sweet vermouth and cranberry juice. All offer a full menu along with their cocktails; enjoy delectable light fare as a complement to your experience. Below we highlight some of New York City's most chic and opulent places to raise a glass.

Bar Seine at Hôtel Plaza Athénée. Photo: Marco Ricca

Bar Seine at Hôtel Plaza Athénée
37 E. 64th St., 212-606-4141, Upper East Side, Manhattan
The romantic Bar Seine inside the luxe Plaza Athénée provides the perfect spot for a night out on the Upper East Side. The amber-lit lounge is chic and intimate; the decor an inspired mix of North African–, European- and Asian-influenced art and furnishings, with rich velvets, animal-print fabrics and leather floors. The full menu includes the signature cocktail, known as the Valmont – Hike in the Glacier (vodka with citrus and elderflower liqueurs), and the venue also offers a menu of upscale bar snacks like crab cakes, truffle popcorn and a trio of shrimp, as well as high tea service every afternoon, from 2:30 to 5pm.

King Cole Bar
King Cole Bar & Salon's Red Snapper at The St. Regis New York. Photo: Bruce Buck

King Cole Bar & Salon at The St. Regis New York
2 E. 55th St., 212-753-4500, Midtown East, Manhattan
Legend has it the bloody mary had its American debut at this Midtown watering hole. Here, it's called the Red Snapper. Located in the posh St. Regis hotel and renovated in fall 2013 (adding space, a modern design touch and a greater emphasis on dining), the bar's dignified setting befits its historical pedigree. A clientele of businesspeople, celebrities and other regulars continue to find that the beautiful surroundings—highlighted by a famous Maxfield Parrish mural—and warm vibe make the King Cole Bar & Salon the ideal place for a good drink and great conversation. In addition to a full bar, the venue offers an extensive menu, including raw shellfish, grilled swordfish, macaroni with fennel sausage and Indian-spiced lamb chops; the lunch menu features a selection of sandwiches in addition to other main plates.

The London Bar at The London NYC. Photo: Joseph Anthony

The London Bar at The London NYC
151 W. 54th St., 212-307-5000, Midtown West, Manhattan
The London Bar is a chic spot in a refined, luxurious setting. The space opens for breakfast, courtesy of the adjacent Maze restaurant, and offers a small-bites menu and smart cocktails later in the day. Settle in during the evening with friends, choosing from the extensive drinks and wine lists. Bar bites include selections like duck confit tater tots, fish and chips and spicy crab toast. The drinks menu features the London Bloom, with St. Germain liqueur, muddled basil, cucumber and gin; the Diablo Gordon Ramsay, combining scotch, raspberry liqueur, lime and ginger beer; and the aforementioned West Side Manhattan.

Star Lounge
Courtesy, The Star Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Star Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
50 Central Park South, 212-521-6125, Midtown West, Manhattan
Part of the attraction at the Star Lounge is the legendary bartender Norman Bukofzer, who has mixed drinks and held court at The Ritz-Carlton hotel for more than three decades. Bukofzer, known for remembering minor details of dialogues with his guests, has a penchant for introducing patrons to those of like-minded sensibilities. With high ceilings, elegant chairs and refined wood detailing, the Star Lounge has a superb ambience, providing an ideal setting for conversation and spirits. Some of the more New York City–themed cocktails include the Big Apple, with apple vodka and apple puree; the Central Park Side Car, with a sweet and sour twist; and, of course, the Manhattan. The lounge also features a light-fare menu, available daily from 11:30am to midnight. Those who seek the relaxing pleasures of an afternoon tea can enjoy daily service beginning at 2pm (with seatings every half hour until 4pm); keep in mind that reservations are required.

Two E Bar/Lounge at The Pierre, New York. Photo: Sammy Dyess

Two E Bar/Lounge at The Pierre, New York
2 E. 61st St., 212-940-8113, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Two E Bar/Lounge is The Pierre's newest swank bar-lounge, a destination for classic cocktails crafted from fresh ingredients. At this showcase for creative mixology, signature cocktails include the Pierre-Tini, made with gin, pineapple juice and homemade rum; the Gin Gin, which combines gin, Canton ginger liqueur, a homemade cucumber and mint puree and a topping of ginger ale; and Smoking Strawberry, which features Russian Standard vodka, Fragoli liqueur, St. Germain and pineapple juice served in a glass smoked with Ardbeg single malt. The lounge also offers small plates to share from 3pm to midnight. Afternoon tea service—which includes traditional tea sandwiches, freshly baked scones with Devonshire cream and a selection of delicate pastries—is served daily from 3 to 5pm. The lounge is open daily from 10:30am to 1am.

related venues/(5)

  1. 1
    Bar Seine
    Hotel Plaza Athénée New York, 37 E. 64th St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10065
  2. 2
    King Cole Bar and Salon
    The St. Regis New York, 2 E. 55th St.
    Manhattan – Midtown East
    NY 10022
  3. 3
    The London Bar
    The London NYC, 151 W. 54th St.
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  1. 4
    The Star Lounge
    The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, 50 Central Park South
    Manhattan – Midtown West
    NY 10019
  2. 5
    Two E Bar/Lounge
    2 E. 61st St.
    Manhattan – Upper East Side
    NY 10065

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