Signature Collection Bars
by nycgo.com staff, 06/18/2013
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Unlike other bars 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 Harry Cipriani, modeled after the original Harry's Bar in Venice, Italy, where the Bellini was invented; or King Cole Bar, 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 Maple Manhattan is made with bourbon, maple syrup and white 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's Crystal Cosmopolitan 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 velvet curtains, red lacquered walls, animal-print fabrics and leather floors. The full menu includes the signature cocktail, known as the Crystal Cosmopolitan, and the venue also offers a menu of upscale bar snacks like crab cakes and truffle popcorn, as well as high tea service every afternoon, from 2:30 to 5pm.
Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle. Courtesy, The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel
Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle
353 E. 76th St., 212-744-1600, Upper East Side, Manhattan
Few bars combine wit, glamour and coziness as masterfully as Bemelmans does. The whimsical Central Park murals—painted by the bar namesake and creator of the beloved character Madeline—give the sophisticated art deco interior a storybook gloss. Bar fare includes refined treats like East Coast oysters and an assortment of house-made pâtés. And after a few of Bemelmans' famous cocktails (the Gin-Gin Mule, with gin, ginger beer, muddled mint and fresh lime juice, and the Old Cuban are worth a try), look over the murals thoroughly to find all of Bemelmans' visual witticisms you missed the first time.
Harry Cipriani at the Sherry-Netherland. Courtesy, Cipriani
Harry Cipriani at the Sherry-Netherland
781 Fifth Ave., 212-753-5566, Midtown East, Manhattan
You can find almost anything in New York City—even a nearly exact replica of the famous Harry's Bar in Venice, the storied haunt of Ernest Hemingway, Humphrey Bogart and other celebrities. That first Cipriani outpost is faithfully replicated here, adjacent to the Sherry-Netherland hotel lobby and serving a menu of fresh Venetian cuisine—like calf's liver and fillet of sole—as well as the Bellini, Cipriani's classic blend of white peach juice and prosecco, which was first served in 1948 at the original Harry's Bar. This location also features new spins on the Bellini, like the Sweet Maggie, incorporating rum and fresh mint, and the Sweet Emy, in which gin and sliced orange are added.
Cole Bar'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, the bar's edgily dignified setting befits its historical pedigree. A clientele of businesspeople, celebrities and other regulars have found 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 a grand royal seafood platter, macaroni with fennel sausage and grilled lamb merguez with grapes; 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 space in a refined, luxurious setting. It opens for breakfast and offers a small bites menu and smart cocktails in the evening. Enjoy a morning feast of Scottish smoked salmon scrambled eggs and buttermilk pancakes, or settle in during the evening with friends, choosing from the extensive drinks and wine lists. Bar bites include selections like beignets, buttermilk onion rings and tuna tartare. The drinks menu features the London Bloom, with St. Germain liqueur, muddled basil, cucumber and gin; and the Maple Manhattan, combining bourbon, maple syrup and white cranberry juice.
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 at either 2:30 or 3pm; 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.