12 Best Hotel Bars In New York City

Sipping libations at one of New York City's iconic hotel bars can be a right of passage for both locals and visitors. Hotel bars can range from stately ones like The Plaza Hotel to intimate spaces where celebrities rub elbows with influencers. New York City truly offers a spectrum of hotel properties for anyone looking for the right setting for a strong drink. Our selections of hotel bars are ones where the focus is on craft cocktails, curated vintages, and cold steins. Many of these same establishments also serve excellent meals. The ambiance, of course, is also an important factor.

Despite the allure of recognizable names, such as The St. Regis, the hotel bars that made the cut were about the quality of the bar more than the hotel. We focused on some of the more unique bars in New York City — some soak in views of Central Park, and others overlook Times Square. The many rooftop bars available in the city might excite people looking to enjoy the outdoors with a drink in their hand. Live music and crystal chandeliers compensate for a city skyline view for others. These hotel bars offer something for everyone.

Darling at Park Lane

Guests and locals alike are typically prepared to visit at least a handful of the many New York City landmarks when in town, not to mention deciding between the many places available to eat and drink. Walking the halls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is on many people's lists, and strolling through Central Park is another top-rated activity. But sipping blended cocktails from a rooftop overlooking the city's most iconic park is a rare treat reserved for a lucky few. At least, it used to be. 

This is where the Darling rooftop bar shines. Visitors gain panoramic views of the south end of Central Park from the 47th-floor bar. Art deco furniture, lush wallpaper, and an abundance of jewel tones (a very popular vibe with the craft cocktail Renaissance scene) create a date-night atmosphere. An enclosed wraparound patio with fake palms, real greenery, and wicker seating adds to the feeling of "we're not in New York City anymore." The city views and chic crowds will help remind you that there is no place like home — or like visiting the Big Apple. For early risers and hotel guests, Darling also serves breakfast with a side of the Manhattan skyline.

Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel

The bar at the Carlyle Hotel is famous for the illustrations covering the walls of this longtime watering hole for celebrities, socialites, and politicians. Bemelmans Bar is graced with murals by artist Ludwig Bemelman, who created drawings for The New Yorker, Vogue, Town and Country, and his Madeline children's book series. The fantastical drawings cover the dining room walls and are inspired by the hotel's location, only one block from Central Park on the Upper East Side. Chilled Magazine says the bar has gotten so popular that it's now on most people's top places to visit, along with The Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Popularity translates into planning ahead if you want to snag a table or seat at the bar, so get there early or make a reservation. Also, plan on paying a cover charge if a jazz band is performing for the evening.

The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel

The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel is not a typical bar, but we're not looking for a typical bar, are we? The Plaza is for a crowd more interested in having a taste of the Regency Era than hearing a DJ set. The Palm Court features a stained-glass dome ceiling built to mimic the original from 1907. Palms, a trellis, and high ceilings are some elements you'll be soaking in during a visit. Evenings offer a cocktail menu with "light bites" available at the grand bar in the center of the room or at a table. The Palm Court is also famous for its servings of high tea, which can be ordered in an elevated yet traditional form, or served with one glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne for a splurge of $125 per person. The High Tea Society claims that the overall experience and the lobster rolls served with the champagne tea made the price tag worth it. High tea around the holidays is especially festive and extravagant thanks to special seasonal menu options and opulent decorations.

The Rum House at Hotel Edison

The Rum House is not a lavish hotel bar designed to attract only high-end clientele. Despite that, the bar does attract its fair share of elite customers. This hotel bar is also in Times Square, but don't let the location scare you off (though you can get great pizza in Times Square). The Rum House offers a clear sense of style, including copper features and dark wood paneling. Thanks to its roots as a jazz club and music venue, the atmosphere is loose and energetic. Bon Appétit suggested trying a daiquiri to understand how tasty the best version of one can be at a serious rum bar. Classic cocktails are the bar's specialty, after all. The Rum House is also a street-level bar in the heart of the theatre district in the Edison Hotel. Punch attributes the current owner's respect for the legacy of the district and the hotel's 80-year run as just a few of the reasons this hotel bar is ideal for a drink before a show or after one as a nightcap. You can't make a reservation, so plan accordingly if you're trying to catch a show.

The Lobby at Ace Hotel Brooklyn

The Lobby is a luxe, dimly lit, and sophisticated option in an unassuming part of the Brooklyn borough. This is the first Ace property in Brooklyn, and it settled in Boerum Hill, a neighborhood known for tree-lined streets and historic brick and brownstone row homes near downtown. The New York Times said the area reminded them of a village, except it's tucked away in the city. Condé Nast Traveler notes the location's garden with plenty of natural light, an abundance of library-esque workspaces, and a happy hour.

The Lobby is an aptly named and spacious bar for aperitifs to drop by before another reservation for dinner or even as the main event. Plush seating, large couches, and furniture with an echo of midcentury modern style are available for anyone who would prefer a comfy alternative to a seat at the bar. The cocktail program is also social media-ready. The hotel bar's simple food menu, including sliders, Brussels sprouts, and baked brie, are familiar takes on bar food. The beer list is curated to include local beers — the Connecticut-made nonalcoholic ale is close enough to the taste of a traditional beer to be worth a try. Live music only adds to the appeal of the neighborhood-focused bar. A full calendar of events includes everything from exhibitions and a movie series to book readings and a pop-up tattoo parlor. This is Brooklyn, after all.

The Bar at Baccarat Hotel

If you're looking for a hotel bar with decadence, The Bar at Baccarat provides a Parisian-inspired ambiance with its nod to the opulence of Versailles. Merlot-colored walls, white seating, and natural woods offer a contrast to the bar's checkerboard flooring. To add to all the luxury, all alcoholic drinks are served in Baccarat crystal, which pairs well with the Baccarat chandeliers overhead. This is the type of New York City bar that gives a glimpse into how the 1% live.

Infatuation found that The Bar menu features a whopping $450 cocktail, but most drinks will cost around $26 each. The experience of sipping cocktails near a marble bust while feeling like Catherine the Great might just be worth the cost. The Bar also serves a full menu with salads, tuna tartar, cheese plates, and caviar for the table. The Baccarat property also features an interactive alcove called The Library, seasonal outdoor seating for cocktails at Le Jardin, and afternoon tea in the Grand Salon, according to the hotel's site.

The Jane Ballroom at The Jane Hotel

The West Village is known for its eclectic range of bars and dining options, luring travelers and locals on the weekends. The Jane Hotel offers a chance to enter a time warp in what is already a historic neighborhood. The architect who built Ellis Island's immigrant station is said to have built what was known as the American Seaman's Friend Society Sailors' Home and Institute in 1908. The Jane Hotel's origin as a hotel for sailors somewhat explains this New York hotel's unexpected boat-style lodging. The New York Times reports survivors of the Titanic stayed in the hotel in 1912. Rooms include bunk beds or single beds with a shared bathroom down the hall for the majority of the property. Still, the opulence of the hotel makes its lobby bar complete with a ballroom worth a visit when in Manhattan.

The Jane Ballroom bar is open Friday and Saturday for the public to sip cocktails under candelabras paired with a giant disco ball. The kitsch is a sight to see. The crowds at the bar can be a true challenge if there is an event. Call ahead to see if there is an opening at the rooftop bar, or rent it for your next private event if that's how you like to operate.

The Mark Bar at The Mark

If irreverence and animal prints are more your style, then hop on over to The Mark Bar. Despite the cow-print chairs, The Mark Bar's motif leans toward edgy rather than western. This Madison Avenue hotel bar is steps from Central Park in a landmark building built in 1927. The lobby floor is dizzying black and white stripes, which set the tone for a hotel and bar that are art as they are. Fodor's Travel explains the bar is ideal for powerful people (and we'll add people watching to that statement, too), but the $25 a drink menu doesn't lend itself to a wild crowd. The Mark Bar is ideal for a sip away from the summer heat for anyone looking to pair a visit to Central Park or the MoMa with a classic cocktail afterward.

The Upper East Side hotel is known for catering to the luxury travelers heading to Bergdorf Goodman and celebrities attempting to stay private, says Condé Nast Traveler. The site says Meghan Markle even held a baby shower on the 16th floor. The luxury travel site also recommends the cucumber and mint gin martini from The Mark Bar, as well as the bar snacks ranging from calamari to chips and guacamole.

Le Bain at the Standard Hotel

The Standard Hotel chain is known for its image of pushing boundaries. The Standard, High Line hotel in the Meatpacking district is no different. The High Line is a former train line turned elevated public park. This hotel towers on cement stilts, and visitors can walk underneath the building. The high-rise hotel features its discotheque, Le Bain, on the top floor for dancing, drinks, and dramatic views of the city. The Standard offers multiple bars and grill options with plenty of flair, as is expected of a hotel brand that used to hire models and artists to lounge in a glass case in the lobby of the Standard, Hollywood location, says Culture Trip.

Fodor's Travel recommends taking in the sunset and the DJs at this New York City rooftop bar, but arrive early if you want to avoid waiting in line at the door. You won't need a reservation for Le Bain if you're planning on standing at the bar or breaking it down on the dance floor. But, prepare for a minimum purchase requirement for any table service — and don't forget the reservations. Stay on the ground floor if a Sunday disco isn't your vibe. The Biergarten is an ample open-air (in the summer) bar with games such as ping pong and traditional German menu options to pair with your beer stein.

The Bowery Lobby at The Bowery Hotel

For all the disco balls or chandeliers you might find in hotel bars across New York City, a moody bar with velvet, dark wood, and dim lights is still a staple. The Bowery Lobby bar proves this point as it's a popular destination for its massive fireplaces and deep-seated chairs in a Victorian supper club setting. Plan to stay awhile, especially on a cold or windy night in the city. Goop finds the location at the convergence of Noho, the East Village, and Nolita to be especially appealing.

TimeOut says the bartenders are competent, and the drinks are on the expensive side. The site suggests ordering a classic sidecar or the Bowery cocktail, but not to bother trying to have dinner if you're not planning to sleep over — only guests of the hotel can place orders from the restaurant. Fortunately, the bar's location is situated near some of the best food districts in the city. You can always walk to Chinatown or the East Village to satisfy any cravings.

The Roof at Public Hotel

Rooftop bars are dotted all over New York City thanks to the proliferation of skyscrapers reaching ever-higher levels to accommodate demand. The New York City bar scene is, arguably, better for it. Public Hotel features its rooftop location on the Lower East Side. The Roof is ideal for people looking for views and flexibility, thanks to the ability to bar hop without ever leaving the property. The hotel offers two restaurants, including the Pisco Bar's cocktail program built on its take on the Peruvian spirit, as well as a performance space for adults only. House of X, a ticketed venue requiring planning ahead, is a sleek and sexy Manhattan offshoot of the dance warehouse House of Yes in Bushwick. 

Bar Chrystie is what the brand calls a "theatrical" experience due to the homage to the golden age style of opulence and art deco styling. If all else fails, you can always saunter down to the lobby bar to shoot pool or sit on a sofa large enough to seat you and 30 of your closest friends.

The Regency Bar at Loews Regency New York Hotel

Hotel bars have a way of becoming an institution in a place like New York City. Not all iconic bars and lounges need to flaunt the latest trends or fight for patrons with DJ sets, though. This Park Avenue hotel is not, however, a stuffy dinosaur on the Upper East Side. The atmosphere at The Regency Bar and Grill is refined but not dusty and more elegant than the self-proclamation as the destination for a "power breakfast" might suggest. Yes, people meet at this New York City hotel bar for deals to be made.

The Regency Bar also features a healthy variety of wines by the glass and specialty cocktails to pair with a "locally inspired" bar menu. The adjacent Lobby Lounge is an alternative that offers a respite from the packed bar thanks to cozy seating and a Nina Helms sculpture of a tree spreading across the length of the wall. A few well-made drinks will help any guests ease into the Park Avenue lifestyle.