In this town, a hotel bar can be a great place for visitors and locals alike to sip trendy cocktails, take in an iconic view or just chill out in pleasant surroundings. These new—or newly tweaked—hotel watering holes have the city covered.
THE LIBRARY AT THE NOMAD
Leather club chairs, Oriental rugs, books climbing to the mahogany rafters: The Library lounge at the NoMad hotel resembles the lived-in lair of a voracious bibliophile. Bookish sippers at this chic Flatiron district newcomer can peruse biographies, French philosophy or a Martha Stewart cookbook. The libations are as smart as the backdrop: potent cocktails, a capacious wine list and a Brooklyn-brewed house ale that’s almost bitter.
Signature drink: Old Alhambra (Islay whisky, sherry, vermouth, crème de cacao).
THE BLUE BAR AT THE ALGONQUIN
Credit John Barrymore, a frequent guest at the Algonquin hotel, with the Blue Bar’s name and its moody blue light—the kindest for a hangover, the actor used to say. Freshly renovated with even more blue light, the wood-paneled theater district bar emanates All About Eve glamour while serving up strong classic cocktails to a lively mix of locals, visitors and culture buffs.
Signature drink: the Matilda, named for the hotel cat (vodka, Cointreau, lemon, orange juice, sparkling wine).
THE ROOF BAR AT POD 39
In warm-weather months, you can enjoy jaw-dropping city views and breezy drinks (Mexican beer, cocktails infused with herbs and fruit) at this 17th-floor rooftop bar. The moderately priced Pod 39 hotel, which opened in summer 2012 with 366 mini rooms, occupies a 1916 Gothic brick tower designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon. Its sundeck, which has arched openings and Corinthian columns, is reminiscent of a Roman ruin. And while you’re there, you can gaze up at another tower designed by the same architect: the Empire State Building.
Signature drink: the Fly by Night (gin, lemon juice, cinnamon–vanilla bean, orange blossom, sea salt).
TWO E AT THE PIERRE HOTEL
Windowless and serene, this swanky black-and-white lounge fits its sophisticated East Side neighborhood like a cashmere glove. Classic cocktails and wines are accompanied by Parmesan cheese, olives and chips presented on silver trays. But Two E, which was created when the elegant Pierre was renovated a couple of years back, harbors an adventurous soul. Bar menus change frequently and feature au courant specialty drinks, like barrel-aged cocktails, and molecular mixology.
Signature drink: the Pierre Sparkle (gin, litchi liquor, St. Germain, champagne).
THE LOOPY DOOPY BAR AT CONRAD NEW YORK
The name is whimsically apt—“Loopy Doopy” refers to the towering Sol Lewitt mural in the hotel lobby. And the views of the Hudson River and Lady Liberty are so spectacular, it’s no surprise that this sporty alfresco newcomer is the go-to hotel bar in Battery Park when it’s open (May through October, weather permitting). Festive cocktails and Prosecco on tap help fuel the party atmosphere on the banquette-lined wooden deck.
Signature drink: Prosecco & Popsicle (a frozen watermelon mojito on a stick in a glass of Prosecco).
JIMMY AT THE JAMES
This sexy year-round roof bar, atop SoHo’s newish 18-floor James Hotel, offers a slew of attractions: a lounge with a fireplace that calls to mind a 1970s bachelor pad, an open-air pool deck and (drumroll, please) 360-degree views of Manhattan, the rivers and beyond. Drinks range from the classics to wildly experimental and are spiked with herbs from the hotel garden.
The Library at the Nomad: 1170 Broadway, at 28th St.; 212.796.1500; thenomadhotel.com
The Blue Bar at the Algonquin: 59 W. 44th St.; 212.840.6800; algonquinhotel.com
The Roof Bar at Pod 39: 145 E. 39th St.; 212.865.5700; thepodhotel.com
Two E at the Pierre Hotel: Fifth Ave. at 61st St.; 212-838-8000; tajhotels.com
The Loopy Doopy Bar at Conrad New York: 102 North End Ave.; 212-945-0100; conradhotels3.hilton.com
Jimmy at the James: 27 Grand St.; 212-465-2000; jameshotels.com
NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.