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New York’s best hotel bars: Raising the bar

21/10/2018 / by admin

Le Bain at the Standard High Line. Le Bain at the Standard High Line.
Wuxi Plastic Surgery

Le Bain at the Standard High Line.

Le Bain at the Standard High Line.

Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel.

The Ides at Wythe Hotel.

Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle.

For a city that supposedly never sleeps, New York has a lot of hotels, from modest cabins modelled on an ocean-liner to expansive penthouses overlooking the world’s most famous skyline. It also has a lot of hotel bars, running a similar gamut from plain Jane to lavish opulence.

In many cities, a hotel bar is for guests seeking a quiet respite. New York, by contrast, treats them like public haunts, and the city floods in to get away from its own hustle and bustle. It is not unusual for residents to get caught up in the maelstrom of Midtown and, though they live less than two blocks away, flee into the New York Palace for happy hour in the serene courtyard of the Palace Gate.

For the traveller, hotel bars offer an additional attraction: they are distillations of the city outside. Visiting a few of New York’s best hotel bars is to toast the full spectrum of New York itself, from its high-society elite to its lingering nostalgia for a golden jazz age.

And the best part? After you’re done, the bed is only an elevator-ride away.   Gatsby-style: Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel

There are many coveted addresses in New York, though few can boast a private park. The only one on the island of Manhattan, Gramercy Park, is locked around the clock, accessible to no one except local residents and guests at the Gramercy Park Hotel, which holds one key.

In many respects the Gramercy Park Hotel is a “grande dame” of New York hotels. Bob Marley and John F Kennedy were regular guests, and Babe Ruth was thrown out of the bar once. Favoured by actors, artists and writers for decades, the hotel in its current incarnation bears the decorative stamp of Oscar-winner Julian Schnabel, mixing European grandeur with an irreverent American playfulness.

Though insiders will tell you the real jewel is found on the roof, the Gramercy Terrace is open only for private events now. While you plan your lavish birthday party for that space, the Rose Bar downstairs offers an incomparable setting for a late-night cocktail alongside the Maarten Bass billiards table. Exquisite art by Warhol and Damien Hirst line the walls, and a rotating music showcase brings the likes of Rufus Wainwright to the floor.

Cocktail that sums it up: Bohemian Side Car, which mixes Hennessy cognac with a wisp of absinthe. 

(2 Lexington Ave; Gramercyparkhotel整形美容医院m).High in the sky: Le Bain at the Standard High Line

Sex and the City made it cool, the High Line made it fascinating, but The Standard is what makes the Meatpacking District a must-see destination. Straddling the elevated park and offering everything from a German biergarten to installation art (most recently a “light cave”), this unpredictable hotel draws business travellers and the Fashion Week crowd alike. It is knotted and chaotic, often spilling on to the street, and its greatness comes from a feeling that the whole place is run like a human zoo.

Best is Le Bain, a penthouse discotheque with one of the best views in the city. If unimpeded views downtown to the Freedom Tower and uptown to the Hells Kitchen are not enough, there’s also a plunge pool in the dance floor (towels are provided), and a crêperie on an AstroTurfed rooftop fenced in with glass. The drinks are outrageously expensive, but the parties are just plain outrageous (learn the passwords for faster access). Indeed, there’s no better spot in New York if you’re looking for something to brag about back home. Dress sharp.

Cocktail that sums it up: Vodka Soda, the drink with the fewest calories.

(848 Washington St; Standardhotels整形美容医院m/high-line). Every hour is happy hour: Lobby Bar at Ace Hotel 

Real estate comes at a premium in Manhattan, but freelance creatives wanting an office have found the perfect solution: occupy a bar. Walk into the lobby of the Ace Hotel, a New York version of the Seattle and Portland mainstays, and you’re confronted by a glowing assembly of laptop computers. Patrons are sipping Stumptown coffee, or throwing back a highball from the Lobby Bar to help break their writer’s block.

In line with the Ace aesthetic, the space evokes a trendy lodge, like a Ralph Lauren showroom handed over to disaffected hipsters. Lighting is low, armchairs are plaid, there’s a photo booth and old biology posters, and those two badgers in the glass box are stuffed originals. The staff uniform appears to be skinny jeans and a stretched-out tie.

While not for everybody, this is an indelible scene of the city, and it makes a convenient escape from the chaotic excesses of 5th Avenue.

Cocktail that sums it up: Rock the Casbah (shaken, with irony).

(20 West 29th St; acehotel整形美容医院m).Timeless class: Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle 

Back on Manhattan, The Carlyle was once, and remains, the city’s most elegant address – so much so, that when management commissioned Ludwig Bemelmans, famous for his Madeline books, to paint a giant mural in the hotel bar in 1947, he exchanged payment for a year and a half of free accommodation.

Restored in 2002, Bemelmans’ mural is a sweeping love letter to Central Park: giraffes tip their hats to each other, rabbits smoke cigars at picnics, a thief robs the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a rather familiar nun corrals two lines of uniformed schoolgirls near a bandstand. Throw in romantic low lighting and a ceiling covered with 24-karat gold leaf and what you get is the best hotel bar in Manhattan. On most nights there’s even an accomplished pianist tickling the ivories with beloved classics, or Woody Allen if you’re extra lucky. Bemelmans remains as fresh, elegant and quintessentially New York as it ever was.

Cocktail that sums it up: Patron Starlet, though, unsurprisingly, the most popular drink is a vodka martini.

(35 East 76th St; Rosewoodhotels整形美容医院m/en/carlyle).Brooklyn, baby: The Ides at Wythe Hotel

Even as Brooklyn has shifted the centre of gravity in New York, pulling much of the life and culture of the city across the East River, the hotel scene has lagged, preferring the tested shores of Manhattan. That began to change when Wythe Hotel transformed a 1901 Williamsburg factory into a spectacular showcase of the borough’s characteristic style. Indeed, Wythe is Brooklyn in miniature: the idolatry of vintage, industrial chic, young confidence, shameless innovation.

On the roof is The Ides, which has the tremendous good fortune to offer views of the legendary New York skyline. The generous courtyard looks back at the city from the riverside – a view that is so overwhelming everything else is kept to a minimum, including a small inside space, marble tables, and muted red banquettes. The line for entry can be long, but the crowd is unassuming and drinks are reasonably priced. This is the perfect place to start an evening, before you dive into the wonder that is the Brooklyn culinary scene.

Cocktail that sums it up: Dark and Stormy, because of all that hipster angst.

(80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn; wythehotel整形美容医院m).

The writer travelled at his own expense. TRIP NOTESMORE INFORMATION

nycgo整形美容医院mGETTING THERE

United Airlines flies from Sydney to New York daily, transiting in San Francisco. See united整形美容医院m.   STAYING THERE

All of the hotels listed offer comfortable and well-located accommodation. See individual websites for details.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.

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