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best hotel bars?

g
growler Mar 30, 2001 04:21 PM

Last week, after a gigantic birthday dinner at The Palm (not as good as Luger's, but still pretty darn good), my friends and I trekked to The Campbell Apartment, above Grand Central. Ugh. Overpriced "fancy" drinks and too-loud bad jazz. Slobbily dressed patrons. A beautiful room, yes, but the feel was just too EPCOTlike for our tastes.

So, in search of true swank, we made our way to one of my old favorites, The Blue Bar at the Algonquin. Walked in to competent though not-too-attentive service from an old waiter. There was nonstop Sinatra playing (might be a drawback for some, but I love Frank, and it was my birthday celebration after all). Plus, the bartender made a _perfect_ Sidecar. And best of all was some pretty good people-watching, like the rebounding-from--his-divorce guy with the younger woman, the Japanese tourists, and the Dorothy Parker wannabe sitting at the bar flirting.

I've been to a few other hotel bars I like -- the King Cole, Top of the Tower, etc. Just wondering which ones folks here like best, and why.

  1. d
    david sprague Mar 31, 2001 01:11 PM

    absolutely love top of the tower because, well, as everyone knows, an elevator ride after three vodkas is one of life's finest experiences!

    seriously, that place manages to straddle extravagance and comfort with unusual grace, something that cannot be said for the plethora of wanna-be joints that have opened in recent years (like the hellhole in the mercer).

    i also like the bar in the gramercy park hotel. nothing fancy, but good, comfy seating, nice bartenders and lack of attitude all help out immensely.

    1. k
      K. McB. Apr 2, 2001 03:20 PM

      Agreed on the Campbell Apartments. They have so much to work with yet they haven't a clue.

      I may be so tacky to self-promote, here's a link to a historic hotel bar story I wrote a while back.
      NOTE: If this is verboten, no problem, go ahead and censor me....

      Link: http://www.retroactive.com/images/jan...

      1 Reply
      1. re: K. McB.
        g
        growler Apr 5, 2001 05:17 PM

        Thanks for the pointer. I forwarded that to a friend; we recently closed the King Cole Bar on my last night as a smoker. Perfect place to indulge in my now-former (I hope) habit.

        Now I'll have to check out some of those others in the article.

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