I’ve always had an attraction to hotel bars with history. It’s almost like going to a museum, with cocktails. In addition to great drinks, the best places (like Peacock Alley inside the Waldorf Astoria) also have great architecture and well-preserved details like a chiming clock in the center of the lobby — and fabulously old-school bartenders who can spin a tale as well as shake a drink. With all those elements in place, it’s practically a time machine.
Those are the bars I sought out when setting the agenda for my Historic Hotel Bars & Restaurants walking tour, which I’m doing again next week for the 92nd St. Y Tribeca. (It may be full now, I’m not sure.)
For fun, I pulled together a “cheat sheet” of hotel bars I tried out for the tour (see image below – click on it and it should open up to full, easy-reading size). Anything that didn’t rate a triple ‘YES” (if not a “HELL YES!”) wasn’t even considered for the walking tour. And of course, some tri-Y’s were sadly out of walking distance.
A disclaimer: this is something I created for (my) entertainment purposes, and represents my opinions and sometimes cloudy and/or boozy recollections. It’s not even close to a complete list of all historic bars in the city. Take this as gospel at your own risk.
And an invitation: if you have other historic or semi-historic hotel bars to suggest adding to this list, I’m happy to give ‘em a go and if I have enough to add, I’ll post an update to this list. Enjoy!