The Best Hotel Bars in the U.S.
The Best Hotel Bars in the U.S.
These spectacular on-site hotel bars around the country show just how far the category has come.
By Brad Japhe
Global Tastemakers is our first-ever reader’s choice awards, celebrating the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. F&W readers voted based on travel completed within the past three years, on categories including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. Due to the limitations of pandemic travel, this year’s Global Tastemakers winners reflect a smaller portion of the globe. In many categories, we’re including an editor’s pick to shout out some more culinary destinations in places you can’t miss. See all the winners at foodandwine.com/globaltastemakers.
The hotel bar is among the great leisure spaces in life, where travelers can slow down and truly enjoy the simple pleasures of time off. While this special sort of watering hole has always played a vital role at hotels, it’s only in recent years that on-site bars have considerably upped their cocktail credentials.
Today, no high-end hotel can be taken seriously if it hasn’t allocated significant time and real estate to an on-site bar displaying a sophisticated cocktail program. Here, find the Global Tastemakers winners for Best On-Site Hotel Bars, as voted by our readers. These ten outposts will whip up wonder in the glass, or just provide you with a darn fine pour of local craft beer on draft. Either way, you’ll never go thirsty.
Twin Farms: Barnard, Vermont
The Pub is the preferred gathering spot of this charming Relais & Chateaux property in central Vermont. Its appeal is rooted in a farmhouse aesthetic: wooden beams and paneling, vaulted ceilings, and sconces galore. Then, there are the drinks — leaning heaving into local sourcing. Craft beer fanatics can sip on pints of Heady Topper or Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Cocktail mavens might prefer a Boulevardier made with WhistlePig rye, which is bottled just a few miles down the road. Even the glassware here comes from Green State artisans. You’re left with an experience you just can’t find anywhere else.
C Lazy U Ranch: Grand County, Colorado
This four-star hotel is secluded in the mountains, two hours west of Denver. It’s not exactly a setting that screams, “cosmopolitan craft.” And yet, that’s precisely what you’ll spy on the menu here. For all the surprises on the beer and spirit side, however, it’s the wine cellar that will leave you in awe. Head sommelier Tony Collier has compiled a massive cellar including more than 400 separate labels, spanning Old World all-stars to up-and-coming boutique brands. Any questions? Good, because there is nothing this staff appreciates more than sharing their passion for great beverages.
L’Auberge de Sedona: Sedona, Arizona
There are several spots in which you can enjoy quality beverages at this relaxing retreat below the red rocks. But the star of the show is Cress Bar, billed as a “natural haven from daily life.” Specialty cocktails here include enhanced variations on the classics, like the Duck Hunter — an Old Fashioned with rum, amaro, and Irish whiskey added for good measure — and adult versions of orange creamsicles as well as green apple pie. The fact that it’s not a boisterous brand of drinking den is a feature rather than a flaw: an outsized collection of high-end wines and whiskies encourage extended opportunities for quiet contemplation.
Hotel Figueroa: Los Angeles, California
Hotel Figueroa counts four food and beverage venues across its historic downtown digs. Explore them all if you can. And when it’s time for inventive cocktail creations, you’ll want to beeline to Bar Magnolia, just off the lobby entrance. A concise and colorful collection of offerings leverage unexpected modifiers like fluffy pineapple, collagen, and Chartreuse infused with bee pollen. Even more surprising is how balanced and accessible the resulting drinks are — particularly if you arrive during the Monday through Friday 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour, when they’re priced at just $10 a pour.
The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island: Amelia Island, Florida
The stately Lobby Bar is not messing around when it comes to bourbon — or anything else, for that matter. It kicks things off with the daily ritual of First Call, when the property’s own expression of single barrel whiskey is run through a constantly evolving infusion of fruits and spices over a minimum of six hours. The liquid that pours out is as unique as the presentation itself. It’s also a great setting for unwinding with a margarita in hand. Savor the ocean views with a signature preparation of the tequila cocktail topped with Mumm Champagne.
Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans: New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans’ hottest new high-end hotel is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. You can enjoy bespoke beverages in either of its fine-dining restaurants: Alon Shaya’s Miss River, or Donald Link’s Chemin a la Mar. Just make sure you end up at the Chandelier Bar for nightcaps. That’s where beverage manager Hadi Ktiri is shining a spotlight upon the city’s heralded heritage of mixology. Sazeracs and French 75s are on heavy rotation as you might suspect. But his modern take on the classic tipples are just as worthy of your time.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows: Scottsdale, Arizona
Whether alfresco at the Turquoise Pool Bar & Grille or indoors at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, the Andaz Scottsdale is ready to please even the most discerning of imbibers. The art here is in the curation. They don’t have the largest collection of spirits or wines by the glass, but every option is excellent, and the overall range is one of admirable breadth. Are you feeling an earthy Nebbiolo for sunset? Perhaps a berry-infused amaro sour? Or maybe it’s a tequila highball infused with peppers and radish that’ll tickle your fancy? Whatever it is that floats your boat, you’ve found your ultimate desert oasis under the shadow of Camelback Mountain.
Hotel Monteleone: New Orleans, Louisiana
The Carousel Bar is the undisputed king of the Quarter. Forget just this section of New Orleans — you’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler concept for a hotel lounge anywhere. It’s a 25-seat merry-go-round, which makes a complete revolution in approximately the time it takes to finish a proper cocktail. But it’s not just a gimmick. It’s downright fun to get lost in conversation with your drinking buddies — or the friendly bar staff — and then look up at the room from an entirely different vantage point than the one from which you started. It’s also an incredibly historic locale. Among other credentials, this is where the Vieux Carré was invented back in 1938.
TWA Hotel: New York, New York
The TWA Hotel provides an unparalleled portal to the past. It’s impossible to resist the charm of this throwback to the golden era of aviation. And from the Sunken Lounge, you can drink literally it all in with a menu of retro ‘60s cocktails. Most guests here, however, opt to take the experience to a whole new altitude at the Connie Cocktail Lounge. It’s a 75-seat speakeasy within a vintage 1958 Lockheed Constellation aircraft — parked just outside the former terminal. The menu consists of a varied assortment of $17 selections that shift with the seasons.
Bellagio, Las Vegas: Las Vegas, Nevada
Our Global Tastemakers were undoubtedly wooed by the more than two dozen food and beverage options to be found across this celebrated Vegas landmark. But those high marks have as much to do with quality as they do quantity. Especially in regards to the Lily Bar & Lounge: a lavish 3,400-square-foot drinking den featuring upscale furnishings and elegant booze offerings. Another standout just off the casino floor is the Baccarat Bar. It earns high marks for an expansive martini menu to go along with a wide selection of cigars.View Article