This winter, opt out of hibernation with our favorite New York City bars that’ll warm you up and keep you cozy — some even have fireplaces to go along with the roster of hot drinks. Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening or a fun place to thaw out, here are seven bars to check out this season.
Class and charm overwhelm at Bemelmans. The iconic bar at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel gets its name from Ludwig Bemelmans, the famed children’s book author and illustrator who painted the whimsical murals that cover the lounge’s walls.
This snug spot serves up some of the city’s best martinis. (These drinks come complete with a Sidecar that’s submerged in ice, so you’re really getting two drinks for the price of one.) Bemelmans Bar also has nightly live jazz, so come early to snag a table. Nightly cover charge applies.
King Cole Bar
For nearly a century, King Cole Bar at Five-Star The St. Regis New York has stood for sophistication and glamour. The elite lounge is perhaps most famous for its signature cocktail created on the premises — the original Bloody Mary (originally coined the Red Snapper as not to offend delicate hotel clientele).
Come warm up with this iconic drink or one of the bar’s creative twists on drinks served at different St. Regis locales around the world. We recommend the bar’s take on St. Regis Osaka’s Shogun Mary, which boasts vodka, gin, lime, tomato juice, soy sauce and wasabi powder.
Upstairs at the Kimberly
Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel is an oasis in Midtown — an enclosed rooftop bar (the roof retracts in the summer) that offers artistically inspired cocktails and small plates in an Art Deco ambience. This spot sits 30 stories high and provides sweeping views of the city and the fallen snow below. Order the Chrysler (inspired by the vista), a champagne concoction made with honey, Hennessy Black cognac and fresh lemon and lime, to make your evening in warmth complete.
Pretend it’s summertime (and not nine degrees) at the bar of this cool, coastal Italian-inspired gem. The sleek, glass-enclosed spot is the perfect place in the Meatpacking District to grab an unpretentious cocktail — not the easiest feat in the area. Flower-shaped Murano glass chandeliers and potted plants scattered throughout the restaurant make you forget that you haven’t actually seen live greenery since September. Go for the gold — an Amalfi Gold, that is — with bourbon, orange, ginger and crème de pêche.
Situated 35 stories high at one of the most posh addresses in the city (inside Columbus Circle’s Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, New York), MO Bar serves up a laid-back, speakeasy vibe inspired by the elegance of the 1930s. Deep red walls, velvet and leather seating set this destination apart from other hotel bars that have a more corporate feel.
We recommend the ginger mojito or the Gratification (champagne, cognac, Grand Marnier, yuzu juice and agave nectar). Either glass of sunshine is guaranteed to make you forget about the extreme conditions just outside the door.
Hidden below Chelsea Market is this super-cozy, subterranean winner. Exposed brick, reclaimed water tower wood and old train rails from the Highline give the place a hip vibe. The bar is always bustling but, luckily, brings in a pretty relaxed crowd. Order a Lushie of the Day, a frozen, blended cocktail that changes daily, and visualize yourself somewhere enjoying it with sand tickling between your toes.
The Lobby Bar at The Bowery Hotel
Easily one of the most opulent bars in the city, this room begs you to get comfy with plenty of velvet, dark woods, Persian rugs and a roaring fireplace. Knowledgeable staff and bartenders will make you anything you want to shake off the chill, but we recommend keeping it classic with a Manhattan — it’s a smart fit for the Art Deco décor. Guests of the East Village hotel can also order food off the lounge restaurant’s menu and get priority for the limited bar seating.