Whether it’s your wedding anniversary or an important first date, the bar you pick should be as special as the occasion. You need a spot with class, gorgeous decor and, of course, delicious drinks. From the regal, modern setting of The Living Room at the Park Hyatt, to the decadently airy, Art Noveau stylings of Sauvage in Brooklyn, here are ten of the most beautiful bars in New York for your next special night out.
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Don your best blazer (or cocktail dress) because this stunning lounge inside the Park Hyatt Hotel (on Billionaires’ Row) is beyond luxe. Located on the third floor of the hotel, the bar features floor to ceiling glass windows that offer views of Carnegie Hall and Manhattan. With modular mirrored sculptures dividing the space, and enviably chic couches and loveseats, drinking at the Living Room is like being at an uber-posh soirée in a sleek Upper West Side high-rise. Start with a glass of Champagne at the bar, then move to the plush, pillowed couches for a cocktail. If you can, try to start your evening early so you can really get the most out of those massive, light-letting windows.
This dimly lit speakeasy is tucked away behind an unmarked door in Village Yokocho, a Japanese izakaya. Romantic vibes permeate the mahogany bar, which sits beneath a lush, Renaissance-style mural, drawing the attention of everyone in the room. When it comes to drinks, there are few bars in New York that match the dedication to craft at Angel’s Share. With cocktails that are as alluring on the palate as they are on the eyes and an awe-inspiring display of barmanship at work, this East Village hideaway is worth the extra effort to seek out.
With an antiquated spiral staircase imported from the South of France, luxe plush seating and lacquered wooden bookshelves loaded with thousands of books (which you’re welcome to read), this bar is the definition of opulence. Expect an encyclopedia-sized list of extravagantly complex cocktails from Eleven Madison Park alum and award-winning mixologist Leo Robitschek. While reading up on your cocktail history, you can also enjoy bottle service for the low(ish) cost of $275 a bottle, which includes mixers to concoct your own beverage magic.
This is not the first time we’ve waxed poetic about this Greenpoint, Brooklyn, bar. On top of sporting one of our favorite cocktail menus and the best damn Martini in New York, this beloved bar also happens to have one of the most beautifully well-designed spaces we’ve seen in recent years. Unlike most cocktail bars that maintain the dark, stuffy stylings of a 1920s speakeasy with dark wood, exposed brick and Edison bulbs, Sauvage is the exact opposite. Taking cues from seaside towns in Southern France with open air, natural light and fresh colorways, the bar mixes old world, haute interior design with touches of Art Nouveau and clean modernity. The back bar is made of glass and elegant glitzy brass, which is everywhere, down to the shakers and bar spoons the staff use. In the summer, this is the bar where you want to spend the entire afternoon, sipping a cocktail with the breeze on your back, as you bask in the beauty of the room.
Inspired by Woody Allen’s time-traveling comedy Midnight in Paris, this central Manhattan bar has four different themed rooms that represent specific time periods and famous people in history, including an Abraham Lincoln-themed room with 1860s stylings, velvet high-backed chairs, and plush settees; the JFK room, which resembles a set piece out of the fifth season of Mad Men; and the F. Scott Fitzgerald room, which has shimmering crystal curtains that stream down from the ceiling (Champagne and Martinis anyone?). But our favorite room is the Marie Antoinette room, a gorgeous recreation of the architecture and furniture that one would find in the Palace of Versailles. Whatever room you choose, the experience is unique and enchanting each time you visit.
A must-visit any time you’re uptown (or at any of the galleries on Museum Row), Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, named after the artist Ludwig Bemelmans, is one of the most beautifully designed bars in the Big Apple. Famous for the beloved Madeline series, Bemelmans painted the whimsical mural inside the bar in exchange for residence at the hotel with his family. A wonderful experience for fans of the artist’s work and the uninitiated alike, with opulent deco stylings, live jazz and bartenders in formal attire, Bemelmans Bar is a unique experience that feels out of step with time.
The Midtown Manhattan bar is not only one of the most beautiful cocktail bars in the city, it is also an integral part of cocktail history. The signature King Cole bar cocktail is the Red Snapper, invented by bartender Fernand Petiot in 1934. Many mixologists consider it the progenitor of the Bloody Mary. Still served today, the drink is a robust, vodka-heavy take on the brunch staple. Equally as iconic is the giant mural that hangs behind the bar, which was painted in 1906 by famous neoclassical painter Maxfield Parish. Frequented by decades of glitterati, the King Cole bar was a favorite of Salvador Dali and John Lennon, and it was featured in many iconic New York-centric films.
This West Village bar is the definition of whimsical. Filled with knick-knacks hidden throughout the bar, bright vivacious art, and divey, bygone-era palm tree wallpaper, Happiest Hour’s interior evokes the mood of a set piece in a lost Wes Anderson film set in a Florida Beach motel in the 1960s. You can tell every decoration in the room was meticulously chosen to complete the bar’s unique aesthetic. With crowds of people as beautifully dressed as they are attractive, this high-end cocktail bar is the place to be seen on a Friday or Saturday night.
When you enter Sisters, the first thing you say to yourself is, “Wow, wow, wow.” Bright white with astute lines and natural wood finishes, this Clinton Hill bar is a cavernous, modern architectural feat. During the day, the main room is filled with sunlight through giant pyramid-shaped skylights. At night, soft white orbs glitter in the stark whiteness of the room. In the back of the establishment, there’s a second bar and a small stage (for live music) enshrouded in beautiful, soft, honey-colored hardwood from floor to ceiling—evoking the interior of a ski lodge designed by David Lynch.
Designed and built by Ben Schneider, the husband of executive chef and co-owner Sohui Kim, this Gowanus-based Korean restaurant and cocktail lounge is gorgeous and completely unique. Inspired by Chinese restaurant tiki bars like the infamous Staten Island bar Jade Island, Insa’s decor is a hodge-podge of Asian knick-knacks, Twin Peaks-esque lighting and insanely detailed woodwork. Everything from the back bar to the bartop to the plush red velvet banquette seating was handmade by Schneider and his talented crew. To add to the groovetastic atmosphere, there’s a life-sized psychedelically illuminated cherry tree behind the bar. There’s even a TV screen embedded into the liquor shelf behind a fish tank that loops videos of tropical fish, sharks and other aquatic life.