The Best Hotel Bar in All 50 States
If you’re set on seeing everything this great nation of ours has to offer, you’ll need a place to stay in every state—and you’ll need a drink when you get there. Hotel bars are the ultimate comfort bars, letting tourists relax with a cocktail after exploring a new area and hosting locals who just want to stop in for a touch of local luxury. Wherever you’re headed, you’ll find one of these excellent hotel bars waiting for you.
When you hear about a bar called Moon Shine in Alabama, you probably imagine a rough and tumble whiskey bar or maybe just a shack in the woods. While we would happily drink at either of those establishments, lovers of hotel bars will be happy to learn that Moon Shine is actually a classy rooftop bar perched above the Elyton Hotel, where small bites like crab claws and pork belly pizza are paired with craft cocktails.
Alaska: The Alaskan Hotel & Bar, Juneau
The oldest hotel in Southeast Alaska is also the best in the state thanks to its homey bar. The bar hosts live music every night of the week, including an open mic night during which Alaskan locals show off their skills. The drinks may not be anything special, but you’re here for the atmosphere and amateur covers of John Denver. So order a Boilermaker and kick back.
This bright, funky, ‘50s modernist hotel in Scottsdale was a hideaway for mid-century Hollywood stars fleeing the paparazzi across state lines, until the property fell into disrepair. When it was bought and revived in 2005 by a local hospitality group, the hotel also received a few upgrades, including ZuZu Lounge, which fits perfectly with the original modernist stylings of the hotel. The lounge’s cocktails playfully employ flavors of the Southwest, including the From the Ashes (a perfect name for the restored hotel), which calls for mesquite-flavored whiskey and prickly pear.
This beehive-themed restaurant and bar has gotten a good amount of buzz (sorry) for its James Beard-nominated chef Matthew McClure, but the cocktail program is equally worthy of attention. The 21c chain is rooted in Louisville, so drinkers can get their fill of Kentucky bourbon out in Arkansas. Meanwhile, seasonal cocktails rotate through the menu. Currently, we’re especially drawn to the vacation-appropriate Oaxaca Holiday, which is made with mezcal, sweet vermouth, Cappelletti, apricot and aztec chocolate.
Drinking in LA is less about the drinks and more about the scene (and being seen). The poolside bar at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel is the ultimate Hollywood scene, not because it’s the latest trendy spot that will soon fade from memory in a week, but because it’s essential ‘60s Tinseltown glam. Lounging by the pool with a Martini in the Southern California sun is utterly timeless. And if you find yourself still craving that nouveau drinking experience when the sun sets, you can head to the Roosevelt’s speakeasy, The Spare Room, a leather and dark wood-bedecked bar with two bowling lanes and serious cocktail muscle.
If you’re looking for whiskey in Denver (heck, if you’re looking for whiskey in all of Colorado), head to Hearth and Dram. While the wood-fired oven in the kitchen takes care of the “Hearth” part of the bar’s name, the “Dram” is up to you; you have your choice of over 450 whiskies, with some options on tap and a special reserve list available for those who want to go big on the brown stuff. If straight whiskey’s not your thing, Hearth and Dram has you covered with craft cocktails and local beers too.
Wait a minute—is this Connecticut or Europe? This Spanish tapas bar feels as if it was flown in from Catalonia. The bar’s wine and spirits director, Gretchen Thomas (who also makes one of our favorite tequilas for Margaritas, Libélula), has curated a serious Spanish wine list to pair with traditional bites like gambas al ajillo and jamón. Libélula finds its way into the impressively long cocktail menu in a Margarita relative called El Mestizo (tequila, palo cortado, lemon, agave, nutmeg).
Really, what are you going to do in Wilmington other than drink? And drink you can at The Green Room. From afternoon tea, through pre-dinner aperitifs, to a pre-theater meal before catching a show at the Grand Opera House or Playhouse on Rodney Square, followed by a post-theater drink, you’ll find a decent drink in a decent atmosphere. What more can you ask?
Locations of The Broken Shaker are proliferating rapidly across the country. Now embedded in Freehand hotels in Chicago, Los Angeles and (soon) New York, the Miami original is where it all started. Spread lazily over a backyard pool area crowded with foliage and half-naked drinkers, the bar is completely Miami and yet utterly unique.
As one of our favorite rooftop bars in the country, Rocks on the Roof offers plenty of European fare to sustain visitors, but you’re here for the classic cocktails and barrel-aged beverages. If the feeling of living high on a roof deck gets to you a little, go big on your drink order as well and get yourself the $56 Millionaire’s Margarita, made with Herradura Selección Suprema Triple Añejo Tequila.
Your visit to Hawaii is probably mostly centered around beach time in the sun, so take your drinks right to the brink of the sea at The Edge. The ocean laps up against this restaurant and bar. The tropical cocktails utilize local Hawaiian products where possible, but to truly get the most out of your island tipple, take it to the infinity pool. You can either tan with a drink on one of the lounge chairs set in the pool’s shallow end or grab one of the complementary floaties and bob in the tranquil breeze.
Idaho: The Modern Hotel and Bar, Boise
When you put the word “bar” right in the name of your hotel, you better thrown down some serious drinks. True to its name, The Modern serves some confidently nouveau cocktails, which aptly incorporate lesser known ingredients like damiana, aquavit, macadamia essence and wild hyssop. The real draw is their happy hour, which knocks $3 off their already reasonably priced drinks, bringing some down to $7 (that’s a steal for macadamia essence, mind you). And don’t sleep through the hotel’s brunch either, when you can nab a Bloody Mary spiked with fish sauce and a tequila-and-amaro espresso beverage.
The Cindy’s website implores you to, “Feast with us,” but the bar is as much a feast for the eyes as its fare is for the belly. A frequent Instagram star, the bar above the uber hip Chicago Athletic Association is a divine place to hang among the clouds. Given the magical ambiance the bar achieves at sunset, it’s no surprise the cocktails are referred to as potions and elixirs. We’re especially fans of the dessert menu’s “burning potions,” winter warmers like the Champurrado and Churro, made with Bénédictine, Tempus Fugit crème de cacao, masa, single origin Mexican chocolate, almond, milk, ancho and cinnamon, served with a churro.
Maybe it’s the funky lamps hanging from the ceiling. Maybe it’s the free truffle popcorn served with drinks. Maybe it’s the inventive craft cocktails with fantastic names like Goodnight Moon (with moonshine) and Backwoods Breakfast (with bacon-infused Irish whiskey). Whatever it is that draws you to Plat 99, you’ll want to stick around awhile. If truffle popcorn proves to be not enough to stand up to the many, many delicious cocktails you’ll inevitably down, do yourself a favor and order up some Cuban sliders and bourbon maple cornbread.
Iowa isn’t known for especially modern venues, but don’t tell anyone at The Current that. The starkly modern, chic hotel boasts a massive rooftop bar where you can sip classic cocktails while overlooking the Mississippi River. For a real treat, head downstairs to the hotel’s restaurant, Viva, where you’ll find a private, aged tequila tasting room.
Behind a heavy wooden door and down a set of dark stairs beneath the Ambassador Hotel, you’ll find Dockum, an apothecary-themed speakeasy serving some of the best craft cocktails in Wichita. The bar goes hard on the hush hush speakeasy theme, requiring patrons keep their voices down and sense of decorum up. In the darkened room with ornate leather furniture, you should have no trouble adopting the bar’s lowkey vibe.
Louisville is the flagship location of the 21c Museum Hotel chain, so of course the bar, Proof on Main, is on point. Deep in the heart of bourbon country, you’d expect any hotel to serve a decent selection of whiskey. But Proof on Main goes above and beyond, putting out 120 bourbons to really showcase the state’s native spirit. Plus, if the art in your glass wasn’t enough for you, the hotel offers a museum filled by patrons of the arts, who deck out the space with rotating contemporary exhibits.
All due respect to the foundational Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel—open for nearly a century, birthplace of the Ramos Gin Fizz, yadda, yadda, yadda—but there’s nothing quite like riding the carousel at the Hotel Monteleone as you sip on some of NOLA’s best cocktails. William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and Truman Capote were all fans of the establishment, and if it was good enough for drunken Southern royalty like them, it’s good enough for anyone.
While Portland may be known for small boutiques and up-and-coming venues, the best hotel bar is by one of the big dogs, Westin. But we’ll forgive the corporate feel of the hotel for the view from the rooftop bar, Top of the East, which allows drinkers to sip craft cocktails like the Postcard (Bacardi rum, honey, lime, topped with Prosecco) and the Bayside Basil (Cold River gin, St-Germain, Dolin Blanc vermouth, grapefruit juice) while gazing out over the city’s beautiful landscape.
The iconic owls decorating this 100-plus-year-old bar weren’t always just for show. During Prohibition, the plaster owls stationed by the register would alert guests to whether or not the bar was currently serving liquor (in direct contradiction of the law)—if the owls were blinking, it meant boozy orders were OK, but if the owls stared solemnly, it meant you should keep your order to yourself. These days, most eyes in the bar are attracted to different owls, the stained glass masterpieces that hang over the bar, displayed next to a poem that could act as the bar’s tight-lipped motto: “A wise old owl sat on an oak / The more he saw the less he spoke / The less he spoke the more he heard / Why can't we all be like / that wise old bird?”
Of course, the achingly cool Verb Hotel has a killer bar. Hojoko looks like a tie-dyed, graffiti covered, punk rock izakaya, but that lax attitude carries over into the serious food and drink. From a dedicated Sake Bomb menu with options like coconut-infused Campari and Mexican Fanta, plus serious cocktails, punches and frozen drinks. Hojoko’s late night menu exclusively features fatty bar eats and Japanese whisky. There’s a good chance that if you stay at Verb, you’ll never see the rest of Boston.
This standalone venue attached to the Trumbull and Porter boutique hotel is geared toward the good people of Detroit as much as visitors. The playful menu often includes a rotating section to indulge the bartenders’ more fantastical interests, especially shrubs. An opening menu included five takes on a G&T (gin and tea), while the current menu sports an entire section devoted to all types of brandy (titled, appropriately, “oh, brandy”). Embrace the funky options, like the Peruse the Menu, made with Barsol pisco, lima bean aquafaba and blood orange shrub.
Let the warm tones of live jazz wash over you as you saunter your way into the Lobby Bar of the Saint Paul Hotel. Whether you’re hiding out from the Minnesota winter or merely recovering energy between a day at Como Park Zoo and a night out on the town, The Lobby Bar has plenty of libations stocked to make your stay in Saint Paul even more lively.
The Coop is a chicken coop themed bar. If that sounds confusing, take it from The Coop’s own website: “Cheeky chicken coop motifs atop cool concrete create a hodgepodge of modern farmhouse polish.” We couldn’t have said it better (or more alliteratively). The cocktails, thankfully, do not all incorporate chicken products. The Ms. Ole Miss uses Cathead Vodka, St-Germain, grapefruit, soda and lemon, while the Bite the Bulleit is made with Bulleit Rye, Hoodoo Chicory Liquor, sweet vermouth, bitters, and coffee beans.
An unmarked door, a basement bar, dark wood, intimate booths—P.S. Speakeasy could easily be another staid speakeasy, but the bar’s program keeps things surprisingly fresh. Live music includes not only jazz but also soul, hip-hop and funk, while a monthly informal conversation with a local business leader gives drinkers a new sense of the town. Cocktails skew classic, so settle in with an Aviation or Brown Derby, and take in the scene.
The O’Haire Motor Inn isn’t much to look at from the outside, but take a look in the pool and you’ll find something worth sticking around all night for: Mermaids perform an aquatic show six nights a week (and at Sunday brunch). The show can be seen from the Sip n Dip Lounge’s windows into the pool. The tiki bar serves plenty of brightly hued libations to drink as you watch the mermaids perform (or mermen, should you stop by on Tuesday ladies’ night).
There’s no arguing that the Hotel Deco is downright gorgeous. The building is a historic landmark, and the AAA Four-Diamond hotel has decked out the interior with ritzy panache. Even if you can’t afford to stay in the luxury hotel, you should make a point to stop in at the Monarch bar to experience how Nebraska does high society. Change out of your sweatpants, put on something respectable, and go get yourself a classic cocktail at the brass and navy-studded watering hole. You’d never expect to feel so classy drinking a Sazerac in Nebraska.
Until recently, anyone forced to attend a bachelorette party on the Strip had to endure nightclubs or gamble away their paycheck at the blackjack table in order to get a decent cocktail. But then the Venetian stepped in and saved the day with The Dorsey, a cocktail bar with a menu designed by Sam Ross of New York’s Attaboy. Yes, there is a DJ who brings a clubby vibe late at night, but at least there are drinks like the Haitian Divorce (Demerara rum, mezcal, Pedro Ximenez sherry, bitters) to ease you into the vibe.
Park your yacht (or your dingy, if that’s how you role) at the dock, and climb up to the Latitudes Sky Bar at Wentworth by the Sea, “one of the last grand Portsmouth hotels.” Perched on the coast, the rooftop bar offers a relaxing seaside vantage point on the Piscataqua River. If a tropical cocktail on an outdoor patio doesn’t sound quite right for your wintertime visit, head inside for seafood and cocktails at Salt Kitchen and Bar.
Here’s a golden rule of hotel bars: Find yourself a W Hotel and you will drink well. While Halifax is more of a restaurant than a bar, the chef takes drinking seriously. Not only does he put out a serious, seafood-focused menu, but he also creates his own house vermouth for the bar. Try the vermouth or opt for the bar’s unlimited brunch deal, which gives you a bottle of bubbly and unlimited tapas for $32.
The Apothecary Lounge, which overlooks Albuquerque from the rooftop of the Hotel Parq Central, takes its name seriously, customizing classic cocktails with all sorts of bitters like some sort of old timey, booze-slinging doctor. Feel free to ask for a few dashes of Cranberry, Grapefruit, Orange, Blood Orange, Celery, Aztec Chocolate, Rhubarb, Old Fashioned or Peychaud’s bitters to be added to the bar’s list of old school cocktails or seasonal drinks.
New York: King Cole Bar at the St. Regis, New York
Given the sheer number of visitors the Big Apple receives each year, NYC has more than its fair share of hotel bars. It’s hard to go wrong in a city so devoted to craft cocktails, but if you want a little historic grandeur with your cocktail, head to the St. Regis and sit yourself in front of the massive mural by Maxfield Parrish that adorns the backbar. Order a Red Snapper, the precursor to the Bloody Mary, and pretend you’re back in the 1930s, long before the word “craft” ever got near the word “cocktail.”
North Carolina: The Punch Room at the Ritz Carlton, Charlotte
You wouldn’t think to look in a Ritz Carlton for an intimate drinking experience, but The Punch Room is about as exclusive as it gets. The cozy bar only accepts 37 people at a time and focuses on punches (obviously), so be sure to bring a few friends (not too many, though) with whom you’re comfortable sharing a drink. Should you wish to impress your pals, order The $400 Cocktail, which uses Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac, byrrh, sassafras and sorghum bitters and, true to its name, costs $400.
North Dakota: HoDo Lounge in Hotel Donaldson, Fargo
You’re not going to find high end cocktail bars or chic rooftop eateries in North Dakota, but HoDo Lounge in Fargo is a heck of a lot more hospitable than the movie that shares the town’s name. The HoDo Lounge is “a lesson in being happy what you’ve got,” according to one Supercall staffer. If you’re headed to North Dakota, you’ll find a glass of whiskey and a not-totally-unfriendly bartender at HoDo.
Ohio: The Lounge and Jazz Bar at the Symphony Hotel, Cincinnati
Technically the Symphony Hotel is a B&B, and with just nine rooms to the place, your fellow guests can all fit in the lounge with you. There, you and your eight new best friends will settle in for live jazz and cocktails. Located right next door to the Cincinnati Music Hall, the hotel takes its musical entertainment seriously, so check out the schedule for upcoming trios (about the biggest group that will fit in the intimate space) who can woo you with smooth, jazzy vibes as you drink.
Oklahoma: The Penthouse Bar at The Mayo, Tulsa
You’ll feel like the king of the world looking out from The Penthouse Bar’s 360-degree view—a fitting sensation to have in a bar that was once the presidential suite for the hotel, the preferred room of one Elvis Presley. These days the bar serves more cocktails than peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. Grab one and head to the deck to take in all of Tulsa beneath the benevolent glow of The Mayo’s neon red sign.
If you ever got in trouble for drinking or smoking at school, consider this your chance to really stick it to your teachers. Kennedy School is a hotel set up in a former elementary school (because Portland), and while the “school” takes a pretty genial stance on drinking with six bars and restaurants in the place, our favorite is Detention Bar, where you can pick up cigars and drink straight spirits like a young punk again. If, on the other hand, the honor roll was more your speed, skip over to Honors Bar for more refined cocktails.
We travel to learn, and there’s no better place to pick up some new knowledge than a library bar. If you’re staying at the Rittenhouse Hotel in Philly, be sure to check out the Library Bar, one of our favorite nerdy literary-themed bars, where you can geek out on bibliophilic cocktails like the Novel Tea (Suntory Toki, matcha, yuzu) or the Poet’s Retreat (fig infused Flor de Caña rum, Domaine de Canton, pineapple, lime, vanilla, club soda, Angostura bitters) while perusing a selection of classic tomes.
Rhode Island: The Bar at The Chanler, Newport
The Chanler is a vintage Newport mansion that was converted into a luxury boutique hotel. The hotel and the bar maintain that mansion quality with dark wood and restored leather bar chairs. Art on the walls and the sound of crashing waves from the Atlantic ocean set the mood. It’s one of the most romantic bars in the country, but you don’t have to be coupled up to enjoy signature cocktails like the Spiced Pear Martini (Absolut pear vodka, Disaronno, pear nectar, cinnamon and lemon) and the Southern Chill (Jim Beam, apple pucker, lemonade, bitters and club soda).
South Carolina: The Watch at The Restoration, Charleston
The best hotel bars capture the taste of a city and serves it to tourists and guests. The Watch accomplishes that with locally sourced ingredients, and does it with a panoramic rooftop view of the city. Alongside classic and South Carolina-inspired cocktails are local wines and craft beer. Be sure to come with an appetite: Hush puppies, shrimp and grits, crispy chicken skin and market fresh seafood grace the menu.
South Dakota: Vertex Sky Bar at the Alex Johnson, Rapid City
The Alex Johnson hotel is full-on art deco style, and so is the Vertex Sky Bar. There’s a custom designed bar and wine cabinet, along with art on the walls. If you can tear your eyes away from the design and the classic and signature cocktails like the Black-Berry Hills Smash, you’ll notice the rooftop views overlooking Rapid City. The rooftop patio on the 11th floor is open in the summer, and has a firepit to keep you warm long into the night.
The ornate lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis is a thing of beauty with a gorgeous fountain as its centerpiece—but you won’t be paying attention to any of that because you’ll be too busy watching the duck parade. This is not a metaphor. The hotel has featured a literal duck parade twice a day since the 1940s, in which an animal trainer marches a line of fowl through the Lobby Bar and into the fountain, where they swim and quack to much amusement. You can start with brunch cocktails just before the first performance at 11 a.m. and switch over to the bar’s custom Southern-tinged creations by the time the second performance rolls around at 5 p.m.
If you’re looking for the hippest spot to drink in the Lone Star state, you’ve got no choice but to head to Marfa. The hipster chic destination boasts one of our favorite desert bars in America, Bar Nadar. Straddling the hotel’s pool like a boozy oasis, the bar offers frozen cocktails (often on special for just $5) and ice cream sandwiches to keep you cool in the heat. If you chill down enough with these treats, you might just be cool enough to hang with the cool kids of Marfa.
Utah: Mountain Terrace at the St. Regis, Park City
Don’t confuse this St. Regis with the one in New York. This mountainside escape is perfect for snow sports enthusiasts and Sundance attendees who’d like to take advantage of Park City’s natural splendor. A crackling fire pit built around small boulders will keep you warm in your adirondack chair as you indulge in the hotel’s custom Bloody Mary menu or warm après ski cocktails.
Vermont: Juniper Bar at the Hotel Vermont, Burlington
Juniper bar is sleek, modern and boasts views of Lake Champlain’s Burlington Harbor and Juniper Island. Everything is seasonal at the bar, with a focus on Vermont spirits and local beers. The menu is constantly changing, but if you get a chance, try the Farmers Tan, a custom Dirty Martini that’s made with house-made, picked fiddlehead fern juice.
Virginia: Bushel and Barrel at the Hyatt, Tysons Corner
The first thing you’ll notice about Bushel and Barrel is the cavernous, barrel-inspired design of the bar. Don’t get distracted, though. There are more than 30 regional craft beers on tap and some 65 bourbons. On warm days, the full-wall glass garage doors open up to let a breeze waft through the space. Fire pits roar when it’s cold out. It’s the type of hotel bar that makes the hotel a destination in and of itself.
Washington: Oliver’s Lounge at the Mayflower, Seattle
Oliver’s Lounge has been running since before Seattle became the hip city it is today. The bar opened in 1976, and was the first in Seattle with a tall window facing the street, thanks to a law in Washington that barred establishments from pouring hard liquor in view of the public. Appearance wise, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into the bar’s sophisticated past as soon as you walk in. Drinks wise, it doesn’t get much better. Try one of the bar’s meticulously made and highly regarded Martinis.
West Virginia: The Lobby Bar at Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs
Greenbrier is a classic , upscale Southern resort, and the Lobby Bar stays true to theme. The furniture is decidedly classic, and the original Gone With the Wind movie chandelier hangs from the ceiling. The bartenders can whip up pretty much whatever you’d like from the full bar, but it’s especially known for the Mint Julep. Just make sure you go with style and grace—jackets are suggested for men, and “if denim is your attire preference, well-kept denim in a dark shade is ours,” the bar writes on its website.
You might be in one of the most northerly states in the U.S., but Outsider will make you feel like you’re in the islands. The rooftop bar is on the ninth floor of the Kimpton Journeyman in the historic Third Ward. Tiki drinks flow from the bar, which has both an indoor and outdoor space that’s made for groups. You can play giant Jenga and a game of shuffleboard on the full-size court while looking out over the city views. Everywhere you look at Outsider you’ll see bright drinks, food and fireplaces that light up when the temperature drops.
Wyoming: The Handle Bar at Four Seasons, Jackson Hole
There’s nothing better than retreating to a cozy, well-stocked bar after a day skiing or snowboarding. If you’re hitting the slopes in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, then you’re in luck, because you’re near one of the best places to buy an après ski drink. Located inside the ever classy Four Seasons, The Handle Bar serves up Hot Toddys, signature punches and warm food. It also has an extensive beer and whiskey selection, making it a prime location for Boilermakers.