The hotel bar – that friendly little retreat for relaxing after the sight-seeing is done, for casual business meetings, or just to enjoy a drink made by a crazy-good bartender – can elevate an already great hotel into something truly spectacular. Such is the case for this collection of hotel bars that represent the best of the best.
Noyane, at the Conrad Chicago
Just opened in November 2016, Noyane (“hidden roof” in Japanese) is truly an oasis on the roof. The seasonal, outdoor space has a modern and serene, and very Japanese feel to it. Surrounded by the beautiful Chicago skyline, Noyane has a large central bar and a retractable roof, and an eclectic mix of seating arrangements to choose from. More than just a bar, the carefully designed destination includes a sculptural fire feature, a bar-height fire pit table and a mix of greenery throughout.
Taking its inspiration from traditional Japanese karaoke bars, the bar menu has some delicious and wonderfully visual selections. When you go there, the first thing to try is the Lychee Martini, which is garnished with an edible flower. The liquor in the drink combines vodka with Carpano Bianco, an unusual and delightfully flavored vermouth with ginger and clove botanicals, giving this particular martini a memorable aroma as well as great flavor. Adding to the mystery is a splash of Giffard Lychee liqueur, rounding out the drink with an outstanding floral bouquet. Don’t miss it.
Chicago is a big winner in BoozeHub’s selection, and Chicago certainly has a storied past when it comes to liquor. Renowned barman Benjamin Schiller holds court at this unique destination 26 floors up, creating an impressive and over-the-top crazy collection of drinks, with garnishes that include smoke and edible butterflies. Get your smartphone camera ready, you’ll want pictures of these before you taste them. The cocktails are mixed in hand-blown glassware and custom ceramics, and bartender Benjamin goes all out in coming up with the most imaginative and playful cocktails.
The latest addition to data is Leviathan located at the mezzanine level of the boutique hotel, offering a fascinating experience, and visually stunning (and tasty) cocktails inspired by creatures of the sea.
The Peacock Inn at Princeton, New Jersey
Two things that make a hotel bar truly great include a location in a hotel that doesn’t look like a standard hotel, and a bartender with an eye for unusual combinations and home-grown ingredients. The hotel bar at The Peacock Inn in Princeton, New Jersey has both. The boutique hotel itself is a graceful, colonial mansion that has been transformed into a 16-room hotel. The award-winning destination brings people from all over the world, and beverage manager Patrick Amice understands the notion of the “perfect cocktail.” Patrick goes the extra mile in ensuring that the juices and syrups used in his delicious creations are all homemade.
The intimate lounge’s smaller size makes drinking there a personal experience, and you can’t help but strike up a conversation with other patrons, or with the great barman himself. Pat offers a series of bar classes during the summer, so if you’re near Princeton, this is the place to go if you really want to learn how to impress your friends.
Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at the Hotel Palomar in Phoenix, Arizona
The Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails at the Hotel Palomar in Phoenix brought in bartender extraordinaire Phil Clark, a leader in the craft cocktail scene. Phil most recently led bar programs at Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier, and the James Beard nominated Mockingbird Hill in Washington DC. Phil takes a precise, research-based approach to bartending, carefully mapping out flavors and structures of a cocktail before mixing. In doing so, he challenges traditional recipes and compositions by substituting his own often unconventional ingredients, creating an offering that is as unique and visually appealing as it is delicious.
Phil’s “Junglebird” is the most popular drink, featuring a combination of Grey Goose vodka, Plantation Pineapple rum, Cointreau, lime, brown sugar syrup and Campari-infused ice. To go with those marvelous drinks, The Blue Hound’s executive chef Sean Currid delivers a Southern-inspired menu with specialites like corn grit fries with smoked bacon, an expertly assembled meat and cheese board, and fried green tomatoes with a spicy remoulade.
Grant Grill at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego
The award-winning mixologists at the Grant Grill, led by Chef de Bar Cory Alberto, and Certified Cicerone, Level II Sommelier and beverage director Jeff Josenhans, have something truly inspirational at this outstanding San Diego destination. The latest seasonal cocktail menu – the Aviation cocktail menu – is dedicated to San Diego’s flight history, which dates back to 1927 when Charles Lindbergh made San Diego the starting point for his transatlantic flight.
Chef de Bar Cory is known for his “dangerous cocktails,” which may include things like liquid nitrogen and dry ice to create powerful drinks that steam, smoke, and look like they may just spontaneously combust. For a real delight, try Cory’s classic “Blue Blazer!”