Not every hotel bar has to have a swimming pool or a hidden room to be impressive. Here are just a few bars that use unique design elements to stand out and bring in a wide variety of imbibers.
The Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
Where else can you sip your cocktail in the middle of a chandelier? The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas’ Chandelier Bar is named for the eponymous three-story-high lighting fixture envisioned by David Rockwell of the Rockwell Group and executed by Themeing Solutions. The 65-foot high chandelier has 2 million handmade crystal beads—half as many as originally planned due to the impact the weight of the beads would have had on the building’s structure. As it is, the chandelier still uses 21 miles of beads to envelop guests inside the bar. The design of the bar itself takes a cue from its atrium location for an open and airy vibe, and the views of the casino floor, shops and other restaurants make this a great spot for people-watching. (And the signature cosmopolitans, made with white cranberry juice for a sweeter taste, are delicious.)
Artesian at the Langham London
Designed by David Collins, this bar is (as the Telegraph once called it), “100 percent five-star luxury.” With “opulent Chinoiserie,” lilac leather seating and a mirrored pagoda bar, this is the kind of bar to which one brings a friend to show off. Collins’ design was reportedly inspired by Victorian cabinets with “hidden textures [and] details.” Look for the jeweled panelling, the crocodile leather tiles and the three handmade chandeliers—and the funky insect-inspired serving dishes.
The American Bar at the Stafford London
Plenty of casual bars and restaurants throughout the U.S. have “flair” for decoration, but few pubs manage to keep that flair from crossing the line into kitsch. This London institution—a hangout for businessmen, blue-collar workers and royalty alike (William and Kate went on dates here)—gets it right. The bar dates back to the 1930s and still has a sense of old-world elegance (along with a decidedly Western menu). What sets it apart, in terms of design, is the memorabilia donated by guests over the years that covers every wall and even the ceiling, home to club ties, sporting mementoes and baseball caps. Unlike the manufactured collections found in American restaurants, every piece at the Stafford’s American Bar comes from someone and tells a story.
The Library Bar at the Nomad Hotel
Those looking to replicate the old-fashioned tradition of having pre- or post-dinner drinks in the library of a grand house will appreciate this Manhattan bar, which has two levels of bookshelves stacked with real books and journals. Beyond the floor-to-ceiling books, the leather chairs, plush couches, Persian carpets and spiraling staircases all evoke a sense of old-world elegance, and the 24-foot-long mahogany bar leaves plenty of room for lingering and socializing.
Le Bar du Plaza Athénée
In Paris, the bar at the Plaza Athénée combines old-fashioned style with post-modern technology. Designers Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku hid the room's ceiling under an installation composed of wreaths of fabric. The oversized bar, meanwhile, is made of transparent resin that seems to levitate within the space. A range of seating options is also available, with tall tables and chairs at a sculpted glass bar or low tables and leather armchairs in the lounge area. The lighting is the real star here: During the early evening, the mellow mood is maintained by a blue hue. After 11, red becomes the dominant color as a DJ begins spinning for a more energetic vibe.
What are some of your favorite hotel bars? What makes them special? Drop us a line and share your top picks!