Milan's Food & Drinks
TOP 5 Hotel Bars Re-Creating Cocktails with Culture
The days of hotels accommodating business travelers seeking a nightcap are OFFICIALLY OVER! There has been a rise in folks traveling to different destinations whether to get away from the cold or just to take a break from working round the clock. And with the torrent of hospitality innovators rushing towards creativity in both food and drink, a dash of local culture has shaken into every experience.
According to Traveler, from New Orleans to Las Vegas, these top 5 hotel bars are all about celebrating their hometown heritage, whether it’s through design, style, or custom-crafted signature cocktails.
1. Sip on NOLA History at The Sazerac Bar, The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
In New Orleans, historical sites are often hidden in plain site—and The Sazerac Bar is no exception. Established just after the end of Prohibition, the illustrious speakeasy was eventually relocated to its current location at The Roosevelt New Orleans in 1958. The bar adapted its name from the Sazerac, the official drink of the Big Easy, and according to some, America’s very first cocktail. Loyalists still see The Sazerac Bar as the only place to go for a true Sazerac. Beyond the bartop, the room itself is also worthy of a mention: its walls, covered by four Paul Ninas murals are currently valued at over two million dollars. Painted in 1938, they portray scenes of New Orleans’ cultural progression, from cotton plantation to a vibrant Mardi Gras celebration in Jackson Square. Without any television screens or food menu, there’s no distracting from the timelessness of this NOLA institution—or enjoying rounds of its signature cocktail.
2. Order Off the Menu at Dabble, Conrad New York Midtown
There’s much to look forward to at the brand new Conrad New York Midtown property, especially at Dabble, the hotel’s restaurant and bar. It’s wholly inspired by 300 Club, the iconic 1920s speakeasy that occupied this very spot, which was presided over by actress and nightlife legend Mary Louise Cecilia “Texas” Guinan. Dabble revisits the clandestine drinking culture of the Prohibition era with its off-the-menu signature cocktail Queen Texas. Named after the Queen of the Speakeasies herself, this boozy sipper is a mix of Old Forester bourbon (longest continuously distilled bourbon), carpano vermouth, cherry heering brandy, and absinthe.
3. Catch the Breeze at Spinnaker, Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
Situated in the Yachting Capital of the World, the oceanfront Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach takes cues from local nautical history in its design and dining programs. In the lobby, the Atlas Cocktail Lounge is adorned with blue old world maps and features rum-based cocktails—a reference to Fort Lauderdale’s rum-running years during Prohibition. The hotel’s brand new outdoor bar takes it even further, aptly named after a large triangular sail. Spinnaker Bar & Grill sits poolside on the hotel’s sixth floor, granting unobstructed views of the Atlantic from the circular bar counter. The signature drink, El Jefe, is a refreshing spin on the classic margarita that adds in a ginger zing and fresh basil—a tropical complement to reggae playing in the background. While access is limited to hotel guests and $75 day passes, Spinnaker opens up on Friday for its Asado y Cocteles experience (think Latin-style BBQ with otherworldly influences).
4. Have a Fiesta at The Bar at Level 25, Conrad Miami
It’s natural for Miami to conjure up images of beach clubs and poolside cabanas but go for the unexpected at The Bar at Level 25, which is elevating the trendy Brickell bar scene to new heights. On the 25th floor of Conrad Miami, The Bar’s playful menu was developed by Beverage Director Gustavo as a perfect pairing to the jaw-dropping views of Biscayne Bay and surrounding skyline. The signature drink embodies this lightheartedness best: La Feria (Spanish for fair, or carnival) is a celebratory blend of Reposado tequila, fernet, and absinthe, festively garnished with spicy cotton candy. The Bar at Level 25 is a hotspot for its daily happy hours, but you’ll want to come on Thursdays for a night of Cuban beats and bites.
5. Embrace Your Creativity at Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar, Conrad New York Downtown
Loopy Doopy, the rooftop bar at Conrad New York Downtown, owes its whimsical name to the 13-story wall drawing by conceptual artist Sol LeWitt that spans the height of the hotel’s lofty atrium—just one of over 2,000 unique works of art displayed throughout the high-rise property. Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar has a collaborative approach to cocktail development, skillfully blending classic flavors with newer mixology trends. We’d rank their signature drink—the Strawberry Cosmopolitan Poptail—as one of the most photogenic cocktails in all of New York City, especially with Lady Liberty making a cameo in the backdrop. This flavor-packed sipper is comprised of a boozy popsicle made from strawberry, cranberry, lime and Grey Goose which sits happily in a glass of rosé. A range of different fruit pop-tails makes a fitting toast to celebrating warm weather in New York City, with unparalleled views to boot.
Be sure to always drink responsibly!