Raise the Bar


It was once a simple spot for an overnight guest to sip a nightcap. An unassuming corner in a lobby, a glorified station with neatly stacked house wines, a forgettable watering hole. But today’s hotel taverns have transcended the ho-hum to become destinations in their own rights. From the classic to the cutting edge, these hotel bars have made names for themselves as epicenters of American cocktail culture.

Find five of our favorite hotel watering holes below. Thirsty for more? See the other 15 that made our list in the Spring 2015 issue of Reign Magazine by clicking here…

The Cooper Lounge at The Crawford Hotel
Denver, Colorado

The Cooper Lounge at Union Station in Denver, Co. | Reign Magazine

The newest hotspot to make our list, The Cooper Lounge is housed within the Mile High City’s most historic walls. The crown jewel of the recently renovated Union Station, Cooper is a throwback to the sophisticated post prohibition bars of the 1930s. The space itself is stunning, occupying the mezzanine balcony connected to the Crawford, and looks down onto the bustling Great Hall. A thoughtful cocktail list is impressive with craft spirits and creative concoctions, playing perfect homage to Cooper’s credo – imbibe in style.  At present, the bar serves limited light bites from neighboring Stoic and Genuine’s menu, but is set to roll out its own small plate selections later this month. // cooperlounge.com

Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle
New York, New York

Bemelmans Bar | Reign Magazine

Few bars can rival the iconic Bemelmans in terms of an artful and enchanting history. Housed inside the classicly cool Carlyle Hotel, Benelmans is best known for the masterpiece murals that adorn its walls, all of which were hand painted by the bar’s namesake artist, Ludwig Bemelman. If his name sounds familiar, it should. Bemelman was the creator and author of Madeline, the children’s book series set inside the Carlyle, as well as a successful cartoonist for The New Yorker, Vogue and Town and Country. The bar itself serves up champagne cocktails via white jacket clad waiters and next door at Café Carlyle, Woody Allen plays the clarinet with his New Orleans jazz bad each and every Monday night. // rosewoodhotels.com

The Polo Lounge at Beverly Hills Hotel
Beverly Hills, California

H5PE8_27253178_DCLAX782_10Synonymous with all that is glamorous, The Polo Lounge has been a favorite amongst the famous and those who wish to be near them for generations. As popular for brunch as it is for booze, Polo’s iconic status has seen many a well-known guest grace its white wrought iron stools – from Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to modern day movie stars like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. In the evenings, patrons are treated to live piano tunes while Sunday brunch boasts its own jazzy musical stylings – along with a side of world-class stargazing. // beverlyhillshotel.com


Ocho Lounge at the Hotel Havana
San Antonio, Texas

Perched along San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk, Ocho Ocho Lounge | Reign Magazine
Lounge is fraught with Latin-infused character. Ocho is built on two levels, each with their own distinct vibe, the bar is a must-see int he Lone Star State. Upstairs at Ocho is built into a glass and steel conservatory, opening up right onto the Riverwalk with both indoor and outdoor seating. Downstairs, a more traditional lounge setting abounds with dim lighting, velvet couches and leather club chairs.  Whichever you fancy, you’ll love the cocktail menu for its reinvented classics. Naturally, the focus is on tequila and Cuban rum. Also try executive chef Juan Bernal’s fare, rooted in the hotel’s Pan-Latin cultural influences.  havanasanantonio.com

Starlite Lounge at Riviera Resort & Spa
Palm Springs, California

Starlight Lounge at Riviera Hotel | Reign Magazine

The Starlite Lounge is exactly what one would think of when they think Palm Springs – glamorous, swanky and just a bit overdone. Nestled inside the Rivera’s grand lobby, Starlite is dripping with mid century details and eye candy galore. Rack ‘em up on the Liberace style billiards table or get lost in the 30-foot video wall that runs digitally remastered classics. Naturally, live jazz fills the space as you sip a dirty martini or a selection from the space’s impressive wine list. // psriviera.com