With a cocktail on the side! Though of course a beautiful bar makes a perfect Instagram background, there’s also just something about being in a gorgeously designed space that can add some inspiration and whimsy to an otherwise drab day.
From new nautically-inspired openings to elegant spaces with sky-high views, here are the most beautiful bars we’ve discovered in NYC (in no particular order). Of course, not only are they stunning, but they have enviable cocktail menus too!
1. The Panorama Room, Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island — NYC’s narrow, two-mile-long island nestled in the East River between Manhattan and Queen — boasts this glorious rooftop bar, and its design is just as stunning as its views. Because of its unique location, it offers beautiful views across four different boroughs, only matched by its vintage-inspired interior boasting a Orobico Red marble bar top, black mosaic tile columns with geometric chrome sconces, and blush velvet tubular lounge sofas. More details here.
Where: 22 North Loop Rd, Floor 18, Roosevelt Island
2. Chapel Bar, Flatiron
Though you’ll have to become a member of either photography museum Fotografiska or work and social club NeueHouse to enjoy this bar, it’s an amazing historic space you don’t want to miss. Meant to be a gathering place for the cultural tastemakers of NYC, Chapel Bar dates all the way back to 1867, when it was known as the “Renwick Gem” Schoolhouse. It was originally constructed by James Renwick Jr., the architect who also designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In this era, award-winning interior design studio Roman and Williams transformed it into a dark, sophisticated space that pays homage to its historic (and religious) roots. Read more about it here.
Where: 275 Park Ave S
3. Lillie’s Victorian Establishment, Midtown & Union Square
Lillie’s Victorian Establishment is also quite known for their holiday decor during the season, but it’s just as beautiful all year round too. The Victorian-inspired interior combines vintage charm with cozy elegance. Sip on cocktails while you enjoy intricate details like the stained glass windows, antique decor, rich colors, plush seating, and classic bar area. It’s a spot that 19th century British actress Lillie Langtry would surely be proud of. Learn more here.
Midtown – 249 W 49th St
Union Square – 13 E 17th St
4. Oscar Wilde, NoMad
Known for its over-the-top holiday decorations (see it at Christmas here and Halloween here), Oscar Wilde also looks gorgeous on a regular day! Located in an early 1900s-era NYC building and home to countless unique artifacts like a French fireplace from the 1840s and no fewer than 26 antique clocks, you don’t want to miss this space inspired by the spirited Irish playwright. You an even pull up with a pint next to a bronze replica of Wilde himself!
Where: 45 W 27th St
5. Nubeluz, NoMad
This swanky rooftop bar is the brainchild of José Andrés, which sits 50 floors up in The Ritz-Carlton in NoMad. Envisioned as a “lightbox in the sky”… it’s precisely that, featuring reflective surfaces, enhanced lighting, opulent textiles, two outdoor terraces, and 270-degree views of the cityscape. If a crown jewel was turned into a strikingly glamorous bar, it would be Nubeluz (which combines the Spanish terms of “cloud” and “light”). Learn more here.
Where: 25 W 28th St
6. Bemelmans Bar, Upper East Side
This beautiful hotel bar in NYC is one of our favorites, thanks to their extensive drink menu and live entertainment options. As for their interior, it’s lined with masterpiece murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books as well as warm lighting and plush seating with rich tones. Learn more here.
Where: 35 E 76th St
7. Peakaboo, Hudson Yards
Why not have a drink in the clouds, over 1,000 feet above NYC? The Hudson Yards’ restaurant Peak provides stunning, 360-degree views of NYC — and now you can take them in at the bar as well! The illustrious restaurant converts into “Peakaboo” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights once NYC lights up and 10:30 p.m. hits (with live DJs!), so you can sip on inventive cocktails and take in incomparable sights no matter what the hour. Read more here.
Where: 300 Hudson Yard, 101st Floor
8. Swan Room, Chinatown
Swan Room is a swanky bank teller room turned bar, and their vaulted ceiling, luxurious booths, and pink Tennessee marble walls give it an old-time feel. Their small bites and extensive cocktail program make this place even better. It’s super upscale and deservedly so. Learn more here.
Where: 54 Canal St
9. The Bar at the Baccarat Hotel, Midtown
Enjoy some buzzing conversation at this hotel bar that’s inspired by the glamorous ballrooms of French hôtels particuliers and the royal stables at Versailles. Between their crimson velvet and merlot-colored walls to the glittering red Baccarat chandeliers, everything in here is glistening. Don’t forget about the leather seats on checkerboard floors and fine art too. Learn more here.
Where: 28 W 53rd St
10. The Sunken Harbor Club, Downtown Brooklyn
Pretend you’re in a nautical fairytale at this one-of-a-kind restaurant in NYC. In the upstairs section of the long-awaited Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn comes “The Sunken Harbor Club,” a home for renowned bartender & restauranteur St. John Frizell’s immersive tropical bar. What was once a weekly pop-up at Red Hook’s Fort Defiance is now a permanent nautically-themed bar helmed by renowned tropical cocktail historian, Garret Richard, where you can drop anchor and enjoy a tropical cocktail. Don’t miss that gorgeous blue port window!
Where: 372 Fulton Street, 2nd Floor
11. Magic Hour Rooftop Bar, Midtown
Magic Hour Rooftop is an “urban amusement park” just waiting to be explored! Home to NYC’s largest indoor and outdoor all-season rooftop bar and lounge, we recommend stopping by for drinks and a view if you’re in the area. It’s truly stunning, and they often host pop-up activations…like the Barbie-inspired Pink Bunny Beach happening now with a putt-putt golf course, pink lifeguard chairs, pink sand, and beach balls galore! Learn more here.
Where: 485 7th Ave, 18th Floor
12. Le Coucou, SoHo
Though you can’t exactly pull up a seat to the bar at this French eatery from revered Parisian chef Daniel Rose, we still had to include it because it’s just that stunning. Enjoy cocktails made to perfection at your table, alongside classic French dishes like foie grois, escargot, and Canette a l’Orange. Of course, you can still grab a photo in front of it!
Where: 138 Lafayette St
13. The Bar Room at Temple Court, Beekman Hotel
Take a trip back to old New York at this stunning restaurant & bar inside the Beekman Hotel in Downtown Manhattan. Enjoy a hand-crafted drink or a glass of wine on plush velvet seating and stare up through the nine-story Victorian era atrium above you. Maybe even treat yourself to a bite from star chef Tom Colicchio’s menu.
Where: 5 Beekman St
14. Verōnika, Flatiron
Tucked away in Fotografiska is an elegant bar with a touch of European charm. Verōnika’s chandeliers, plush velvet seating, and antique mirrors are just some of the stunning features throughout, all while you enjoy their curated cocktail menu. Be sure to check out their Black Book Experience as well, which includes special food and drinks. Learn more here.
Where: 281 Park Ave S, Second Floor (E 22nd St)
15. The Press Lounge, Hell’s Kitchen
Sitting 16 floors above its sister venue, PRINT Restaurant, you’re going to want to check out the rooftop known as The Press Lounge. The space is elegant, complete with a glass walled interior and gorgeous outdoor patio. It’s perfect for sipping on seasonal cocktails and small plates while you take in the sleek space and Manhattan skyline. Learn more here.
Where: 653 11th Ave