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The 2020 Legend Awards are meant to serve as inspiration for future travel—when it is safe to do so. Learn more about this year's awards on our methodology page.
When scouting a five-star hotel to book, travelers are rarely preoccupied with the quality of the hotel bar. And yet, when you arrive at your final destination, being met by a spectacular bar right in your hotel is a true privilege. A great hotel bar should be the perfect respite after a long day; it should instill in you that same fondness you associate with your local bar at home. And staying at a hotel with a coveted bar makes it a perfect go-to meeting spot, whether you’re inviting local friends or colleagues to meet for a quick drink, or are traveling in a group and want a place to congregate for pre-dinner cocktails.
Even more than becoming an obvious gathering spot, the best hotel bars allow you to experience the atmosphere and high-end offerings of a new city without leaving your hotel. It brings the culture—and the best local liquor—right to you.
From hotels distilling their own spirits in house to lobby bars that have become institutions in their cities, these are our 2020 Legend Awards honorees for best hotel bars:
DarkSide, Rosewood Hong Kong
A live jazz bar inside the Rosewood Hong Kong, DarkSide’s blue velvet curtains and lounge-style seating exudes an atmosphere of allure. They’re known for their collection of dark spirits, which date back to the early 1800s.
Connie Cocktail Lounge, TWA Hotel
Not all airport bars are created equal. The Connie Cocktail Lounge is a retired jet the TWA Hotel turned into a cocktail lounge at JFK. The lounge curates an unmistakably ‘50s vibe, complete with retro cocktails.
JG SkyHigh, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center
On the 60th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, JG SkyHigh is abuzz with fans of acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who’s responsible for not only the bar but the restaurant on the floor below. JG SkyHigh is serving classic cocktails, made with locally sourced spirits when possible, alongside the best view in the city.
The Living Room, Maison de la Luz
The Living Room is open only to guests of Maison de la Luz, the new, lavishly decorated New Orleans hotel on Carondelet Street. Stop in for an impressively well-made cocktail, that you can sip at the Honor Bar, while lounging in the Living Room, or even in the comfort of your suite.
DUKES BAR, The Duke London
DUKES BAR serves a martini you will, quite possibly, be talking about for the rest of your life. Each cocktail at DUKES is tailored to the recipient and achieves the perfect level of Mayfair class every time.
Atrium Bar, Four Seasons Hotel Firenze
Atrium Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Firenze has live piano in the evenings and drinks served off an old-world bar cart. They have a small and extremely well-curated selection of signature drinks, but our favorite is their vintage (and customizable) negroni.
Manhattan Bar, Regent Singapore
Manhattan seeks to capture “a touch of old New York glamour and sophistication,” serving cocktails from generations’ past. Not only do they have an expansive array of housemade cocktail accoutrements and ingredients, they boast the first rickhouse within a hotel.
The Berkeley Bar & Terrace, The Berkeley
The Berkeley Bar & Terrace has a French cellar chalk-full of coveted Champagne bottles, will serve a glass of rare, vintage red wine thanks to their Coravin, and offers an extensive selection of single-batch spirits. We’re especially fond of The Berkeley's new Snug Bar, which turns into a private bar on request and has a contemporary light pink mural by T.M. Davy.
Connaught Bar, The Connaught
The Connaught Bar exudes 1920s sophistication thanks to curated interior design featuring dark blues and platinum accents. We keep coming back for the atmosphere and the impressive display of mixology. In particular, The Vanguard menu features a mysterious selection of “pioneering” cocktails developed here at The Connaught.
Casa Dragones Cigar Bar, Live Aqua Urban Resort
High-end tequila on the rocks and rare cigars. That’s what awaits you at Casa Dragones Cigar Bar. Within Live Aqua Urban Resort, Casa Dragones was founded by a group of gentlemen who helped declare Mexico’s independence from Spain. Each exceptional tequila you try here is served from a bottle “labeled, signed, and dated by hand.”
Cityzen, Sofitel Mexico City Reforma
The Sofitel Mexico City Reforma’s new rooftop bar, Cityzen, sits on the 38th floor, making it the highest bar in the city. They’re mixing exceptional craft cocktails, which are about the only thing that could distract you from this view, overlooking Paseo de la Reforma.
The Lobby Bar, Belmond Hotel Monasterio
The luxurious Belmond Hotel Monasterio in Cusco, Peru was once a monastery and is still a national monument dating back to the late 16th century. The Lobby Bar is the spot for the region’s famed pisco sours, which can be sipped while enjoying live jazz after dinner at the hotel’s patio restaurant, Illariy.
The Back Room, Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila
The “secret” 1920s speakeasy found deep within Shangri-La at the Fort is one of our favorite bars in Asia. From the Prohibition-inspired cocktails to the 1920s getup to the Bee’s Knees gin distilled on the premise, The Back Room lives up to and far exceeds their reputation.
Champagne Bar, Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour
The Champagne Bar, found within Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, has caramel-colored interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over Sydney’s iconic harbor. The Champagne—even the rare, vintage bottles—flows freely here and is perfectly complemented by the bar’s oysters and mod-French small plates.