Our guide to the coolest bars in the hippest cities - just click on your
favourite town for more details and start planning that first drink now!
Setting the Scene
Rich, elite, provincial, Boston has Old World airs mixed with New World arrogance
and proudly trades on its colonial and political past. But it's got charm, energy
and power too: a meeting place for moneyed New Yorkers heading north, backyard to
the Kennedy clan and the New England aristocracy. Towering skyscrapers stand
beside historical cultural outposts to merge past and present, best seen in
places like Quincy Market and the cafés, bars and shops of downtown. Student,
immigrants and precious girls in pearls wander the parks and townhouse districts
and there's a refined English atmosphere to the bonhomie in the bars.
52 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
Telephone: +1 617 542 8111
Hours:lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm;
cocktails Mon-Wed 5:30pm-12am, Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-2am
Much talked-about Temple Place hot-spot specialising in an exotic fusion of French
and Indian cuisine, not to mention some fragrant infusion cocktails: pomegranate
martini anyone? Once a bank, the former vault downstairs now holds the Om Bar,
where those delicate cocktails are poured to perfection for the glam crowd of
regulars. Upstairs meanwhile is a dining space and hookah pipe lounge that
becomes a club later on. Very much a scene spot, regulars enjoy dishes such
as anise-flavoured scallops with wild mushrooms, and go all gooey over the
design: marble walls, one-way bathroom mirrors and cosy curtained-off private
areas. What’s your Mantra?
Four Seasons Hotel 200 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
Telephone: 617 351 2071
If you bought a new designer number today, insist on being taken here to do your
purchase justice. The Bristol Lounge is very classy and decked out with
antiques. Dress up, not down.
Setting the Scene
There are few more dramatic urban landscapes than the hip windy city of Al Capone
and High Fidelity. Skyscrapers decked like dominoes stand tall on the banks of
Lake Michigan while the Chicago River cuts through the heart of downtown,
separating the business district from the shopping and entertainment on the
North Side. Check out Near North and Gold Coast, the artists' lofts and
galleries of River North and the charming Old Town. Cool cocktail and cigar bars
roll along the streets here like smoky riffs from a jazz guitar and there's an
air of classy cool to the populace.
The Signature Lounge
John Hancock Center, 875 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Telephone: 312 787 7230
Hours:Mon-Thurs 11am-12.30am; Fri & Sat 11am-1.30am; Sun 11am-12.30am
Of all the breathtaking skyscrapers in Chicago you could visit, ignore the
tourist traps and head straight for the blissful peace of the 95th Floor
Signature Lounge. You’ll feel like you’re flying and the cocktails are made
to perfection. Let’s face it, you’re moving.
Buddy Guy’s Legends
754 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Telephone: +1 312 427 0333
Hours:Mon-Thurs 5pm-2am; Fri 4pm-2am; Sat 5pm-3am; Sun 6pm-2am
This bar’s reputation is as legendary as the guy himself. The New Year usually
sees the great man playing here himself but even in his absence you have to
fight the crowds to sample the unique atmosphere and fabulous programme. As
dark and smoky as you’d hoped for, and very friendly. Make sure you like
Blues as that’s all they play. All night.
Setting the Scene
Immortalised by shiny-suited Crockett and Tubbs in the 80s, legendary for
its beaches and babes, Miami is a wild frontier town transported to the 21st
century via the cover of Vogue. Many of its districts are officially cities
themselves. Most people head straight for Miami Beach, specifically the South
Beach strip – SoBe – with its glam, newly restored neon and pastel Art Deco
buildings. This is club/bar/beach paradise with ultra-trendy places like
Liquid, China Grill and Nikki's offering a high celebrity and model clientele
with their cocktails. Make time for Key Biscayne, a smart, secluded island
community with beautiful beaches, five miles off the mainland, and Little
Havana to the west, for salsa, rum and exiles ranting about Castro. Seems
like they've all had a few too many shots of rum out here in the sun. Which
makes it more fun.
655 Washington Avenue
Telephone: 305 538 2274
Hours:10pm - 5am, Tues - Sat; 11pm - 5am, Sun
Stylish, bohemian club-bar that’s a legend on the SoBe strip. Co-owned by
Sean Penn and Mick Hucknall, expect DJs to spin Latin, reggae, disco and
world beat in the "magic garden" while Penn’s star crossed friends retreat
to lush VIP lounges behind the bar. For steamy hot Miami nights, the outdoor
patio with its bar, dance floor and special VIP seating is the place to be.
2940 Collins Avenue
Telephone: 305 673 0338
Hours:Mon - Sun 10am - 5am
A little-known classic in mid-Beach, this gem is a hotel basement bar without
the hotel: it closed down more than a decade ago. It’s not the only surprise.
Miami is packed with posey style bars but this dark, loungey boozer is a
down-to-earth find, serving straight-up gin martinis and Screwdrivers just
like they did in the old days. There’s a jukebox instead of a DJ – another
good sign – and a Friday night happy hour with a difference: it starts at 2am
and goes on until 5am. Now that’s class.
Setting the Scene
When someone mentions San Francisco it's hard not to think of car chases,
trams, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge and girls with flowers in their hair.
Besides it's legendary status it's also culturally rich and is a thriving
economic epi-centre for Californian business. You'll also discover it's home
to quite radical thinking and laws – no smoking in restaurants being just
one of those Californian ideals. You'll find everything from the sophisticated to
the eccentric, the classy to the tacky - good times are guaranteed.
4 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: 001 415 241 0205
Hours:Mon - Sun 4pm - 2am
The name is a distortion of martini and if you taste a few of their straight-up
specials you’ll be doing quite a bit of distorting yourself. A popular
after-work spot situated between the Castro and Downtown, you enter a large
main bar complete with long wood counter where various wise-cracking regulars
bounce the banter with the bar staff. The place to be though is through a
curtained divider at the back which opens up to reveal a rollicking piano bar
space. Broadway tunes and scat specials are tinkled by talented local artists
and after a few of their Pineapple-tinis and Dirty Martinis you’ll feel no
shame in singing along with them. Barman, make mine a martuni!
1539 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Telephone: 001 415 278 9474
Hours:Mon-Fri 5pm-2am; Sat 7pm-2am; Sun 8pm-2am
Optimistically-named lounge bar on Folsom with more than a touch of San
Francisco colour in its clientele. The plush up-market lounge area is lit
in a deep red glow and has fine leather couches to recline on that suggest
a certain patrician class rather then posiness. Yet the clientele cannot
be boxed in either way: a happy mix of suits, gays, straights, clubbers,
trendies and down home regulars, who come for the reasonably-priced beers
and fine cocktails because service is friendly and spot on. Staff will
carry large drinks to your tables and add a little extra shot of rum in
your Caiparinha if you tip them well. Happy hour is really happy
three hours (5-8pm) and the crowd are as friendly and laid back as the
staff. We Wish more bars were like this.
242 Columbus Ave. (between Broadway & Pacific) Northbeach
San Francisco, CA
Telephone: 415 986 9651
Hours: Daily 5pm-2am
Treat yourself to a little class in this authentic 40's style cocktail
bar with high ceilings and red vinyl booths. As you rub shoulders with
a frequently star-studded crowd in one of the city’s oldest bars, potent
martinis and cosmopolitans are the order of the day. Often doubling as a
film set, you may find yourself on the casting couch before the night
Setting the Scene
If you had one day on the planet and wanted a snapshot of everywhere then, Las Vegas is the largest theme park in the world. Sure gambling is king but it is none the less an impressive jaw-dropping invention. For a city that has emerged from nothing in little over a hundred years and now boasts over one million residents and thirty times the tourists, you can't help but be taken in by it all - no matter how much of a cynic you are. Who needs Venice, Paris, New York or Monte Carlo when you've got them all here in miniature and where you can still pay $20 to get married by Elvis? Viva Las Vegas.
3700 W Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, 89109
Telephone: 702 252 7777
Vegas’s hottest style bar with low lounge seating, look-good lighting and classy cocktails to suit the terminally trendy clientele. Brash New Yorkers meet airbrushed Californians and clash over martinis and manhattans while the city view from here is as stunning as those hairstyles. Dress code is strictly enforced so hicks should leave straw hats behind and get in to Gucci.
3680 Las Vegas Blvd South
Telephone: 702 693 7223
Any restaurant-bar in the Bellagio would have to be an out-of-this-world and Nectar certainly delivers. Done up with grand Romanesque columns and decorated with glittering jewel-encrusted furniture, it’s opulent, elegant and decadent at the same time, and may leave you feeling a little bit guilty. But then this is Vegas so live a little. You enter Nectar Lounge where imaginative cocktails include the classics with sexy twists, all expertly prepared by fresh fruit mixologists. It’s a Raw Bar too so you can sip on an ultra-dry martini while snacking on pricey oysters and salmon at the same time. Next door is the restaurant itself, where Pacific American classics like spit-roasted prime rib or buffalo Mahi-Mahi are the order of the day - ordered by visiting tycoons, celebrities and superstars like you. Nectar: one for the gods.
Setting the Scene
Founded in 1682, Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the USA and
for ten years was also its capital. The Declaration of Independence was
signed here in 1776, it's also where you'll find the American answer to
the Holy Grail the Liberty Bell and, in keeping with flag waving
patriotism, it's home to Rocky! Besides all the Americana and stories of
the English getting well and truly beaten, Philadelphia is famous for
its restaurants, art and culture. There's the monumental Museum of Modern
Art, the recently opened Kimmel Centre for Performing Arts, the Barnes
Foundation (a fine collection of modern and impressionist artists) and
at the other end of the scale some great jazz and blues bars to slink
into. Take in the Italian market and Antiques row during the day, dine
at Morimoto on Chestnut Street and then head to South Street (between Front
Street and Seventh Street), the Old Town and along the Delaware waterfront
for some of the coolest bars and clubs.
134 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Telephone: 215 923 6069
Classic Philly restaurant and martini bar whose accolades include Food
and Wine magazine's Best Chef Hangout and Playboy's Best Bar award.
It also featured on MTVs "Sex in the 90s" so you can be sure you'll get
some sauce with your spice. Martinis are innovative and imaginative -
chocolate and raspberry flavours proving most popular - and the design
reinforces the classic cocktails image: the lamps look like martini olives
right down to the toothpick stems. The restaurant's sizzling food is
known as "global tapas" and you can expect rich snacks to go with those
masterful martinis. Continental types are moneyed over-thirties who like a
bit of old-world glamour with their 21st century tastes. Music fits the
cutting edge scene.
Setting the Scene
We’re talking ‘Holiday Orlando’ here rather than the city itself as we
reckon most bar flies are on vacation here rather than doing business in
the city which is some 20 miles distant from the world of theme parks
and shopping malls.
Howl at the Moon
8815 International Drive
Monday - Thursday 7:00pm- 2am
Friday 5:00pm- 2am
Saturday 6:00pm- 2am
Sunday 7:00pm- 2am
The "duelling piano sing-a-long" format probably had its modern origins
at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans. The music of choice was Dixieland, 40's,
and 50's music. The true roots surely go back further than that because as
long as there has been at least one person to lead a song, there has almost
always been someone to sing, or howl along.
The focal point of the nightclub is a stage featuring a pair of baby grand
pianos. The piano players are the ringmasters responsible for creating the
excitement that characterizes a night at Howl at the Moon. These piano
players are 'hand picked from the finest regional talent and are thoroughly
trained to continually thrill and entertain the audience'. Howl at the
Moon strives to keep their shows fresh with a mainstream and recognisable
format that allows their typical customer to sing along with 90% of the songs.
Signature drinks include Tube Shots and Jello Shots which are 'shot' from
Looking for a quiet spot for a drink and a chat? This ain't it!
at the Mall at Millenia
4200 Conroy Rd
Orlando, FL 32839
Mon - Fri 4pm - 2am
Sat - Sun 1pm - 2am
Nestled in an upstairs corner of the high-end Mall at Millenia, this place
is just cool...29 speciality martinis..indoor or outdoor seating, great crowd
and from 4pm - 7pm weekdays the $11 martinis are only $6...bargain!
Contrasting textures of florescent blues and deep wood tones impersonate big city
ambience while the backdrop behind the band consists of simple open wood frames
supporting a variety of oversized vases and bottles where the signature blue neon
Setting the Scene
Canada's most beautiful city has more in common with San Francisco than
Toronto. Despite it rather very wet it's a prime location for Hollywood film
shoots - the setting is spectacular. Ocean and mountains form a dramatic
backdrop to the gleaming commercial towers of downtown where you'll find
spectacular clubs and bars after a 'swim-in-the-morning', 'ski-in-the-afternoon'
day. Trace the city's history in Gastown and Chinatown, savour the wilderness
only blocks from the city centre in Stanley Park and dine on superb ethnic
or Pacific Northwest cuisine before sampling those clubs and bars.
Crush Champagne Lounge
1180 Granville Street
Telephone: 001 604 684 0355
High rollers and hipsters should roll up and get hip in this swanky new
joint on Granville. A trendy thirty-something crowd of regulars is drawn
to its retro 50s lounge feel: cool, chic and unpretentious as any great
lounge bar should be. Local house band The Smokin Section play during the
week and tunes stick to groovy soul, funk and jazz. Dozens of martinis and
champagnes are on the menu, bottles of the finest going for up to 700 bucks a
shot, but our cocktail suggestion is the Fusion, a champagne, sour raspberry
liqueur and cranberry juice concoction that will have you humming out loud
like a songbird. There’s a cover charge on weekends and also for name live acts
like Issac Hayes who pop in to play. All this and tasty tapas to snack at your
private table. Mmmm… feels like the 50s!
4121 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V5V 3P6
Telephone: 001 604 708 4121
Dark and trendy spot ideal for nights of subtle seduction or blatant
voyeurism. A single, cavernous room on Main Street, it’s lined with
intimate church-like booths in which hip East-siders gather to dine
on rich south western tucker. Calamari or roast-chicken in Sambuca are
particular favourites and we recommend something pricey from the extensive wine
list. In the meantime check out the surreal twisted iron fixtures at the
front – the work of someone who’s had more than one Locus Martini?
Setting the Scene
Chilly in winter and baking in summer means Washington's at its best in spring
and autumn. You'll no doubt want to take in the Capitol and 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue, (also know as the White House) as well as the other national monuments,
including the Smithsonian and a tour of the FBI. Away from the whirr of government
agencies and the Mall it's worth strolling some of the lovely parks and
districts. Georgetown has the prettiest townhouses, Adams Morgan has a great
cultural mix, while Dupont Circle is quite quirky but all have a good selection
of eateries and bars.
Sofitel Hotel 806 15th Street NW
Washington DC, 20005
Telephone: 001 202 737 8800
Hours:Mon - Sun 6pm - midnight
Modern cocktail bar meets art deco splendour in this sophisticated and très
French spot in the Sofitel Hotel. Drinkers sit in low, wide armchairs done
in cream and black fabric, all elegantly spaced over a large floor set in
front of a dark mahogany bar. Plush carpets and 25ft high ceilings add to the
refined hush, while thick hanging drapes in green and red add both glamour
and a certain mystery. All of this is enhancedd by fine service and a
fantastic cocktail menu with mellifluous-sounding signatures like L'Enfant
(Grey Goose vodka, Chambord, Grand Marnier and lemonade) and the Lafayette
(Stoli Raspberry, Cointreau, pineapple, grenadine).
2461 18th St NW
Telephone: 202 667 5370
Hours: Sun-Thur 5pm-2am, Fri-Sat 5pm-3am
Amongst all the 'Look-at-Me' style spots in Adam Morgan stands a legendary
laid-back gem that's so cool it doesn't have to follow the dictates of fashion.
Bright and brazen, sarcastic and soulful, a mural at the entrance announces
'Sorry, We're Open' and sets the tone. Welcome to Madam's Organ - quirky,
intriguing and perennially popular DC bar. Enter and take the stairs up
to Big Daddy's Love Lounge & Pick-Up Joint! The interior is cluttered and
dusty, with much wood, bare-brick and bright neon. Locals are arty types,
politicos and bar-room philosophers who take cocktails, beers and bourbon
and tap their feet to the live music - usually blues or bluegrass - played
every night from 9.30pm. Drinks are surprisingly cheap and food runs from
soul-food to American. Play pool, boogie on down and realise you are
actually in the hippest spot in town.
Setting the Scene
You can't fail to be impressed by the hi-energy vibe of New York. Fast and
furious, it's home to so much nightlife and famous haunts you'd need a year
just to list them. It may be in your face at times but then again, if there
was ever a place to make you sit up and take note, this is it. You'll love the
urban style in all its various shapes and besides the bars, it is of course,
the best place to show off your shopping conquests.
89 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012-4402
Telephone: 212 274 0989
Hours: Mon - Sun 12pm - 1am
A swanky ‘Sex and the City-style’ food-bar where the glass-door designer
bathrooms are as talked about as the tall drinks. Unisex cubicles on the
first floor, they look at first as if everyone can see you doing your thing.
But drop the latch on the door and they become miraculously opaque. Cocktails
are large, powerful and pricey, but perfectly prepared by barmen who seem
as intense as hit men as they crush the lime and mince the mint for the
mojitos. Arty wall installations and high booths make for a busy interior
although it looks like a large, airy diner. Take a booth, order a beer and
tuck into one of their delicious portabella sandwiches.
15 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY10017
Telephone: 212 953 0409
Voted one of the best bars in America in a Playboy poll, Campbell’s is the
barn-sized office of businessman John W. Campbell on a ground floor in
Grand Central Station. Transformed into the galleried hall of a 13th-century
Florentine palace, it’s leased out for parties and music evenings. Full of
Renaissance antiques, grand pianos and organs, it’s Gatsby glamour meets Capote
cool; a real-life fairy tale in New York.
Setting the Scene
When David Hockney first flew into L.A. he was amazed to see that every home had
its own swimming pool and this prompted him to paint the now famous series of
pool paintings. L.A. has always had its opulence, outrageous wealth and high-energy
living. Going with the flow can tire you in hours, but by far the most obvious
draw is Hollywood and then along the coast the plush and exclusive citadels of
Beverly Hills and Malibu.
506 S Grand Avenue
Telephone: 213 612 1532
Hours: Mon - Sun 4.30pm - 1.45am
Years ago no-one went downtown for a drink after dark. Well now, located in
the heart of the landmark Millennium Biltmore Hotel, comes the refined grandeur
of the Gallery Bar. And it’s not called a Gallery for nothing. A beautiful
oak-panelled room with golden chandeliers, curved armchairs and plush leather
couches, its highlight is a glorious ceiling painting by artist Giovanni
Smeraldi: a hand-painted fresco of Columbus informing Queen Isabella and
King Ferdinand of the discovery of the New World. It may not be the Sistine
Chapel but then you don’t get a wicked selection of martinis, malt whiskeys
and cognacs in the Vatican, and the baby grand piano in here would give any
Papal choral orchestra a run for their money. For all the grandness Gallery
is hip, young and refreshingly free of pretension - perfect for romantic dates
or drinks with your mates.
Sunset Trocadero Lounge
8280 W. Sunset Blvd
Revamped lounge/supper club on Sunset that's just a block down from the
famed original. It still has that Old Hollywood allure with Art Deco light
fittings, dark-wood corner bar and black and white pics of silver screeners
past, but it's the new kids on the block who come in now, among them
Wahlberg and DiCaprio. Food is so-so but the cocktails are classy with a
kick. Try the house's PCH Liquid Sunshine special: a sweet and strong rum
and pineapple mix. The Troc rocks.