The stalwarts, like the Four Seasons, the Blue Bar at the Algonquin and Bemelmanâ€™s at the Carlyle, and (hereâ€™s hoping) the Oak Room, which is to reopen in the Plaza later this summer.
For the early crowd that finds that description of the late-night scene nauseating, how about a calm drink with a view at the Mandarin Orientalâ€™s Lobby Lounge, on the 35th floor overlooking the southern reaches of Central Park.
Cool hip bars
If youâ€™re looking for a hotel bar plunked down in the midst of a bustling, hip neighborhood, it is really rather impossible to beat Hotel on Rivingtonâ€™s Thor, a lounge (and in the back, a restaurant) on a particularly happening stretch of Rivington Street in the 21st-century playground known as the Lower East Side.
For the late-night crowd, thereâ€™s the Bryant Park Hotelâ€™s Cellar Bar, more like a club than a bar, attracting a young crowd to dance under the Guastavino-style vaulted ceilings as bikini-clad writhers-for-hire dance behind the bar.
A few new roof spots this summer have become instant favorites. Thereâ€™s the Salon de Ning at the Peninsula in Midtown, a total overhaul of what was the Pentop Bar. The Chinese Contemporary art on the ceiling and walls, and Chinese daybeds on the buzzing patios is supposed to evoke the salon of the completely made up 1930s Shanghai socialite Madame Ning.
The other new roof in town is the Roosevelt Hotelâ€™s mad46, with a gimmicky special entrance and a dedicated elevator attended by a guy who radios upstairs how many people he has with him.
Alas, the hotel roof with the best view, at Sixty Thompson, is open only to guests and members and people who manage to get into places that are open only to guests and members. Whereas your average rooftop is stuck in Midtown, with high-rises blocking views, this one, Above 60, is in SoHo, the low-rise valley between downtown and Midtown.
High on the View as Much as the Cocktails