This isn’t a list of “USA Bars to go before you die”, because we want you to read this list before! Finding an exceptional bar interior design, one that crafts a drink worth paying $15 or more for, with a powerful eye-catching bar furniture… is no easy task. From the theatrical, molecularly inspired mixology at The Alchemist in London to the Art Deco decadence of The Great Gatsby-inspired Atlas Bar in Singapore, extravagant bars worth your money, time and sobriety are waiting to be discovered. This is a list of best bar decor ideas from USA bars to steal!
Manhattan’s Midtown district might not be known for its stylish nightlife, but the recently opened Ophelia lounge bar, on top of the Panhellenic Beekman Tower, is the frontrunner to change all that. Designed by Merchants Hospitality and co-development consultants Public Agenda, the historic 1928 space has been transformed into a glamorous, art deco-infused cocktail bar that boasts panoramic views of the Big Apple and the East River. Occupying the tower’s 26th floor, the 100-seat lounge brims over with intricately restored architectural details, including original windows with preserved ironwork and exposed original bricks.
Seating lines the lounge’s periphery, while a circular outer terrace, decorated with rich velvet upholstered seating and custom black and white tiles, provides ample room for guests to get cozy, while an encasement of 13-foot windows makes the most of the surrounding city views. At the lounge’s north and south ends, two exterior balconies provide opportunities for a breath of fresh air. Rooted at the heart of the lounge is a grand pewter bar. Positioned under vintage lighting and installed with curiosities and memorabilia from the building’s storied past underneath the glass bar top, it is a fitting homage to the tower’s original purpose – a residence for working women.
The Nomad Bar, New York by Stonehill & Taylors
The good folks behind The NoMad Hotel, known as Sydell Group, have strengthened their foothold in Manhattan’s North of Madison Park neighborhood by opening The NoMad bar, just around the corner from the popular hotel. The formerly non-descript building, which once housed a brothel amongst others, has been beautifully restored by architects Stonehill & Taylor to its late 19th-century glory.
Featuring green leather seating and a mahogany-paneled interior, the two-floor bar is a moody, French-inspired throwback to the good life in a bygone age, similar to the hotel’s own design. Accessible via a street entrance or through the hotel’s Elephant Bar, space’s focal point is a majestic copper and wood bar that stands in front of a grand antique mirror that stretches to the top of the room’s 20-foot ceiling.
Patrons on the mezzanine floor can peer down on the action from velvet armchairs and indulge in the bar’s delectable menu of nibbles, such as baked clams and eggplant beignets dressed in mint and yogurt. The cocktails are the real draw though, with everything from the classic to experimental on offer. Choose one of the reserve tipples, which are prepared with an array of rare spirits.
The Transcript Speakeasy bar, New York by The Design High
Anonymity is a difficult commodity to come by in Manhattan, and even scrupulously hidden speakeasies quickly find themselves on the radar of the madding crowd. The allure of The Transcript Speakeasy is that it’s located within 63 Wall Street – the former 1920s HQ of private bank Brown Brothers Harriman turned private residential tower in the city’s Financial District – with access limited to three guests of a resident.
Having just refurbished the building’s main public spaces, Brooklyn-based studio The Design High pulled off a tricky restoration of the bijou nook just off the all-white grand lobby by blending contemporary touches such as velvet bar seating and a customized brass mesh and marble bar, with the original green marble fireplace, wood paneled walls, herringbone floors and chandeliers.
Himitsu, Atlanta by Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio has completed its first American hospitality project and it doesn’t disappoint. Named Himitsu (the Japanese word for ‘secret’), the jewel-box cocktail lounge, which can only be entered first by reservation, then with an email passcode, followed by an iris scanner, is bringing top-of-the-line exclusivity to Atlanta.
Aesthetically, the 60-seat bar decor ideas evoke the clandestine nature of American Prohibition with the careful intricacy of Japanese mixology. Realized in a moody palette of rich textures and colors, the lounge bar decor combines pre-existing features like exposed industrial structures with smooth concrete panels, leather banquettes and an illuminated copper bar that appropriately shines the spotlight on the cocktail-making process. Dixon’s Melt pendants hang artistically overhead, while smoked mirror glass and marble tabletops, Scoop armchairs and shiny Etch tea light holders complete the elegant setting.
S&R Lounge at Hotel Zetta, San Francisco by Dawson Design Associates
Following the opening of Hotel Zetta in San Francisco earlier this year, the hotel lobby area is now ready to be brought into play. S&R Lounge, a two-story bar, and lounge, is designed as a playground for San Francisco’s tech-savvy inhabitants, with a pool table, shuffleboard, Nintendo Wii U consoles and an interactive wall configured after the retro classic Plinko game. As S&R is short for salvage and rescue, Seattle-based Dawson Design Associates has embraced the city’s device in retaining and repurposing the old, including all artworks.
Bibo Ergo Sum at West Hollywood, California by Home Studios
Tait Forman, from the family behind upscale movie theatre chain ArcLight, has joined forces with cocktail consultants Proprietors – who are behind Koreatown favorites such as the Walker Inn and the Normandie Club – to launch Bibo Ergo Sum. Latin for ‘I drink, therefore I am’, the bar’s concept features a three-part menu that corresponds to the three acts – the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige – that comprise every magic trick, as popularised in the film The Prestige.
Expect updates of classics such as Throw Some C’s, a spin on a margarita made with cinnamon reposado tequila, lime juice, Pierre Ferrand dry curacao and cinnamon along with extraordinary smoke-encapsulated concoctions and a wine and beer menu to suit all tastes. This is served up in a retro 1980s and modern art deco setting designed by Brooklyn-based Home Studios, who was inspired by a mishmash of influences from new-wave French film posters to Viennese architecture.
The Roof at Viceroy, New York by Roman and Williams
If there’s one sort of bar we have a weakness for, it’s a rooftop one. So the latest example, unveiled at the Viceroy luxury hotel in New York, has gone straight to the top of our list. Perched on the hotel’s 29th floor and making the most of its Central Park location, The Roof is a gem to behold. In keeping with the rest of the property, the bar’s moody, brass-trimmed bar decor ideas have been designed by Roman and Williams, who used woods like walnut on the ceilings and iroko for the surrounds to create an intimate yacht-like clubhouse in the sky.
Boasting an outdoor terrace that will be open year round, The Roof comes armed with a menu of small-batch spirits, regional beers and a bevy of classic and house cocktails to keep patrons well-lubricated. There’s also a generous menu of bar snacks and bites – a New York cheese plate, black garlic ranch Cobb salad, and truffled deviled eggs – to enjoy while savoring the view, which probably means visitors won’t be venturing far beyond it anytime soon.