John Jacob Astor IV founded the luxurious St. Regis hotels. So it's only fitting that King Cole Bar, which opened in the midtown St. Regis in 1948, is seriously swanky and opulent.
The entrance is dramatic. Immediately greeting you is an enormous 30' by 8' mural of Old King Cole above a beautifully burnished mahogany bar. The mural by Maxfield Parrish was installed at the hotel in 1932 (before the bar opened) and benefitted from a $100,000 restoration in 2007. The bar's stunning, cinematic setting has been put to good use in movies such as The Devil Wears Prada and Hannah and Her Sisters.
Despite the overall grandeur, however, the room's small size and dim, glowing lights make the space feel very intimate. Plus, the soft carpeting, leather banquettes and world-class service make it feel downright comfortable.
The crowd is upscale and well-heeled. The mysterious lighting makes for great crowd-watching - one can imagine secret liaisons or power plays among business titans happening in the dark recesses of the bar. This alluring atmosphere doesn't come cheap, though, so be prepared!
P.S. The Bloody Mary was said to have been invented here.
Business attire dress
For more drinking tips, check out our feature "How to Drink Anywhere in the World" from the May 2015 issue.