This is Part 2 of a two-part series on hotel bars stepping up their bar programs. In Part 1, we highlighted elevated hotel bar cocktail programs on the east coast, which included New York City, Miami, Boston and Charlotte. The west coast cities we’ll be highlighting here include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. These hotel bars are taking cocktail innovation to the next level while offering patrons fun activities such as games, dancing and, well, boozing.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Featuring The Spare Room
The Spare Room, located in the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, is unique because it was created from a spare room at the hotel and includes a cocktail bar as well as a gaming lounge. In addition to a bowling alley, The Spare Room offers a variety of games for patrons to play including Backgammon, card games, chess, Jenga, and Monopoly to name a few. While playing games, guests can sip on a variety of creative cocktails that feature interesting ingredients highlighting everything from chocolate milk to Earl-Grey-infused tequila. The Spare Room cocktail menu ranges from punch bowls that serve 4-6, 8-10, and 16-20 people as well as a game-themed cocktail menu featuring categories including Ante Up, Bullseye, and Winner’s Circle. If you’re just looking to go for a nightcap or dessert, this venue can cure your sweet tooth with an ice cream sandwich made with Campari ice cream. Bring a bunch of friends here and order a punch with a side of bowling or Backgammon.
Recommended Cocktail: Boulevard of Broken Creams
Bombay Dry Gin, Vanilla Cream, Egg White, and Orange Soda
Recommended Punch: Famous Last Words
Your choice of Tequila or Gin, Aloe Vera, Blanc Vermouth, Lime, and Orange Bitters
The Basque Hotel Featuring 15 Romolo
Inside the Basque Hotel in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood is 15 Romolo, an exciting bar with handcrafted cocktails to match. Creativity is the name of the game at this San Francisco institution. The venue prides itself on creating a special cocktail and experience for each guest. The bartenders at this venue focus on cocktail creation tailored to the needs and flavor preferences of each guest. And while 15 Romolo does have a cocktail menu, to get the ultimate innovative cocktail, guests should leave it up to the bartender to create a specialty craft cocktail on the spot. The menu features everything from a classic Pimm’s Cup to a Pisco Punch made with caramelized pineapple and yerba mate pisco. There’s also the Darjeeling Ltd., a mix of Miller’s Gin, fresh lime, gomme syrup, turmeric–Earl Grey tincture, and black peppercorn. Offering each guest a specialized experience as well as a specialty cocktail, this isn’t your typical mainstream hotel bar.
Recommended Cocktail: Bartender’s Special Creation or Ambrosia
Gin, Pisco, Melon Cordial, Manzanilla Sherry, Honey, Lime, and Grapefruit Bitters
[Bonus: Check out Foodable's "Across the Bar" episode featuring 15 Romolo here.]
Hotel DeLuxe Featuring Driftwood Room
Portland is a city booming with tourists and a cocktail culture that is top notch. Having amazing hotel bars is not just a standard, it’s practically a requirement. These quality venues aren’t just benefiting tourists, but also locals who have high standards for their cocktails. Reminiscent of a 1950s cocktail lounge, the Driftwood Room in Hotel DeLuxe offers an amazing and diverse cocktail menu. Not only can you sip on one of their signature champagne cocktails, you can also get lost with their extensive Manhattan menu, which features over 10 creative twists on the classic Manhattan cocktail. Offerings include their signature barrel-aged Driftwood Manhattan featuring Cherry Bomb Bourbon, Burnside Bourbon, Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth, Taylor Port, and Peychaud’s Bitters. If you’re looking for a different way to try spirits, the Driftwood Room offers a spirit sampler, which introduces guests to a wide array of local and international spirits including unique vodka, local gins, British gins, local whiskeys, unique whiskeys, and liqueurs. Come here to enjoy champagne cocktails and twists on classic cocktails like the Manhattan.
Recommended Cocktail: Thai Gimlet
Mekhong Rum, Domaine De Canton, Fresh Lime Juice, and Basil Simple Syrup
Palladian Hotel Featuring Pennyroyal
Pennyroyal, located in the new Palladian Hotel in downtown Seattle, is the perfect place to drink a seasonally inspired cocktail. Located two blocks from the famous Pike Place Market, this bar utilizes high-quality spirits as well as housemade infusions to mix innovative cocktails. The Pennyroyal bar menu has creative cocktails like the Past and Present Tense, which contains a whole egg, as well as a Flight Delights menu that has 17 different spirit flights. These flights include high-quality spirits and fun titles like the “Getting Rummy With It,” which features rums of the world and “Just Peat It,” featuring smoky single malts. High-quality spirits aren’t the only reason guests and locals are drawn to this bar — Pennyroyal offers Tiki Sundays every Sunday night, as well as a Tiki and Tango night on the last Sunday of each month. This night involves staff clearing the furniture, dancing tango, and a variety of tiki drinks. Tiki and dancing is just half of the experience at Pennyroyal. Come here for a cocktail on a weekday and your mind and palate will thank you.
Recommended Cocktail: A Gentle Reminder
Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Velvet Falernum, Crème De Violette, Basil, and Orange Bitters
Recommended Flight: A Little Help From A Friend (Barrel Finished Single Malt)
Balvenie (Caribbean); Genmorangie (Sherry); and The Glenlivet (French Oak)
From games to dancing, these hotel bars are offering more than just cocktails to their lineup for guests and locals alike. In addition to fun activities, these hotel bars are setting a standard in the bar industry with their creativity.
What’s the best cocktail you’ve ever had from a hotel bar?