Winter’s Coming: Cold-Themed Hotel Bar Openings

The Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a frostier than usual winter in New York City, with plenty of snow. After getting a free pass last year, it’s time to re-learn the cozy side of cold. New York hotels are dropping winter wonderlands in bar spaces that not so many weeks ago were all about mini dresses and mojitos. Hot winter nights. Now available independent of global warming.

Manhattan may be short on chairlifts, but that’s no reason you can’t enjoy an après-ski scene. The Hudson Hotel has converted its second-floor Private Park into a rustic pocket of Vermont. Taxidermy, Christmas lights, and mismatched chairs provide northern accents inside the Hudson Lodge’s leafy oasis. “Eat” in lights directs you to the bar, where snacks are divided into savory and sweet. Fondue is primed for a comeback, joined here by fellow cold weather bites like s’more grilled cheeses and chipotle chili. Drinks are standing by for Arctic blasts, with adulterated hot chocolates joined by hot toddies and a classic Irish coffee. If you’re missing snow they’ve got that, too, as artificial white stuff falls through happy hours. Just not enough to cut any powder tracks.

Over at Brandon Freid‘s sweet Sanctuary Hotel, rooftop spot HAVEN is also going for the ski chalet gold. A newly installed tent keeps things warm, and makes the scale more intimate than the longer vistas of summer. Crimson accents and stellar light fixtures add to the holiday spirit. The rebooted menu features fondue (of course), with the kitchen working hearty/savory angles. The cocktail augmentations approximate what they might be drinking at the North Pole come December 26th—candy cane martinis, Irish coffees, and Bailey’s Peppermint hot cocoas are among the highlights.

Hôtel Americano’s rooftop bar turns up the cozy with its new Patagonia-inspired aerie Conôsur. The space in summertime hosts the pool scene of La Piscine, but winter sees the same waters warmed up for hot tubbing. The solarium dining room has been made Viking-friendly, with tall white candles and sheepskin on the seats. The kitchen picks up the Patagonia theme with a South American-style parilla grill. Flank and strip steaks pair up nice with bone marrow and chimichurri. There’s fondue, too, leaning on beer in the Suisse, white wine in the Savoyarde. Signature winter cocktails split neatly into hot and cold. On the former, don’t miss the Danny el Fuego, fired with amaretto, apple brandy, butter, and ginger juice.

Coming later this winter is the Hilton New York’s entry for winter-themed boozing. New Zealand by way of Las Vegas export Minus5° Ice Bar (pictured) prides itself on the art of frozen water. The –5 refers to the ambient temperature, which stays on the south side of zero Celsius to ensure the surroundings don’t start to melt. Everything is made of ice. Walls, seats, bar, even the glasses. To stave off frostbite, they’ll gear you up first with protective jackets and north country hats. Vodka rules the roost, served in glasses made of frozen New Zealand artesian water. Souvenir photos will be available, should you want to work up a pose with the ever-changing collection of ice sculptures. (If my study of Green Bay Packers home games is relevant, expect a lot of men taking shirts off for the camera.)

[Related: BlackBook New York Guide]

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