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Who says a cocktail is a cocktail is a cocktail? There’s something to be said for setting, atmosphere—vibe.  A hotel bar that isn’t just a place to plunk down, throw a few drinks back before calling it a night, is another amenity worth bragging about. Here are a few hotels that do the bar thing well—whether it’s wacky, tied to a theme, or reflective of the local culture:

ALSO: 7 out-of-this-world hotel minibars

Public Belt | Photo courtesy of

Public Belt | Photo courtesy of Hilton New Orleans

Public Belt at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside

There’s a story behind Public Belt, the swanky cocktail lounge inside Hilton New Orleans Riverside. The newish piano bar on the second floor of the hotel—named for the railroad brought to New Orleans in the 1900s and still operating today—serves up hand-crafted cocktails that recall the mystique of the Prohibition era with its cozy seating and live jazz band. The speakeasy-style bar offers classic NOLA cocktails like Brandy Crusta, but stands out for drinks such as Lulu’s Clever Hands (Citrus vodka, lime juice, Peychaud’s bitters and ginger beer) and Ella’s Secret (gin, elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth and celery bitters) that pay tribute to the Storyville prostitutes and madams of the era.

Booger Reds Saloon

Photo courtesy of Booger Reds Saloon

Booger Red’s Saloon at the Stockyards Hotel: Fort Worth,TX

Cowboys and girls will feel right at home at Booger Red’s Saloon, the taproom next door to the historic Stockyards Hotel in Fort Worth. Named in honor of legendary Texas bronc-busting champion Samuel Thomas Privett and smack in the middle of the Stockyards District, Booger’s is the place to go when you’ve had your fill of all the Stockyards District has to offer with its museum, shops and memorabilia of the American West. Settle into a saddle barstool and chill in all things western. Drink the Buffalo Butt Beer and signature Anita-Rita Margarita. 

Castilla Lounge

Castilla Lounge | Photo courtesy of Costa Rica Marriott

Castilla Lounge at the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose

How about cocktails in a colonial hacienda? The Castilla Lounge is set within a 30-acre coffee plantation inside the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose. The lounge is home to cultural antiques, including tables which were once beds used by nuns in Guatemalan convents. Enjoy exotic drinks surrounded by the traditional tiled flooring that enhances the hacienda’s rustic elegance.

Double Cross Lounge

Double Cross Lounge | Photo courtesy of Kinzie Hotel

DoubleCross Lounge at the Kinzie Hotel: Chicago, IL

The Kinzie Hotel’s motto is “Chicago Starts Here.” Everything about the hotel—the art, amenities and services scream Windy City. The Double Cross pays tribute to silversmith John Kinzie (widely recognized as Chicago’s first civilian) and his double-barred cross silver pieces. The lounge serves up drinks in his honor like the Silver Cross (vodka, Limoncello, Peachtree Schnapps, triple sec and white cranberry juice). One of his silver crosses is on display at the Chicago History Museum.

ALSO: Hang at these hotels for less by signing up for Orbitz Rewards!

Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau

HoDo Restaurant and Lounge and Sky Prairie at the Hotel Donaldson: Fargo, ND

This hotel, originally built in 1893, has changed hands many times, but the name stuck. It celebrates the local art, creativity and food of Fargo and claims to have “all of the region’s cool under one roof.” Locals love happy hour at the Hodo Lounge or the hotel’s rooftop bar, Sky Prairie. Both serve a special “Bitter Bison” drink which offers a hat tip to the National Championship Football team,North Dakota State, and HoDo features artwork from local artists and cuisine from local farmers, ranchers and beekeepers.

Kimpton Morrison

Photo courtesy of Kimpton Morrison

Ashlar Restaurant and Bar at Kimpton Morrison House: Alexandria, VA

This Old Town Alexandria hotel just debuted a design inspired by American literary masterpieces set on and around water—a modern take on Morrison House’s original bookish concept that incorporates the hotel’s closeproximity to the Potomac River. Think botanical and water elements coupled with original artwork inspired by excellent reads like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Great Gatsby. The theme extends to the Ashlar Restaurant and Bar where chef Bobby Surdam’s menu celebrates classic American cooking inspired by ingredients indigenous to the region. A beverage program emphasizes colonial-era spirits that rip a page from the Founding Father’s playbook. A wide selection of rum, madeira, sherry, Virginia Whiskey and beer, complement a list of colonial cocktails like the Ale Flip.

Gallery Bar

Galley Bar | Photo courtesy of West Palm Beach

Galley at the Hilton West Palm Beach: West Palm Beach, FL

If you like boats and whiskey, check in at the Hilton West Palm Beach. Maritime fanatics will love the yacht-inspired lobby bar, Galley, with its nautical vibe, handcrafted cocktails and décor featuring buoys, lobster traps and photos of oversized sailboats. Choose your poison including custom bourbon, local craft beers from South Florida’s growing beer scene or whatever floats your, um, boat.

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Tagged: Caribbean, Florida, Midwest

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Sheryl Nance-Nash

Sheryl Nance-Nash

Sheryl is a writer and editor, specializing in travel, personal finance, business and career topics. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, Money,,,, Upscale Magazine, Essence, Black Enterprise and others.

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