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There’s an unmistakable thrill attached to the hotel bar. Charging creative cocktails (sans plastic!) to what you hope is the right room; flirting with sojourners from exotic locations just steps outside your hotel room; sipping freely, knowing your commute home is only an elevator ride away. Add in the fact that the majority of the world’s most classic cocktails were created at hotel bars — so the odds of getting an exceptional drink are definitely in your favor — and the allure is sealed.
While neighborhood and restaurant bars are ruled by the masses they attract, the beauty of the hotel bar is that the crowd changes every night depending on who is in town (or who isn’t), so the decor and drink menu remain the sole dictators of the scene. On any given night, you’re just as likely to be lounging on a crushed-velvet chaise next to a campaigning politician or bellying up to an oversized, reclaimed-wood bar near a struggling musician.
Plus, hotel bars can offer an escape into a deliciously draped world of intriguing personalities and seductive swills — and they're a great way to experience a very fancy hotel for (relatively) cheap, even if you're staying across town at a hostel. But, obviously, you need not waste your time at any subpar spots. That's why we did a whole lot of sipping all over the globe (tough work, but someone's gotta do it) — in the interest of hooking you up. And, the guide ahead — featuring everything from decadently decorated French salons and swanky lounges to hip, Chicago-style speakeasies and cozy chalets — showcases the best of the best. Now, go ahead, book a flight, and drink up.