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Hotel Hot Spots

Some of the city's most stylish bars and lounges are in hotels. These boîtes occasionally require crossing a velvet-roped entrance, but most extend automatic entry to hotel guests.

Downtown, the swank bar at the Mondrian is a treat, and the Jimmy bar at the James Hotel hotel has some of the best views in town. On the Lower East Side, the Lobby Bar in the Bowery Hotel is a Wes Anderson movie come to life, with worn velvet furniture, Persian rugs, an assortment of taxidermy, and a back patio that harbors some of the most coveted summertime tables in the neighborhood.

Mega-hotelier Ian Schrager's properties are design temples, with chic lounges favored by jet-setters and locals alike. The new "haute Bohemian" Gramercy Park Hotel is Schrager's latest offering, with its popular—and pricey—Rose Bar and Jade Bar. The hotel also has a private members- and guests-only Roof Club. The Ace Hotel is the sweet spot du jour, with one bar in the eclectic lobby and another at the trendy Breslin restaurant. The Standard has a happening bar scene at the Standard Grill. The 18th-floor lounge is a tough row to hoe unless you're a friend of the owner, but downstairs you can also sip suds in the outdoor beer garden, which is more egalitarian, and frankly, more fun—they even have Ping-Pong. It's also open year-round now.

In Midtown, the art deco-designed Chatwal has a hopping lobby scene with drinks by cocktail guru Sasha Petraske and an elegant second-floor bar decorated with whimsical touches that are a paean to classic New York (look for the shimmering light fixtures shaped like the Chrysler Building).

Print at the Ink48 is an elegant place to catch an early bite and a drink—later you can dance to views of both the Hudson to the west and the glittering city on the other side. The Room Mate Grace in Times Square has a bar that's adjacent to its lobby-level pool; you can see all the underwater action through voyeur windows above the bar. Just make sure to pay attention at the end of the evening, or you might be the hotel's next swimming sensation. At the Mandarin Oriental on Columbus Circle, the 35th-floor lounge is the place to soak in views of Central Park. Come summertime, Yotel offers one of the city's most expansive outdoor patios, with happening DJs and Latin-inspired cocktails.

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