Ah, the library bar. An urban oasis steeped in history (quite literally). Vintage, deep-seated armchairs, mahogany shelves and leather bound books ease the soul, while a single malt scotch calms the nerves after a long day of work. Ron Burgundy’s kind of place. My kind of place.
Though it may seem like something out of old-world Europe, this dimly lit relic of a room, emanating with muted comradery and mutual appreciation is alive and kicking these days.
While not always advertised, these clandestine, bookcase-clad bars are in cities you might expect, like London and New York—and cities you might not.
Here are few that GLR recommends you check out.
Library Bar (Nomad Hotel), New York, NY
The fully curated, two-level library is connected by an original spiral staircase imported from the South of France. Guests can lounge throughout the day on custom-made furnishings and enjoy light fare and finger foods which are served alongside coffee, tea, wine, and cocktails. An eclectic literary collection is available, featuring extensive volumes on such wide-ranging topics as The History of New York, Music, and Cocktails and Spirits. Hungry? You can order off the regular menu which includes their signature chicken for two dish—a whole chicken stuffed with foi gras.
Library Bar (Rittenhouse Hotel), Philadelphia, PA
Located in the center of the city, Library Bar is among the best hotel bars in Philadelphia, exquisitely designed as a refuge to escape from the rigors of the day. Thanks to an exceptional selection of wines and the very best rare spirits, as well as knowledgeable bartenders, Library Bar remains a top spot in the city of brotherly love. In addition to their well executed libations, Library Bar also offers exceptional fair including artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, oysters, cod fries and BBQ ribs.
The Wellsbourne, Los Angeles, CA
Inspired by elegant English manors, The Wellesbourne is a classic, old-school lounge that offers a low-key sanctuary from the bustle of modern Los Angeles. The bar is named after a small village near Stratford-Upon-Avon, England. Cottage-style windows and limestone trim distinguish the brick Tudor-Revival exterior. Inside the three luxurious rooms are decked out in rich dark wood, crown moldings, plush leather, and hues of blue and gold. Complete with a fireplace, large leather sofas and chairs, wood paneling, a library and a game room, the Wellesbourne is more like a Victorian social club than a bar. What’s more, a crew of expert mixologists are at the ready to concoct either custom cocktails or one of the many excellent drinks on the formal menu. Selections include vintage drinks that you rarely see anymore, like the Harvey Wallbanger or the grasshopper.
The Library Bar (Warwick Melrose Hotel), Dallas, TX
What’s not to like about a place a that has been named “the Top Place to Sip and Sup” by the Wall Street Journal, “Best Bar in the Greatest City on Earth” by Maxim magazine, one of the best “Seduction Spots for America’s Best Bars” by Playboy magazine and consistently chosen as one of Dallas’ best piano bars. Open from Sunday until Saturday at 2pm, The Library Bar, inside the Warwick Melrose Hotel, is one of Dallas’ most popular business and after-work social meeting spots. Enjoy a comprehensive full-service bar and simplified bar menu, including a variety of small plate appetizers and full plate selections.
The Library (Lanesborough Hotel), London, UK
Lined with bookcases and leather-bound volumes, decorated with beautiful wood marquetry wallpaper and furnished with sofas and wing-chairs, The Library Bar retains its intimate, club-like atmosphere.
In the distinguished surroundings there is the opportunity for enlightenment, as guests acquaint themselves with the bar’s “Liquid History”, a timeline of vintage Cognacs that dates back to the 1770s, displayed in glass cabinets.
Alternatively, you may simply choose to enjoy the sound of the piano, the roaring fire and the company of friends.