There’s perhaps nothing that sweetens a business deal better than an expertly crafted cocktail, which is why finding a bar or lounge with the perfect backdrop for your client conversation can be so crucial. But if your job has you logging an obscene number of frequent flyer miles, chances are you often find yourself hosting meetings in unfamiliar cities without intimate knowledge of local hot spots.
To make your work easier, we’ve rounded up the best bars for business in some of the country’s most traveled-to hubs. While each has a unique ambiance, what they share in common are ultra-skilled bartenders, refined biz-appropriate settings, and opportunities for rubbing elbows with industry insiders. Here’s a toast to all you tycoons in the making!
Tinseltown power players, international jetsetters, and pretty young trendsetters all converge at this iconic lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows. Deep booths and low lighting keep intimate conversations hushed, so you’re guaranteed discretion in your negotiations. Yet despite its high-profile clientele and extravagant cocktails, the lounge retains a Cali-casual vibe—so don’t be afraid to shrug off that jacket or take a meeting on the outdoor trellised patio.
The Tower Bar
Housed in the Art Deco Sunset Tower Hotel, a former luxury apartment complex that housed stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, this retro-Moderne bar and restaurant transports you back to Hollywood’s glamorous Golden Era with waiters in crisp tuxedos, a jazz pianist, and plenty of star sightings. But there’s also a business legacy here: The space used to be mobster Bugsy Siegel’s old apartment. We’re sure your business dealings are more on the up-and-up, but those vodka martinis and sweeping views might make you feel like you own the city.
This 1930s bar was already steeped in swinging Jazz Age history when Vanity Fair Editor Grayson Carter swooped in circa 2009, restored the lush interiors, and ramped up the fashion factor—turning it into a swanky vintage hangout for the Midtown A-list set. High-profile media, film, and political figures mingle beneath the signature monkey murals knocking back classic cocktails, so it’s the perfect place to close the deal that will propel you to mogul status. Consider a reservation, though—it can get mobbed when the post-work crowd slinks in.
Bar Room at The Modern
If you’ve got business in Midtown or are entertaining a client with artistic leanings, this sleek, cosmopolitan lounge in the Museum of Modern Art is a sophisticated pick. To complement the Alsatian small plates, there are over 900 international wine selections plus a handful of inventive cocktails (cilantro-infused gin, anyone?). The seating options (upholstered black benches or twirling chairs) accommodate groups of all sizes, and the chatter of the urbane crowd provides lively conversation starters.
Off the Record
Located in the lower level of the classic Hay-Adams hotel and just steps from the White House, Off the Record hosts the Washington power scene at its polished mahogany bar. It’s an ideal spot if you need to do some discreet deal brokering: The elegant Victorian décor with red upholstered seating and antique chandeliers evoke a time when politics was a more genteel sport, and conversation here is truly “off the record” (the bar is billed as the best “place to be seen and not heard” in this town).
This historic Washington bar and lounge was built in 1922, and it’s retained all the charms of a cozy Victorian sitting room (think well-worn armchairs and a working fireplace). You’ll be in excellent company if you take a meeting here, as journalists and politicos have long made it a civilized place to carry out business over Sazeracs and brandy. And oh, we must emphasize the cocktails—the expert bartenders craft truly top-notch pours.