The Re-Emergence of Lounge Bars

It was back in 1572 when William Shakespeare gave us the word “bar” to mean the serving counter in a tavern or pub. There has been a resurgence or re-emergence of lounge bars in the hotel sector, especially in up-scale hotels. With the current building boom in new and remodeled hotels and restaurants, the designers are displaying a new restless energy and desire to fill the thirst for unique, first-hand experiences. From classic landmark hotels to Las Vegas mega casinos to Disney theme hotels, there has been an intense desire for the industry to fill the appetites of the traveling public who are looking for and expecting quality high-end experiences.

From slick “style bars” specializing in high-end spirits and wines to the late-night lounge bars that provide a relaxing atmosphere open “living room” theme offers a lounge as an extension of the bar. Up-scale hotels are responding to a new awakening to the allure of travel and fine dining, with spectacular new facilities and renovations to expand their share of a travel industry worth $700 billion in the United States alone.

Here are just a few recent designs and renovations. For further ideas please reference Designing the World’s Best Bars – by Martin Pegler.

As part of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis’ $138M renovation, the largest atrium hotel in the world is introducing four new restaurant and lounge experiences to infuse the hotel with a new “pulse”.

searsSEAR debuts as the hotel’s sophisticated signature restaurant. The restaurant’s open kitchen is visible throughout the entire dining room as onlookers witness true culinary expertise. The aromas of fine wines fill the air as patrons dive into the 140 varieties available -all of which are on display in the five floor-to-ceiling, temperature-controlled wine vaults throughout the dining room.

pulsePULSE is the new iconic symbol of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis as its 50 foot-tall sail projects a daily color-changing light show inside the interior of the contemporary-designed atrium hotel. At 6:00 p.m., an audible heartbeat will sound in the lobby to welcome the beginning of an eight-hour social hour as Pulse transforms into a vibrant lounge. The color of the iconic sail will change with the mood of the evening ending with a heightened pulsating array of radiant colors as a salute to the evening.

high-velocityHIGH VELOCITY is taking sports bars to new heights as one of Atlanta’s largest, projecting sporting events on 21 42-inch plasma screens. The Media Room at High Velocity is the place for serious spectators to see their players on the big screen – literally. The Media Room features a 40-foot matrix theatrical projection screen that can promote either one large image or multiple images at once.

For more information on these venues or the renovations, please visit


The Cloister Inn, now the 356-acre, 1,047-room Boca Raton Resort & Club, opened its doors in 1926 at a cost of $1.25million, the most expensive 100-room hotel ever built at the time. The Architect was Addison Mizner.

The Cloister’s guests seemed attracted rather than put off by Addison Mizner’s unconventional behavior. His previous trips to China gave him a fondness for silk pajamas, which he decided were perfectly proper for street wear. He also delighted in parading around with his pets and was reportedly seen on more than one occasion promenading with two chows, a small monkey on one shoulder, a macaw on the other and leading two large monkeys. His favorite pet was his pet monkey, Johnny Brown and it is this special love for monkeys that led to the creation of Mizner’s Monkey Bar.


Opened in February 2007, Michelin-star rated Angela Hartnett, one of the most high profile women in the restaurant world and a partner of Gordon Ramsay, launched her first U.S. restaurant at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The stunning new restaurant occupies the 27th floor of the Tower giving diners a spectacular panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.


At the Four Season’s Beverly Wilshire, experience chic, stylish comfort, featuring lush sofas and a magnificent 18-foot (5.5-metre) illuminated onyx bar. Also highlighting the room is a large backlit wine display containing over 1,000 bottles. This is the perfect spot for people watching, or for a romantic night out on the town.


A sophisticated, modern lounge, Sidebar is the ultimate place to unwind after work or to relax on weekends. A small menu of appetizers – “Rough Cuts” – accompanies a wide selection of wines and classic cocktails with an innovative twist.


The most recent addition to Yorkville’s überchic night scene. Located at the InterContinental Toronto on prestigious Bloor Street West, PROOF is modern, sophisticated and invites urban professionals and savvy Torontonians to engage in an evening of after-work cocktails or pre-dancing drinks. Inspired by the adjacent patio sensation skylounge, California-based Zebrowski Design Group created a fashionable space that reflects similar clean lines, brought indoors in a striking new venue. As with skylounge, accomplished Canadian talent was commissioned to the project, including highly esteemed interior designers Cecconi Simone, who crafted the majority of the furnishings and renowned fashion designer Franco Mirabelli, who created a collection of stylish uniforms for the staff.

The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Central Place is the ultimate luxury destination for travelers en route to the 2008 Olympic Games, or those simply seeking to enjoy the many treasures of this timelessly beautiful city.



CRYSTAL BAR – Sit and enjoy your favorite beverage alongside this dazzling, crystal bar.

cepeCEPE WINE BAR – The Bottega wine lounge inside Cepe, the Italian restaurant of The Ritz-Carlton Beijing features fine wines and grappas. properties/Beijing


By day, Stir at The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, Florida, offers a relaxing place to enjoy the hotel’s atmosphere adjacent to the lobby. By night, experience the transformation as Stir becomes the center of evening activity. Choose your favorite libation to enjoy on the oceanfront terrace around the fire pit.

Written By: Don Billings