Lantern’s Keep is One of the World’s Best Hotel Bars

21 May

Lantern’s Keep, the retro bar and cocktail salon at the Iroquois Hotel, was named a top 10 finalist for the World’s Best Hotel Bar at the 6th Annual Spirited Awards. They are the only NYC hotel bar to make the list.

I wrote a review of Lantern’s Keep last December when they hosted an exclusive cocktail demonstration for the press. I’ve been back twice since I wrote that, and I love it every time.

From December 5, 2011, published by Socially Superlative:

Lantern’s Keep is a tiny and hidden gem in the Iroquois Hotel in Midtown West- but don’t call it a bar, lounge or lobby. According to the website, “it’s an entity all to itself.”

If I had to describe it, I’d still use the word lounge however, because it’s the closest fit I can think of. Lantern’s Keep, therefore, is a cozy little 1920s-style “lounge” featuring classic cocktails, plush furniture, and a gorgeous fireplace. Only seven months old, they featured an exclusive cocktail demonstration Thursday night to introduce both the location and the cocktails, all while giving us advice on our own holiday parties.

The demonstration was both unique and informative, leaving me very interested in the cocktail-making art and also reminding me how badly I need to watch Mad Men. [ Note: I have since started watching Mad Men, and it’s as good as everyone said it was]

Theo Lieberman was our bartender, who is Lantern Keep’s lead bartender while also working part-time at Milk and Honey. Professional and studious-looking (Glasses? Check. Suspenders? Check…), Lieberman certainly knows a lot about alcohol and how to mix it in a way that works. He showed us how to make three different cocktails during the course of the demonstration, while also making any other cocktail upon request. Our first cocktail, the Regal Rum Rickey, was made with dark rum, simple syrup and lime juice. Light and tangy with that hint of lime, it was a perfect, refreshing drink to start off the evening.

As Lieberman discussed how Lantern’s Keep uses only fresh-squeezed fruit juice and a very simple list of ingredients for all their cocktails, he made a second concoction that ended up being my favorite: a Thanksgiving-inspired punch made with ginger syrup, simple syrup, allspice dram, lime juice and apple brandy. The strong liquor with the fruit juice, sugar, and spices was absolutely to-die-for this time of season. I am definitely hoping to go back and try that one again before Christmas.

The third drink was yet another unique combination: a carbonated Negroni, launching soon on Lantern’s Keep’s new menu. Made with gin, sweet vermouth, and campari, this one was definitely not my favorite in comparison to the other two. The uniqueness of the carbonation (almost no bars in New York City serve carbonated cocktails), however, is yet another reason to check out this unique and delicious place.

Not only did we learn some fun and interesting tips on how to be a bartender (or on how to NOT spend all your time bartending) at your holiday party this year, but we also got a great gift bag at the end of the presentation, filled with everything we need to make our own holiday drinks.

If you are looking for a quiet, cool, and cozy vintage bar, this is the place for you. After that demonstration and tasting, I can guarantee my plans to return at some point, as well as my future recommendations of the “lounge.” So here’s a recommendation to all my readers: check this place out. I loved it.

Some other cool and unique facts about Lantern’s Keep: they offer ice cubes in sizes of 1in. x 1in. and 2in. x 2in., some of them chilled in such a way so that they’re completely clear. When you ask for a drink on the rocks here, double check before complaining because chances are you just can’t see your ice cube floating there. Also, all of Lantern’s Keep’s barware is vintage, mostly from the 1920s and 1930s. How cool is that?

One Response to “Lantern’s Keep is One of the World’s Best Hotel Bars”

  1. Tammy June 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    I love those syrup glasses.

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