New York City’s jazz heyday may be long over, but these days, the music has found another home: hotel bars. In celebration of International Jazz Day on April 30, here’s a roundup of NYC’s six jazziest hotels.
Ease into the New York night over tinkling jazz at the low-lit Measure in the The Langham Place Fifth Avenue, which opened in 2013. Measure hosts a nightly jazz program curated by artist-in-residence Antonio Ciacca. Emerging and established talents grace the stage — coming up are pianist and bandleader Simona Premazzi (April 18–19) and the jazz trio Alberto Pibiri (April 25–28). And, on International Jazz Day (April 30), the house band, led by Ciacca, will heat up Measure. Wet the lips with the new Lady Pink cocktail, created especially for the hotel by the master mixologist Alex Kratena, from Langham Place London. Plus, this is no ordinary bar menu: Graze on crostini topped with artichoke puree, pesto and buffalo mozzarella, as well as steak tartar with “fancy sauce,” as they put it.
The Lexington in Midtown relaunched in 2013 after undergoing a multimillion renovation that was inspired by its 1920s Jazz Age roots. The hotel’s history is impressive: Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe lived in a suite on the 18th floor, and actress Dorothy Lamour was a regular guest. The hotel was also host to the naughty shenanigans of the Playboy Club. These days, the shenanigans are going on in the hotel’s new, sultry Mixing Room, which features jazz concerts every Tuesday by the New York Jazz Workshop. Nightly themes celebrate New York City’s jazz era, like Bebop and Beyond. The cocktails also pay homage to the past, with choices like The Fitzgerald, made with rum, Maraschino, fresh grapefruit juice and lime. If Marilyn were still around, you’d probably find her lounging in the Mixing Room.
The Lexington is also offering a special package (through the end of 2014) in collaboration with the Jazz Age-inspired Broadway musical After Midnight, which includes a stay in the After Midnight-branded suite, with a 1960s-style record player and framed photos from the production; tickets to the show; and two complimentary After Midnight sidecar cocktails in the Mixing Room.
In March 2014, the Plaza Hotel kicked off Jazz Nights at The Rose Club. On Wednesday nights, crooner Kat Gang serenades the crowds with her versatile voice, which has been described as “a four-octave instrument.” And on Thursday nights, check out the eight-piece classic jazz group Lapis Luna.
Several of NYC’s classic hotels also feature jazz nights, including the highly regarded Jazz at Kitano at Kitano New York Hotel. At the Carlyle, Woody Allen and the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band perform at their longstanding Monday night residency. And, toe-tap to live jazz every Tuesday night at the handsome Two E Bar/Lounge at the Pierre. A bonus: The lounge is hosting a Scottish Cocktail Festival, with drinks like the Nutty Scotsman (Coal Ila 12yr, Glayva Liqueur, Frangelico and La Marca Prosecco). After a couple of these, you may feel like a nutty Scotsman yourself.