Best Place For Cocktails (2000)

Marlin Bar (in the Marlin Hotel)

The bar in Chris Blackwell's hotel has been a consistent standout for nine years. It hasn't had to reinvent itself to grab attention, like a plastic-surgeried Palm Beach matron. Instead it has remained confident in its own cool. The lounge's brushed-steel interior provides a refined platform in which to sit and sip a drink. The bartenders are swift and attentive. But if you're with friends, you may prefer the more intimate setting down in the so-called opium den, a cozy little enclave decorated with Middle Eastern drapes, couches, and cushions. Most nights the den offers live music (a mix of salsa, jazz, and R&B). Beverage prices vary from four to nine dollars, and whether it's an old standby like a martini or a house specialty such as the blue marlin -- a blend of light rum, blue curaçao, lemon juice -- it's always served in a copious goblet.


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