Hotelier Jason Pomeranc’s Favorite Drinking Dens
Who better to weigh in on the world’s finest nightspots than a hotelier whose own bars are HQs of hip in their respective cities? Thompson Hotels’ Jason Pomeranc, self-professed tequila lover and “very social person," told Charlotte Steinway where to pull up a bar stool in the five cities he knows best
New York City
“I’m from New York, and I’m fascinated by the spectrum of nightlife here. I like to mix high and low venues: For a luxe, old school night out I go to Bemelmans Bar [above] at the Carlyle Hotel — it dates from 1930, has murals by children’s book illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, a unique, only-in-New York elegance, and the kind of attention to detail we strive for at Thompson venues. If I can motivate myself to head over the bridge to Williamsburg, I hit Hotel Delmano — it’s a speakeasy bar that’s at the forefront of the cocktail scene (try the Rattlesnake, with absinthe, rye and egg white), with a great shabby chic look and a cool Brooklyn clientele.”
“I lived in London for a year when I was studying for my postgraduate degree, and much of the inspiration for the Thompson brand came from the city. I love going to Claridge’s Bar [above] and ordering a Pimm’s Cup — like London itself, the hotel has never gone out of style. My other regular haunt is The Groucho, the original and much-imitated members’ club, where I like to have a regal scotch. In London, you’re not a bartender, you’re a barman; bartending is a trade, often passed down from father to son, and the level of attention you get is one of the reasons I really enjoy drinking there.”
“The hotels more or less own the social scene in Miami, and my favorites are LIV at the Fontainebleau, a megalithic neon playground hosting world-famous DJs nightly, and the W’s petite, recently renovated The Wall — I always have fun seeing my old industry friends there. When I’m not hotel-hopping, I sneak off to Yardbird [above], a bar-restaurant that has a bootlegger vibe — something of a departure from what’s happening on South Beach, even though it’s just eight blocks east of Collins. It has a southern, honky-tonk-style decor, and it feels local and authentic — the perfect place to kick back with a whiskey.”
“Sure, I’m biased, but I do think that the Thompson Toronto [above] is one of the nicest spots in the city — the rooftop bar has a view of the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, and Lake Ontario — that very few people had seen before we opened in 2010, and the swimming pool at the roof edge is a real luxury in chilly Toronto. When I’m not at the hotel, I hang out at The Drake Hotel, just down the road on Queen Street. I like the old-fashioned aesthetic — exposed brick, vintage wallpaper, woodsy rooftop — and I always have a good time there.”
“Los Angeles is my second home. For a throwback night out, I go to the pink-and-green institution that is The Polo Lounge [above] at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and I’m instantly transported to Old Hollywood. I’m also proud of my own addition to Hollywood, The Spare Room at the Roosevelt. I think it’s a real innovation in LA nightlife, a high quality cocktail-driven bar using gaming as its base—the leather and mahogany-laden lounge boasts two vintage bowling lanes, chess boards and in-table backgammon—and it feels established even though it’s only two years old. It’s cool without being overly trendy. Try their signature Moscow Mule; a mid-century classic made with vodka, lime, and fresh ginger.”
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