Get a Room!

Hotel Monaco's Grand Cafe

Hotel Lounges Serve Class
by Jim Provenzano

Want to spend a daycation in the city over the holidays? Don’t want to risk driving or hailing a cab after a night of New Year’s Eve carousing? Expecting guests? Are you a visiting tourist hoping for a holiday hook-up?

Get a room.

Hotel lounges in Union Square and around San Francisco offer stylish décor, handy access to room reservations, and a bevy of classy venues for an intriguing rendezvous. Whether it’s a date with an old pal or a Grindr homme du jour, hotel bars are a special treat we locals tend to overlook.

the Sir Francis Drake Hotel lobby bar

Old-style elegant drips from the ornate walls of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel lobby bar. One might almost expect some Louis XIV extras to descend the impressive staircase. Drinks are a few bucks more (our martini was $12), but the tourist-watching was priceless, and the staff didn’t bug us after we ordered just one drink. 450 Powell St. 392-7755.

Of course, for spectacular views, take the elevator to the top floor of any hotel. With the Drake, its top floor is top notch. Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, however, is as stellar inside as out. A classy blend of scenery, dancing, dining and even drag (on Sunday brunch events), The Starlight Room is almost a holiday in itself.

For another view that offers a Western sunset while dining, the Westin St. Francis’s top floor bar and restaurant gives good view. The hotel’s “newer” section itself is a bit 70s future-retro (think Logan’s Run), but the view up top is mighty fine, and they offer New Year’s Eve packages. 335 Powell st. 397-7000.

For first-floor style on a grand scale, Hotel Monaco’s Grand Café is a great spot for a per- or post-theatre drink, and a few nibbly things or a full-course French cuisine dinner. 501 Geary St. 292-0101.

Also in Union Square, Hotel Abri is not only obviously gay-friendly, with its rainbow flag hoisted below its marquee. It’s also ultra modern and affordable for the center of the shopping and theatre district. Their Puccini and Pinetti Italian Bar and Grill includes a lively bar and colorful Italian cuisine. But if you’re booking a room, unless you plan to stay up late, ask for one that doesn’t overlook the nearby nightclubs. 127 Ellis St. (866) 823-4669.

W Hotel's renovated bar

Set in the middle of the museum district, W Hotel’s bar and lounge recently enjoyed a top to bottom renovation just a few months ago. The new décor bring high-tech lighting and a space-age ambiance that doesn’t veer toward campy scifi. The menu at Trace restaurant incorporates local growers and a sumptuous style. Environmentally conscious? Relax. The W is one of the newest hotels to be certified with a Silver LEED-ED, which basically means they’re cool, er green. 181 Third St  777-5300.

Hotel Whitcomb’s lobby

The traditionally-designed Hotel Whitcomb has a long history of hosting LGBT events, from leather to country-western nights and ballroom competitions. With chandeliers, elegant glasswork, and intricately designed carpets, the lobby alone dazzles, and the lounge is roomy. On New Year’s Eve, the Sundance Saloon folks bring same-sex two-stepping and line dancing to a year-end crescendo. Sounds like a perfect way to lasso up some year-end fun. 1231 Market St. at 8th. 626-8000.

Several of these venues are part of the Kimpton chain of hotels. Book a room or a private event at (800) KIMPTON or

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