"One of the most talked-about spots in the hotel is Le Bain, a two-floor penthouse discothèque and rooftop bar"
When The Standard Hotel opened in 2009, atop the elevated High Line park, it made a splash – figuratively and literally. The glass and concrete architecture of the building, designed by Ennead Architects, was intended as a “unique embrace with [New York] City,” says Todd Schliemann, Design Partner at Ennead, where “private means public, individual means collective.” The hotel sits on concrete piers elevating the structure over fifty feet off the street, from where you can see the gold columns inside the Boom Boom Room, a cocktail bar and club atop the hotel straight out of a James Bond caper.
Each space of the The Standard Hotel is exceptionally designed, offering a world unto its own. One of the most talked-about spot in the hotel is Le Bain, a two-floor penthouse discothèque and rooftop bar, which welcomes some of the world’s most famous DJs. It gets its name, which means, “the bath” in French, from the four-foot deep diamond-shaped plunge pool on the dance floor. A vending machine sells bikinis and swim trunks should you have missed the memo about the pool! Rolled up white towels sit conveniently stacked on wheeled carts just next to the pool steps.
"Le Bain is definitely a place to see and be seen, and conveniently there are also stationary binoculars to take in the views"
There’s an old-school vibe here, amidst the modernity of the hotel, harkening back to the disco clubs of the Studio 54 era. Black tiles line the floor, wall and columns, contrasted by the wrap around floor to ceiling windows. Silver disco balls shine colourful glitters of light onto the water in the evening. There’s a full drink selection at Le Bain, a dozen champagne options, wine and spirits. The cocktail menu has clever drink names like The Bitter Truth, which is made of tequila, Campari, blood orange juice and lemon cordial or French-inspired ones, like La Bicyclette with St. Germain and Prosecco.
If you can wrest yourself away from the dance floor, make your way up the graffiti lined staircase to the rooftop, which offers 360-degree views looking out onto Manhattan, the Hudson River, and New Jersey. The space is decked out with turf grass and colourful furniture including inviting poufs for group hangouts, grassy benches, chaise lounges, waterbeds, and tons of Acapulco Chairs, made using ancient Mayan weaving techniques. A trendy hotspot like Le Bain is definitely a place to see and be seen, and conveniently there are also stationary binoculars to take in the views.
A highlight of the rooftop level is a wooden creperie stand with a yellow and white awning, offering savoury and sweet options of the French delicacy. A sign says in French “Les Crêpes il n’y a rien de meillieur” (meaning there’s nothing better than crepes). Photographs of vintage style icons line the ceiling and window shutters of the creperie shack and large jars of Nutella beckon invitingly.
"Make your way up the graffiti lined staircase to the rooftop, which offers 360-degree views looking onto Manhattan, the Hudson River, and New Jersey."
On a visit, don’t miss the unisex bathrooms, which provide perhaps the best bathroom views in the city. Wash your hands in stylish basins in front of expansive windows – you’ll feel like you’re floating above New York City. Like many trendy spots downtown, come dressed to impress. The door policy is selective and the hotel notes on their website that not even hotel guests are guaranteed entry. There’s a mandatory coat check and bag check, and expect long lines. The best way is to come early, as Le Bain opens at 4pm on Fridays, and 2pm and Saturday and Sunday.
About The Author
Michelle Young is the founder of Untapped Cities, a web magazine and tour company about urban discovery that offers insider experiences to New York City’s most off-limits places. Author of 'Secret Brooklyn: An Unusual Guide', 'New York: Hidden Bars & Restaurants', and 'Broadway', Michelle appears regularly as a guest speaker in documentaries, on television, and at conferences on urban issues. Originally from New York, she has travelled to over forty countries and is always looking for the next adventure.