I think twice before considering a New York hotel a decent choice for a drink or a coffee. In the past, lobby bars of the bigger chain hotels were pretty ubiquitous and bland. Because the newer boutiques have been giving the establishment brands a run for their happy-hour money, I can see that a few of the big boys are upping their game.
Knave at Le Parker Meridien is one of the more established Midtown hotels that is doing it right. It's all brown and maroon and lavish Moroccan/Turkish decor, great lights, heavy velvet drapes and music piped in at the right decibel level consisting of jazz and standards (it won me over with "Baby I'm a Fool" by Melody Gardot).
This is a good place for either coffee/tea or stronger drinks, though the prices are very definitely Manhattan hotel-expensive for the alcoholic stuff. However, there were some decent-looking munchies that arrive gratis with the grown-up beverages, including fried olives (so that's what those jawbreaker-sized things were) and nuts. With coffee drinks, I was sadly told by my server, no olives; rather I got a cookie. In the cookie's defense, it was very tasty and much more dunkable into my Counter Culture cappuccino than a fried olive. Guess they know what they're doing.
What is special here is the seating - couches and chairs in clusters made for groups of 4 or 5 to be able to spread out, providing enough room for you and the people you came with to comfortably converse, hear yourself speak and not necessarily have everyone else in the room hear you speak. Those places are next to impossible to find in Manhattan. And the location, near Carnegie Hall and City Center, makes it a find for pre- and post-theater or concert.
I guess I have to go back - in the evening for a cocktail - so they'll let me try some of those fried olives. Of course I will. On the way out, I saw this sign. How can I not?