There is something about a good hotel bar.

A place where you don't even have to leave the premises, so you don't have to drive and still have plenty of fun with friends and family.

Its a place to make vacation friends and share stories and here are some of the very best hotel bars from our area in the entire state of New Jersey.

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According to writer Karim Shamsi-Basha, there are four hotel bars from the our listening area (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland county) that are among the best 14 in the state, including three of the Top 4.

First off lets head out to Egg Harbor City to the beautiful Renault Winery, which came in at No. 12 on the list.

This winery boasts the 55-room Chateau Renault hotel along with a grand tasting room and bar. Intriguing chandeliers hang over the bar, and old pieces of wine-making machinery add an industrial feel. I tried the tomato bisque with toasted baguette ($12) and the pear and walnut salad with goat cheese ($14). Both were delectable. Then I had the Loui special wine flight ($26) with a rose, a rouge and a white — each contributing a distinct flavor.

Its a winery, restaurant, hotel, wedding venue, and golf course all in one, located at 72 Bremen Ave. in Egg Harbor City, its definitely a place worth checking out.

Next up, coming in at No. 4 on the list, is The Brown Room at Congress Hall in Cape May.

Established in 1826, Congress Hall is known as America’s first beachside resort, offering numerous amenities with two bars and restaurants. My visit took place during the holidays, and the Brown Room was jam packed with inviting atmosphere and live music. I started with the complex pear martini ($16), Absolut pear, Combier orange, lime juice and white cranberry juice. Then since I was at the beach, I had the delectable shucked oysters ($21), Cape May oysters with lemon, mignonette and horseradish. I don’t eat much raw seafood, but these fresh oysters melted in my mouth.

This is a very cool spot, located at 200 Congress Place in Cape May, which is currently closed for its annual winter refresh and will reopen on Friday, February 9, 2024.

At No. 2 on the list, we stay in Cape May and head over The Brown Room's sister restaurant, The Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel.

Dazzling with flair is the Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel. I started with the winter twenty-five Jackson cocktail ($18), with Patron tequila, cinnamon and orange bitters — herbaceous with aromatic nuances. And since it offers vegan nights in January, I tried the crispy winter squash ($20) with pastis-saffron tomato ragu and arugula salad. The dish elevated “vegan” to mingle with the filet mignon.

The Ebbitt Room offers farm-to-table New American cuisine & drinks, including specialty cocktails and their Virginia classics.

So who is No. 1 in the state of New Jersey?  Its Elaine’s Cape May in Cape May.

With two outdoor bars, a huge tavern inside offering delectable cocktails and appetizing bites as well as live music every night, Elaine’s Cape May takes the top spot on our list. The historic boutique hotel is filled with character and ambiance, and it’s close to the walkable Washington Street Mall. Its mojitos and margaritas ($16) are spectacular, but what shines is the vodka crush ($16) with Skyy blood orange, Skyy citrus, grapefruit vodka, triple sec, fresh juice and club soda. If you’re hungry, the coconut shrimp with mango salsa ($19) is so good, I had it twice! The mussels with coconut curry cream sauce ($23) is also heaven on a plate. Warning: You may encounter a friendly ghost on your visit. I did!

Elaine’s Cape May at 513 Lafayette Street always seems to have a crowd both inside and outside (in the summer), and have a ton of summer cocktail options.

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