Many mixologists believe the Bloody Mary made its first U.S. appearance in the King Cole Bar. The drink was then called "The Red Snapper," after originally being invented by Fernand Petiot at Harry's New York Bar in Paris, France. Others contend that the iconic drink, now one of the Official Cocktails of the International Bartenders Association, was indeed invented in the King Cole Bar. Originally, the King Cole Bar was about fifty feet east of the small but ornate lobby of The St. Regis. It was a large room with many circular tables and a long north-south bar above which was the famous Parrish painting. In more recent years, the bar was moved to a far smaller room east of that spot. The wonderful mural, or perhaps a slightly smaller version of the painting, is still in the bar. It features "Old King Cole" who was a "merry old soul" calling for his 'fiddlers three' and some other musicians.
The lounge has a large mural by artist Maxfield Parrish hanging behind the bar, from which the venue derives its name.
The bar has been the setting for scenes in The Devil Wears Prada, Hannah and her Sisters, and The First Wives' Club.