The People's Best New Bars: Midwest Contenders

By F&W Editors Posted September 17, 2014

The People’s Best New Bars award, presented by Roca Patrón, is Food & Wine’s first-ever poll to rank the most incredible drink destinations in the country. We want to know what you think are the most innovative new bars in the Midwest.

The People’s Best New Bars award, presented by Roca Patrón, is Food & Wine’s first-ever poll to rank the most incredible drink destinations in the country. We want to know what you think are the most innovative new bars in America.

Regions:
Northeast, Midwest, West/Southwest, Southeast, Northwest/Mountain

Analogue

Photo © You Me Us Now

Analogue

Chicago
At this Logan Square bar, Robby Haynes and Henry Prendergast serve a rotating list of cocktails like the Old Fashioned Shot (photo), a shot of bourbon laced with sugar and garnished with a bitters-soaked orange wedge. analoguechicago.com

The Berkshire Room

Photo © ThinkLeigh Photography

The Berkshire Room

Chicago
Benjamin Schiller crafts Dealer’s Choice cocktails, for which bar-goers choose a spirit, flavor profile and glassware, and are rewarded with a custom-made drink. The Weston (photo) is made with wheated bourbon, Dark Matter Coffee essence and pipe tobacco. theberkshireroom.com

Billy Sunday

Photo © Hedrich Blessing

Billy Sunday

Chicago
At this old-school tavern, chef Matthias Merges of Yusho serves original drinks like the Handle w/Care, made with tequila, falernum and tonka bean bitters. billy-sunday.com

Blue Jacket

Photo © Blue Jacket LLC

Blue Jacket

Milwaukee
This maritime-themed restaurant and bar specializes in rum-based highballs like Of the Older Bumbo (photo), made with El Dorado 12 Year Old rum, nutmeg-sorghum syrup and house-made bitters. bluejacketbar.com

Ça Va

Photo © Hilary Norcross

Ça Va

Kansas City, MO
Not surprisingly, this small and intimate Champagne bar specializes in sparkling drinks. Along with the wide selection of bottles, there are plenty of Champagne-based cocktails such as the Valencia—made with apricot brandy, orange juice and bitters—to choose from. cavakc.com

Celeste

Photo courtesy of Celeste

Celeste

Chicago
Celeste pays homage to the spirit of innovation of the World’s Fair that took place during the industrial revolution by serving cocktails rooted in science (such as The Prelude, a bottled cocktail made with orange oil) in a modern and refined barroom. celestechicago.com

Coup d'Etat

Photo © Coup d’État

Coup d’État

Minneapolis
This large restaurant and bar, consisting of several dining rooms and upper- and lower-level patios, serves reinvented classic drinks such as the Manhattan-martini hybrid A Lifetime of Todays (photo). coupdetatmpls.com

Forequarter

Photo © Emily Julka

Forequarter

Madison
Run by the Underground Food Collective restaurant group, Forequarter is a rustic restaurant that divides its drinks list into sections like Ginger (like a Rye Mule), Tart (the tequila-based La Taqueria, photo) and Light/Fizzy (Elderflower 75). There are bottled cocktails too, like Punch, a mix of rye, hibiscus, Earl Grey tea and citrus. forequartermadison.com

Goodkind

Photo © Michael Goelzer

Goodkind

Milwaukee
Headed by bartender Katherine Rose, Goodkind serves a selection of craft cocktails meant to pair perfectly with the food on the menu. The Mandrake (photo) is made with rum, house-made spiced orgeat, charred pineapple bitters and basil. goodkindbayview.com

Heritage Tavern

 

Heritage Tavern

Madison
Mixologist Grant Hurless works with local growers to create his seasonally changing cocktail menu, featuring drinks such as Fox Trot (with sage liquor, vodka, Pimm’s, lavender and lemon) and Newton’s Folly (apple cider, tequila, rum, lime and ginger beer). heritagetavern.com

The Kill Devil Club

Photo © Landon Vonderschmidt

The Kill Devil Club

Kansas City, MO
Bartender-restaurateur Ryan Maybee consulted on the opening of this “adult oasis” that specializes in live jazz and punches like the Kill Devil Rum Punch (photo), made with two types of rum, Batavia Arrack and cinnamon bark syrup. killdevilclub.com

The Last Word
People's Best New Bar Winner

Photo © Anjali Pinto

The Last Word

Ann Arbor, MI
In an elegant setting, The Last Word’s co-owner and mixologist Paul Drennan serves three different takes on the classic Manhattan as well as the Osborn (photo), a spicy gin-based drink with muddled pineapple and jalapeño. Menus are presented as small binders made from old hardcover books. thelastwordbar.com

Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room

Photo © Trevor Smith

Lucky Joe’s Tiki Room

Milwaukee
This tropical–themed bar and lounge specializes in wacky riffs on classic tiki cocktails, such as a peach pie–flavored mai tai. luckyjoestiki.com

Monarch

Photo © Gavin Peters Photography

Monarch

Wichita, KS
In the historic Delano District of Wichita, Monarch features an extensive bourbon collection with cocktails like the Perfect Manhattan and the Apple Bourbon Sour. The tequila-based Charbandos (photo) is made with hibiscus syrup and pineapple juice. monarchwichita.com

Parlour

Photo © Parlour

Parlour

Minneapolis
Barman Jesse Held creates craft cocktails based on traditional favorites, like the Parlour Manhattan (with strawberry essence) or Spicy n’ Stormy (with house–spiced black rum), by incorporating fresh juices, house-made syrups, elixirs, and rare, artisanal spirits. boroughmpls.com/parlour

Planter’s House

Photo © Greg Rannells

Planter’s House

St. Louis
Named after a hotel that was a St. Louis landmark for more than 100 years, Planter’s House serves an extensive list of classic cocktails including a vast selection of margaritas, a choice of sours, collinses, fizzes and slings, and large-format bottled Negronis and Sazeracs. The Manhattanite (photo) is made with rye, sweet vermouth, Suze and chocolate bitters. plantershousestl.com

Sportsman’s Club

Photo © Nathan Michael

Sportsman’s Club

Chicago
In a softly lit space decorated with taxidermied animal heads, Wade McElroy and Jeff Donahue use a minimum amount of simple ingredients to make stellar drinks, which change daily. The one constant is the Sportsman’s Club Cocktail (photo), made with bourbon, Zucca and Luxardo bitters. drinkingandgathering.com

Three Dots and a Dash

Photo © Mark Gjukich

Three Dots and a Dash

Chicago
Named after a 1940s rum drink made with two types of rum, falernum and honey (photo), and also Morse code for V, as in victory, this tiki-style bar from the Melman brothers is right below its sister establishment, Bub City. threedotschicago.com

Thunderbird

 

Thunderbird

Indianapolis
Located in the up-and-coming Fountain Square neighborhood, Thunderbird serves a range of quirkily named cocktails divided into three categories: Old Standards, like the Sazerac and the Negroni; Over-Hyped, like the Blanche Devereaux, made with rye, apricot liqueur, grapefruit and honey; and For the Tiki Gods, such as the rum and coconut cream-based Gorilla Grog. thunderbirdindy.com

Voltaire

Photo © Todd Zimmer

Voltaire

Kansas City, MO
In Kansas City’s old Stockyards district, Voltaire boasts an impressive list of whiskeys and both bottled and draft beers. The bar also serves a varied selection of house-made cocktails including the KC Sour (photo), made with bourbon, smoked lemon juice, demerara syrup and red wine. voltairekc.com

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