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 Southeast.

By F&W Editors
Updated May 23, 2017

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.

Northeast, Midwest, West/Southwest, Southeast, Northwest/Mountain
Southeast Area Bars

Photo © Caroline Dryden

The 404

Part of the boutique Hotel 404, this new Southern restaurant is located in a repurposed shipping container. The drinks are likewise unconventional: the Nearest Green (photo), is made with Tennessee whiskey, apple brandy, Benton’s bacon and citrus-infused honey.

Photo © Adrian Gaut

The Broken Shaker

Miami Beach
Featuring handcrafted cocktails made with elixirs, syrups and infusions made from garden herbs, spices and exotic ingredients, the Broken Shaker offers bar-goers a concise list of innovative drinks, such as Trinidad and Ta-Boo-Ya, made with a spiced Trinidad sorrel reduction.

Photo © Kevin O'Mara

Cane & Table

New Orleans
Located in New Orleans’s French Quarter in a building that is more than 200 years old, Cane & Table is known for Nick Detrich’s rum-based (“proto-tiki”) cocktails that pay homage to the way people used to drink (and eat) in the Caribbean.

Photo courtesy of Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant

Down One Bourbon Bar

Louisville, KY
Located on what locals call “Whiskey Row,” this spot boasts a collection of 120 bourbons, including rare bottles. Customers can indulge in a bourbon flight or order a specialty cocktail, like the 7 Across the Board (photo), made with Angel’s Envy bourbon, blackberries and raspberry-sage syrup.

Photo © Kendal Dennis

Dutch & Company

Richmond, VA
A wide range of spirits and innovative cocktails, like the Basil Smash (photo)—a combination of Tito’s vodka, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit cordial, lemon and basil—highlight Michelle Peake-Shriver’s drinks list at this charming restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Edmund's Oast

Edmund's Oast

Charleston, SC
Among the notable cocktails at this bar named for Charleston beer brewing pioneer Edmund Egan: the Desert Bloom, made with tequila, amaro, bitters, honey and sage, and The Brown Derby, made with rye whiskey, Scotch and grapefruit. Owners Scott Shor and Rich Carley focus on craft beers, too, like the Breakfast at the Still, brewed with Bittermilk Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Fashioned mix, oak staves and muscovado sugar.

Photo © Chris Winzke

El Camino

Louisville, KY
This eclectic, surf-punk-meets-Mexican-street-food-cart-and-tiki-bar melting pot offers a variety of tropical drinks, such as daiquiris and mai tais, and—for more ambitious groups of drinkers—a handful of four- to six-person punch bowls, like the Luau Scorpion (photo), a throwback to a classic 1950s recipe made with rum, gin, Cognac and orgeat.

Photo courtesy of Husk Nashville


Husk has a rotating menu of bourbon-heavy classic cocktails, mirroring the city’s historic roots and the restaurant’s commitment to serving seasonal ingredients. The signature cocktail Garden of the Gods (photo), made with pisco and rhum agricole, features lavender cordial and chamomile tincture.

Photo © Anthony Abraira

The Imperial Life

Asheville, NC
Boasting an extensive spirit selection, esoteric wine varietals, local beers and craft cocktails, the Imperial Life offers drinks such as Between the Sheets, made with rum, Cognac, Cointreau Noir and lemon. Indecisive drinkers can opt for a Bartender’s Choice.

Photo © Andrew Thomas Lee

Kimball House

Located in the former Decatur railway depot, Kimball House features an extensive absinthe selection as well as Miles Macquarrie’s signature cocktails, such as the Parisian Zombie (photo), made with two types of rum, Cognac and falernum.

Photo courtesy of Mateo Bar de Tapas

Mateo Bar de Tapas

Durham, NC
Bar-goers can take advantage of Mateo Tapas’s impressive sherry collection—one of the largest in the country—by ordering a glass, a bottle or one of the tasting flights, or by sampling a house cocktail, such as the Rye Malvado, made with amontillado, vermouth and saffron.

Photo © Andrew Cebulka

The Ordinary

Charleston, SC
The drinks menu at chef Mike Lata’s oyster bar is tightly focused, offering just a handful of carefully crafted cocktails at a time, like the Echo, Echo, made with gin, grapefruit, green Chartreuse and falernum.


New Orleans
The whiskey-focused menu of this Bywater establishment includes the Nostalgic Old-Fashioned (patron’s choice of any plastic-cap whiskey) and a selection of boilermakers.

Photo © Andrew Thomas Lee

Paper Plane

Decatur, GA
Mixologist Paul Calvert (formerly of Pura Vida and the Sound Table) is behind this smart, sexy restaurant-bar on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Photo © Andrea Behrends

Pinewood Social

Bar manager Matt Tocco serves everything from original cocktails, like the District 9 (photo), made with rye, absinthe and French aperitif liqueur Maurin Quina, to pitchers of the house-made shandy (Miller High Life and grapefruit) to those taking advantage of the bowling alley or bocce ball court or just hanging out.

Photo © Andrew Cebulkas


Charleston, SC
This bar features a rotating menu of chalkboard specials (duck rillettes, sloppy joes) and sophisticated cocktails like a Dark and Stormy made with house ginger beer.

Photo © LDV Hospitality

The Regent Cocktail Club

Miami Beach
At what must be the only bar in raucous South Beach with a 1920s vibe, Julio Cabrera, Angelo Viera and Danny Valdez specialize in classic drinks, such as daiquiris, Old Fashioneds and Sidecars.

Photo © SoBou


New Orleans
Creole street food is king at this restaurant south of Bourbon Street, where they serve Two Bit (25-cent) martinis during lunch. Head bar chef Abigail Gullo (formerly of NYC’s Fort Defiance and The Beagle) creates cocktails like the Charbonneau Way (photo), made with rye whiskey, Suze, maple syrup and fresh thyme.

Photo courtesy of Tiki Tolteca

Tiki Tolteca

New Orleans
On the second floor of a taqueria, Tiki Tolteca uses spirits that are made in-house each week to create traditional tiki favorites as well as fun creations such as the Original Zombie Punch. The menu warns that anyone who drinks it will turn undead.

Photo © Vina Sananikone, Eat Good Food Group


Arlington, VA
TNT features graffiti on the walls, hard rock on the sound system and creative drinks, all inspired by music. The Harry Nilsson V:2014 (photo) is made with gin, coconut water, house-made lemon bitters and lemongrass-ginger syrup.