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 West/Southwest.

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
West/Southwest Area Bars

Photo © Melissa Chow


San Francisco
Opened by a trio of San Francisco cocktail veterans (Ryan Fitzgerald, Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud and Todd Smith), this modern, industrial bar has a well–curated cocktail list with drinks such as Lefty’s Fizz (photo), made with mezcal, grapefruit shrub, dry Curaçao and lime.

Photo © Phil Harvey

Bar5 at Coqueta

San Francisco
At this waterside restaurant, barman Joe Cleveland specializes in making eye-catching, Spanish-style cocktails, including a variety of gin and tonics (like the Conquistador, with apple-celery juice), sherry-based concoctions (like the Andalucía, with walnut liqueur, vinegar, Manchego and golden raisins), and drinks for sharing, served in traditional Spanish porróns.

Photo © David Rangel


San Antonio
Owner Jeret Pena mans the bar of this sophisticated cocktail parlor, making drinks using premium spirits, house-made liqueurs, bitters and juices, such as Brewers Truce, Pinche Fresa or Girl with Green Eyes.

Photo © Chuck Cook Photography

Captain Foxheart’s Bad News Bar & Spirit Lodge

Justin Burrow serves classic cocktails as well as a few original creations such as the Intro to Aromatics (photo, left) and Pile of Pink (photo, right) in this second-floor, downtown spot, located in what used to be a shotgun bar.

Photo © Steve Livigni

The Chestnut Club

Santa Monica, CA
Steve Livigni and Pablo Moix create elaborate drinks supplemented by a rotating list of gin and tonic specials in this chic cocktail bar. The specialty of the house: the Chestnut Cup (photo), made with gin, Campari, lemon, orgeat and bitters.

Photo © Erik Kabik

Culinary Dropout

Las Vegas
Located in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, this bar has a relaxed vibe, live music, a fun beer selection and cocktails like the signature After School Special, a shandy made with raspberry-infused tequila.

Photo © Eric Wolfinger

Dirty Habit

San Francisco
Dirty Habit’s mixologist Brian Means serves original cocktails made with brown spirits and old whiskeys in gorgeous antique glassware.

Photo © Amanda Demme

Grandpa Johnson’s

Grandpa Johnson’s glitzy decor gives cocktail lovers a taste of glamorous Hollywood life in the ’20s, plus unique and atypical drinks like the Lorraine, made with aloe liqueur, pisco, ruby port and rose water.

Photo © Claire McCormack

Half Step

Founder Chris Bostick worked for nearly three years to create his Austin cocktail haven with the idea that drinks should be above all, accessible. An example: the Kentucky Colonel (photo), made with bourbon, Benedictine and Angostura bitters. The large, cozy space has two bars: one outdoors with two cocktails on tap as well as wine and beer, and an indoor bar with a menu of five rotating cocktails, each with a different spirit.

Photo © William Bradford


West Hollywood
The vintage portraits lining the walls and mixologist Dushan Zaric’s classic and original drinks, like the Yellow Jacket (a mix of reposado tequila, yellow Chartreuse, elderflower, and grilled and candied lemon peel) transport bar-goers back in time to Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Photo © Joey Maloney


Los Angeles
This basement establishment with a nightclub vibe features Alex Day’s upscale cocktails, like Dumb Luck (photo), made with bourbon, bitter orange liqueur, sherry and celery and coconut bitters.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy's Bodega

Jimmy's Bodega

Aspen, CO
Specializing in mezcal, this offshoot of the beloved Aspen restaurant and tequila mecca Jimmy’s offers cocktails by the bottle, including the Vida Buena (mezcal, Aperol and Antica Carpano) and the Puerto de Aspen (blanco tequila, watermelon and lime).

Photo © Julie Soefer Photography


Celebrating the cocktail culture of the South, mixologist Alba Huerta specializes in a range of juleps, from the classic mint version to the Sparkling Julep (photo, right), as well as twists on classics, like the Armagnac Sazerac (photo, left).

Photo © Cory Ryan

Midnight Cowboy

Located in a former brothel behind an unmarked door, this reservations-only lounge from Alamo Drafthouse beverage director Bill Norris focuses on tableside cocktail presentations to encourage customer interaction. The black pepper-laced Pisco Sourgrass (photo) is made with sorrel-honey syrup.

Photo © Luke Gibson

No Vacancy

Los Angeles
Craft cocktails, burlesque shows and live music create the Old Hollywood vibe of this classy bar. A dozen mixologists curate the cocktail list, creating drinks like the Fernie’s Gin and Jameson or The Professor, made with gin, blood orange liqueur, Aperol and fig bitters.

Photo © Lyudmila Zotova

Polite Provisions

San Diego
Mixologist Erick Castro is behind the bar program at this reinvention of a 1950s American drugstore hangout. Beer, craft soda and house-made cocktails like the Casual Encounter (photo), made with gin, organic strawberries and house-made rose petal soda, flow from more than 40 taps.

Photo © Adrienne Breaux


The bartenders prepare flavorful, sometimes savory predinner drinks for every diner before they are seated, such as Music from Big Pink (añejo tequila, Cocchi Americano, Aperol and white pepper), using vacuum-sealed and sous vide ingredients that carry more intense flavor as a result.

Photo © Allison Webber Photography

Trick Dog

San Francisco
This hip Mission District bar is known for it's innovative menu designs, with the most recent following a Chinese takeout menu theme. Cocktails (spelled out in Chinese characters) include zang mading nei si, or simply put "no. 6," made with Tanqueray's new Old Tom gin, Alessio vermouth de Torrino, Mandarine Napoleon, almond, jasmine, olive, and chocolate. Also new are the Chinese takeout-style "Combo deals," including one with four tecates, four shots of Tequila Ocho Plata and Manimal style french fries.

Photo © The Light House

Trou Normand

San Francisco
A spinoff of the outstanding Bar Agricole, Thad Vogler’s new venture is open all day and has a serious food menu from chef Salvatore Cracco. The name comes from the French tradition of a palate cleanser, and the bar and restaurant focus on those digestive spirits, like Calvados, Cognac and brandy, many bought directly from small producers.

Photo ©

Virtù Honest Craft

Scottsdale, AZ
At this restaurant in the Bespoke Inn, mixologist Kailee Gielgens is constantly creating new and seasonal cocktails, like the Starter Kit (photo, left: Cocchi vermouth, Plymouth gin, grapefruit bitters and bitter lemon soda), the bourbon-based Johnny Ringo (photo, center) and the Ice Queen (photo, right: rhubarb liqueur, strawberry-balsamic shrub, Champagne foam and black pepper).