Best Bars in America
Dram & Grain, Washington, DC
This speakeasy-style bar has three seatings a night. The cocktail menu rotates quarterly; past offerings have included the Jalisco Manzana, with Don Julio añejo tequila and house-made Braeburn apple soda.
The Wayland, New York City
This popular neighborhood bar in Manhattan's Alphabet City offers a creative list of seasonal cocktails, live music and rustic bar food served until 4 am. Classic drinks include the popular Garden Variety Margarita with blanco tequila, fresh kale juice, ginger and lime, and the impressive I Hear Banjos–encore!—an apple pie moonshine and rye cocktail with apple-spice bitters, topped with a smoke filled glass globe.
700 E 9th Street
New York, NY, 10009
Milk Room, Chicago
This reservations-only “micro bar” seats eight people at a time, ensuring that each guest’s experience is highly personalized. Its focus on rare liquors (past bottles have included a 1958 Campari) means that the menu constantly rotates as bottles run out.
Lolinda, San Francisco
From the team behind Delarosa and Beretta, this Argentinean-style steak house serves refreshing cocktails like the Liza (blanco tequila, cardamom and dry vermouth) alongside empanadas, ceviches and blood sausage.
Seamstress, New York City
Pamela Wiznitzer showcases her knowledge of classic drinks at this cocktail bar that feels like an elegant (yet unstuffy) hunting lodge. The menu lists 50 classics in addition to house drinks like Mortimer & Mauve (rye and chai vermouth).
The Partisan, Washington, DC
The bar at this meat-centric restaurant features novel cocktails by Jeff Faile. The Fernet Ice Cream Float, a favorite, is made with ginger beer, lime zest, Fernet-Branca ice cream and ginger molasses cookies. There are also 25 wines and four spirits on tap plus funky sour beers to drink with one of the impressive charcuterie plates.
With an entire wall made from reclaimed bowling lanes, the cozy interior of Braise echoes the restaurant's farm-to-table philosophy. The cocktail list is based on seasonal infusions, including a cocoa nib–enhanced vodka.
Raven & Rose, Portland
Inspired by the 1883 building that houses Raven & Rose, bar director Dave Shenaut's concoctions are complex and Victorian-themed. Rotating $4 to $6 small plates like corned-beef-stuffed Yorkshire puddings are served during their daily happy hour.
Named after the classic bourbon-based cocktail, this French bistro is located in the Bishop Arts District. In addition to classic cocktails, the drinks list includes specialty creations like Smash de la Saison: rye whiskey poured over shaved ice and garnished with fruit and mint.
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.
Rolf & Daughters, Nashville
This restaurant offers a Southern ingredient–driven take on Italian peasant food and drinks.
Clyde Common, Portland
Jeffrey Morgenthaler oversees the rotating cocktail list at this airy "tavern" adjacent to the Ace Hotel. One to try: the Cranky Lass with Scotch, amaro, apple cider, lemon, allspice liqueur.
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, this Aspen institution has more than 120 tequilas and mezcals, makes terrific margaritas and hosts legendary Saturday night Latin-dance parties.
Mayahuel, New York City
Death & Co. alum Philip Ward opened this East Village Mexican spot in 2009 with food by Luis and Vincent Gonzales, and a cocktail menu dedicated to tequila and mezcal.
More than 120 bourbons and ryes, along with local cheeses and charcuterie, are the draw at Distil.
Formerly a mortuary, this slightly macabre bar and restaurant features small plates and cocktails like the Devil Inside, made with rye whiskey, Ramazotti Amaro, The Velvet Devil Merlot and lemon.
Oak at Fourteenth, Boulder
Frasca Food & Wine alums Bryan Dayton and Steven Redzikowski co-own this upscale neighborhood spot, where Dayton offers NA (nonalcoholic), LA (low-alcohol) and HA (high-alcohol) drinks.
Eleven Madison Park, New York City
Top-notch service is the hallmark of this elegant restaurant and bar. Head bartender Leo Robitschek serves up inventive drinks like the Old Ranhofer (raisin-infused rum, vanilla, cold-brewed coffee and Jamaican jerk bitters) to pair with chef Daniel Humm’s divine cooking.
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Rhum agricole-lover Thad Vogler, who designed the menus for Beretta and the Slanted Door co-owns this airy, rustic-industrial tavern.
Rich Table, San Francisco
Cocktails like the Tiger Lily—blanco tequila, Aperol, Mexican liqueur and blood orange—exemplify the local, market-fresh philosophy at Evan and Sarah Rich's restaurant.
Beretta, San Francisco
At this upscale pizzeria with a late-night cocktail lounge, Ryan Fitzgerald serves fantastic drinks like the Dolores Park Swizzle (rum, lime, maraschino, absinthe, bitters).
The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Many of the Slanted Door’s drinks—such as Erik Adkins’s Pisco Apricot Tropical—are designed to complement chef Charles Phan’s modern Vietnamese food.
Bar Crudo, Phoenix
To pair with the Italian-style raw dishes served at Bar Crudo's daily happy hour, mixologist-sommelier Micah Olson mixes drinks like the Dazed and Infused: strawberry-spiked Aperol, passion fruit syrup, lime and sparkling wine.
This neighborhood restaurant features an elaborate DIY Bloody Mary bar during weekend brunch along with house cocktails. The No. 06, for instance, includes gin, strawberry syrup and apple cider vinegar.
Inspired by owner Patricia Schwabe's Mexico City roots, Penca offers authentic dishes like poblano chile rellenos and agave-based cocktails.
The Sound Table, Atlanta
This restaurant organizes its drink list into categories like "Bright & Dry" (a grapefruity Paloma) and "Strong, Rich & Strange" (the Matterhorn: Old Tom gin, bianco vermouth, Chartreuse and pine liqueur in an absinthe-rinsed glass). It transforms into a dance club most nights around 11 p.m.
Seven Lamps, Atlanta
With the Crunch Punch, featuring Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch–infused rye whiskey, you can drink your dessert at this sleek, open kitchen and bar.
With kitschy neon signs and hipster decor, Galaxie is a relaxed space in which to embrace your inner Star Wars nerd. Its street food–inspired menu offers fries “Vader-style” (curry cheese sauce and pickled carrot) and flatbread tacos called “wakatakas.” Cocktails include the Storm Trooper (rum, allspice and ginger beer) and margaritas by the pitcher.
Bub City, Chicago
Part barbecue restaurant and part Americana-themed bar, Bub City features live country music and whiskey-focused cocktails.
The bar menu at this yakitori-inspired restaurant has a wide selection of sake and cocktails like the Mother's Food (rum, batavia-arrack, lemon, pineapple-shiso gomme).
Bestia, Los Angeles
This bar and restaurant in downtown L.A.'s Arts District serves modern Italian takes on classic cocktails from mixologist Julian Cox, like a Brandy Crusta with Amaro Nonino.
The Tasting Kitchen, Venice
At this terrific restaurant, where nearly everything (butchering, pickling, curing) is done in-house, John Coltharp and Justin Pike give the same careful attention to the drinks.
Hendricks BBQ, St. Charles, MO
This barbecue joint has a bar in the basement that features whiskey and house-distilled moonshine cocktails along with live blues music.
Port Fonda, Kansas City, MO
What started as a Mexican food truck is now a restaurant and bar with an extensive list of tequilas and mezcals.
Luc Lac, Portland
Named for the Vietnamese phrase meaning "shaking" or "in movement," Luc Lac boasts an impressive list of both boozy and nonalcoholic options. The Ca Phe Cola includes house-carbonated Vietnamese coffee, smoked salt and orange zest.
The bar program here highlights small, regional and domestic spirits and focuses on aperitifs and digestifs.
At this Bay View restaurant, bartender Katherine Rose collaborates with the chefs to design perfect food-and-cocktail pairings. One to try: smoked whitefish pâté with the Light as a Feather (two kinds of gin, Lillet, spruce and mint syrup and lime Pernod).
Jimmy’s Bodega, Aspen
This mezcaleria and seafood restaurant is an offshoot of Jimmy's, Aspen's beloved restaurant and tequila mecca. Cocktails sold by the bottle include the Harvest Manhattan (rye, amaro, maple syrup, pimento bitters) and Goldenrye (rye, sherry, ginger liqueur, lemon).
The Perennial, San Francisco
Being sustainable in creative ways is a goal at this bar and restaurant. Many ingredients are grown in the restaurant’s garden and on its aquaponic farm. Behind the bar, oft-discarded ingredients find new life: Lemons used to clarify milk cordial get candied with bitters; leftover juice becomes a sherbet for a pisco punch.
The younger sibline of the Williams & Graham speakeasy has a laid-back, rock 'n' roll vibe, with mix tapes lining the wall and drinks like the Sonic Reducer (bourbon, cranberry liqueur, lemon, honey) from co-owner Sean Kenyon.
Ticonderoga Club, Atlanta
This quirky tavern inside the buzzy Krog Street Market is the brainchild of bar impresarios Greg Best and Paul Calvert. Here they serve intricate Southern-inflected drinks like a sorghum-sweetened Cognac sour alongside cans of Schlitz beer. The stellar food menu is simarly high- and low-brow, offering both foie gras and fish sticks.
Damn the Weather, Seattle
This Pioneer Square barand restaurant is housed in a century-old building with exposed brick and a shimmering 25-foot white oak bar. The Black Cherry Smash, with rye, lemon and shiso, is one example of the bar’s bright, complex cocktails.
Libertine Liquor Bar, Indianapolis
The drinks at this downstairs space are divided into two categories: Light and Refreshing, and Boozy and Stirred. In the first category is Cinnamon Toast Punch, a playful spiced-rum punch by bartender Ryan Puckett sweetened with cereal-infused buttermilk and pineapple.
Trou Normand, San Francisco
A spin-off of the stellarBar Agricole, Thad Vogler’s latest venture is open all day, with a serious food menu. The name refers to the French tradition of cleansing the palate between courses with brandy, hence the focus on digestive spirits like Cognac.
Bit House Saloon, Portland
With a focus on single-barrel spirits, this old-timey bar offers house versions of classics, plus unique drinks, boilermakers and cocktails on tap.
Brimmer & Heeltap, Seattle
This bistro and bar offers unfussy, elegant cocktails like the B&H Mule: shochu, ginger, lemongrass and Sichuan pepper. They all go wonderfully with the restaurant’s creative snacks (tapioca puff chips) and family-style dishes (squid fried rice).
This modern supper club combines grandeur with quirkiness, and the cocktails follow suit. Guests can sip drinks like Bairdley Legal (mezcal, Cynar, passion fruit and grapefruit soda) at a beautiful mahogany bar that was carved in 1886.
Leyenda, New York City
Ivy Mix gives her cocktails unexpected Latin flair: Take, for instance, Feelings Catcher, with Spanish brandy and guava syrup. The drinks pair perfectly with chef Sue Torres’s pan-Latin menu.
Celeste pays homage to the spirit of innovation celebrated by the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Drinks such as Cold Buttered Rum with Angostura bitters and nutmeg are served in a modern and refined barroom.
Charlie Was a Sinner, Philadelphia
The plant-based (a.k.a. vegan) menu means that cocktails are largely fruit-, vegetable- and herb-based, sweetened with honey alternatives and sometimes infused with farro or tobacco. The Trans-Siberian, for example, is made with vodka, Sauvignon Blanc, green tea, nectarine, vinegar and basil.