Best Cocktail Bars in the U.S.
Harlowe, Los Angeles
The vintage fixtures and classic cocktails here are reminiscent of bars from Hollywood’s golden age. Star mixologist Dushan Zaric of Employees Only in New York City designed the cocktail program, which includes drinks like the vodka-based Clementine, with Aperol, lemon and mandarin puree.
Good Bar, Seattle
The menu at this smart, stylish bar in the former Japanese Commercial Bank ranges from classic riffs (like the Darker Stormy, tweaked with a ginger-stout reduction) to the unexpected (the Axl Brose, with Scotch, Drambuie, honey, oatmeal cream, nutmed and egg yolk).
Coup d’Etat, Minneapolis
This vast, 9,000-square-foot restaurant and bar consists of several dining rooms and upper- and lower-level patios. The cocktail menu features original creations as well as reinvented classics like the Smoked Manhattan.
Culinary Dropout, Las Vegas
The cocktails at this bar with a laid-back vibe and live music are described as Light and Easy, Two-Handed Shandies, Classic Dropouts and Copper-less Mules. Pistols at Dawn (bourbon, ancho chile liqueur, ginger agave and Cabernet) is a creative addition to the last category.
The Chestnut Club, Los Angeles
The elaborate drinks at this dimly lit, industrial-chic lounge are supplemented by Spanish-style gin-and-tonic variations. One such iteration is the Café Paloma, with tequila, Aperol, grapefruit and lime.
Clover Club, New York City
Named after a pre-Prohibition men’s club, this stylish classic-cocktails spot is co-owned by Julie Reiner of Manhattan’s renowned Flatiron Lounge.
Teardrop Cocktail Lounge, Portland, OR
The bartenders at Teardrop’s circular bar make their own tonic water and specialty liqueurs for drinks like the Devil You Know (green Chartreuse, Amaro Nonino, Dolin Blanc vermouth and lime juice shaken with an egg white).
Pegu Club, New York City
Audrey Saunders, a leader of the vintage cocktail movement, co-owns this mixologists’ hangout, which serves its drinks with dropper bottles of fresh juices, bitters and simple syrup.
Rob Roy, Seattle
You can order Anu Apte’s Ginger Persuasion or Zane Harris’s Aster Family Sour at this cool, 1970s-inspired cocktail den.
Tavern Law, Seattle
From the duo behind the gastropub Spur, Tavern Law has classic cocktails, lots of whiskeys and fancy bar snacks like foie gras terrine. Through a heavy vault door is Needle & Thread, an upstairs bar where drinks are custom-made.
Taste, St. Louis
Local hero Ted Kilgore mans the bar at this newly relocated small-plates spot, where Adam Altnether offers house-made pickles, deviled eggs and Carrot Bruschetta.
Cure, New Orleans
Bartenders at Cure use droppers to add house-made tinctures to their cocktails, which are served alongside tasty dishes like a cotija crusted confit chicken.
Comstock Saloon, San Francisco
Star bartenders Jonny Raglin and Jeff Hollinger run this 1900s-style bar, where they serve period-appropriate cocktails and snacks like whiskey-cured gravlax on rye toast with dill sour cream.
Copa d'Oro, Santa Monica
Headed by Vincenzo Marianella, Copa d’Oro has a "be your own mixologist" option. This allows guests to concoct their own drinks with seasonal ingredients (kumquats or sage, for instance) and a choice of top-notch spirits.
Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
Two devotees of old-school cocktails serve flips, brambles, bucks and sours and host monthly themed cocktail classes at this bar in an old Bridgestone-Firestone tire shop.
Downtown Cocktail Room, Las Vegas
This spacious and subdued lounge in a renovated wedding chapel is marked by a tiny sign; inside are cool drinks like the Cat’s Pajamas: gin, Campari, orange juice, Chartreuse and maple syrup.
Parasol Down, Las Vegas
Dozens of colorful upside-down parasols and a terrace-side lake and waterfall are the draw at this Wynn Las Vegas indoor/outdoor lounge. Mixologist Patricia Richards is behind the drink list.
The Patterson House, Nashville
Toby Maloney designed the drink menu at this bar named for the Tennessee governor who vetoed the return of statewide Prohibition in 1909.
The Barrelhouse Flat, Chicago
The Violet Hour alum Stephen Cole creates classics-inspired cocktails and books live ragtime acts on weekends.
Pour Vous, Los Angeles
The sumptuous drinks menu at this Parisian-themed lounge is divided into sections such as Parfum, Potion and Santé. The dress code encourages "cocktail attire," i.e., no baseball caps or flip-flops.
The Broken Shaker, Miami
This poolside lounge at the newly renovated Freehand Miami hostel serves refreshing cocktails made with homemade syrups and garden herbs from the creative mixology duo Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi.
The Rose, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
This plush, old-fashioned lounge in the Pink Garter Theatre features elegant cocktails like the Ten Cent Claude, made with bourbon, Darjeeling tea syrup and muddled citrus.
Eat Street Social, Minneapolis
Ira Koplowitz and Nicholas Kosevich, founders of Bittercube artisanal bitters, create drinks like Of the Older Fashioned using a trio of their own bitters: Cherry Bark Vanilla, Orange and Bolivar.
Arnaud's French 75 Bar, New Orleans
Chris Hannah mans the bar at this dapper, cigar-friendly spot inside Arnaud’s, one of New Orleans’s oldest and most venerated restaurants.
The Baldwin Bar, Boston
Ran Duan serves singular cocktails at his bar in the Sichuan Garden II restaurant inside the 17th-century Baldwin Mansion. Upstairs at the mansion is a new library-style lounge where Duan mixes stiff drinks like Rock Beats Scissors, with rye, Cynar, China-China liqueur and clove bitters.
Goto, New York City
At his tiny, refined izakaya, Kenta Goto (p. 219) gives cocktails a Japanese spin, such as the elegant Sakura Martini, garnished with a cherry blossom. The complex drinks are excellent with the bar’s thoughtful small plates, among them pan-sized okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).
The decidedly Mexican-inspired cocktail menu has the requisite margarita and sangria, but also less expected creations like El Espectro: rum, chile, pineapple and lemon oleo-saccharum. All drinks pair well with the restaurant’s stellar tacos.
Stained glass and 160 candles give this subterranean bar a dramatic look, and its cocktails embrace the theatrical, too. Barman Jesse Held (p. 220) focuses on novelty in his drinks, experimenting with infusions and even creating an “ice program” with different styles and flavors.
The Roosevelt Room, Austin
The drinks at this sleek yet relaxed lounge are impressive, with a touch of whimsy. Do You Even Lift?, reminiscent of a root beer float, is a complex, nostalgic mix of rum, coffee liqueur, orgeat, cream, root beer, cayenne and cinnamon.
Celebrating the cocktail culture of the South, mixologist Alba Huerta specializes in classics as well as thoughtful riffs, such as the namesake mint julep and a gin-based Oregano Cobbler with sherry gum syrup. The food menu includes oysters, smoked fish deviled eggs and an opulent seafood tower.
Wright & Co., Detroit
The centerpiece of this restaurant, built in a ballroom–turned–jewelry shop, is the endless white marble bar top. Craft cocktails include the tequila-based Pear Trap, with pear brandy, salted pear syrup and Zucca amaro.
Le Sel, Nashville
The downstairs lounge of this sophisticated restaurant serves drinks that are as refined as the New French menu. Cocktails lean toward French spirits, like the green Chartreuse–based Mad Priest and Le Sazerac, made with Cognac as well as the traditional rye whiskey.
Victoria Bar, Portland
There’s a healthy dose of kitsch on the menu at this polished cocktail joint. Princess Bride—themed cocktails include The Six Fingered Man (a mix of rum, orange curaçao, orgeat, IPA, lemon) and Inigo Montoya (tequila, cardamaro, ginger, lime, cardamom bitters).
Bar Sardine, New York City
This compact neighborhood bar in the West Village serves inspired drinks by Brian Bartels. These include a playful selection of Bloody Mary riffs (featuring ingredients like ramen broth, dill-infused vodka and shishito) and barrel-aged cocktails.
Nitecap, New York City
At this dark, moody cocktail lounge downstairs from Schapiro’s restaurant, co-owner Natasha David serves a variety of drinks with cheeky style, from refreshing spritzes to boozy punches.