24 of the Best Cocktail Bars in the U.S.

Cocktail Bars: Nitecap
Photo: © Eric Medsker

Here, beautiful destination cocktail bars from the country's best mixologists.

01 of 24

Harlowe (Los Angeles)

Cocktail Bars: Harlowe
© Danielle Bernabe

The vintage fixtures and classic cocktails at Harlowe 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.

02 of 24

Good Bar (Seattle)

Cocktail Bars: Good Bar
© Suzi Pratt

The menu at smart, stylish Good 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, nutmeg, and egg yolk).

03 of 24

The Chestnut Club (Los Angeles)

Cocktail Bars: The Chestnut Club
© Raul Yrastorza

The elaborate drinks at The Chestnut Club, a 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.

04 of 24

Clover Club (New York City)

Cocktail Bars: Clover Club, New York City

Courtesy of The Clover Club

Named after a pre-Prohibition men's club, Brooklyn's Clover Club is a stylish spot for classic cocktails co-owned by Julie Reiner of Manhattan's renowned Flatiron Lounge.

05 of 24

Teardrop Cocktail Lounge (Portland, Oregon)

Cocktail Bars: Teardrop Cocktail Lounge

Courtesy of Teardrop Lounge

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).

06 of 24

Rob Roy (Seattle)

Aster Family Sour

You can order Anu Apte's Ginger Persuasion or Zane Harris' Aster Family Sour at Rob Roy, Seattle's cool, 1970s-inspired cocktail den.

07 of 24

Tavern Law (Seattle)

Cocktail Bars: Tavern Law

© Kristin Zwiers for McCracken Tough

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.

08 of 24

Cure (New Orleans)

Cocktail Bars: Cure
Randy Schmidt

Bartenders at Cure use droppers to add housemade tinctures to their cocktails, which are served alongside tasty dishes like a cotija-crusted confit chicken.

09 of 24

Comstock Saloon (San Francisco)

Cocktail Bars: Comstock Saloon

© Tina Rupp

Star bartenders Jonny Raglin and Jeff Hollinger run San Francisco's 1900s-style bar Comstock Saloon, where they serve period-appropriate cocktails and snacks like whiskey-cured gravlax on rye toast with dill sour cream.

10 of 24

Anvil Bar (Houston)

Cocktail Bars: Anvil Bar & Refuge

Courtesy of Anvil Bar

Two devotees of old-school cocktails serve flips, brambles, bucks, and sours and host monthly themed cocktail classes at Houston's Anvil Bar in an old Bridgestone-Firestone tire shop.

11 of 24

Downtown Cocktail Room (Las Vegas)

Cocktail Bars: Downtown Cocktail Room

Courtesy of Downtown Cocktail Room

This spacious and subdued lounge in a renovated wedding chapel in Las Vegas is marked by a tiny sign. Inside Downtown Cocktail Room are cool drinks like the Cat's Pajamas: gin, Campari, orange juice, Chartreuse, and maple syrup.

12 of 24

The Patterson House (Nashville)

Cocktail Bars: The Patterson House

Courtesy of The Patterson House

Toby Maloney designed the drink menu at The Patterson House, a Nashville cocktail den named for the Tennessee governor who vetoed the return of statewide Prohibition in 1909.

13 of 24

Pour Vous (Los Angeles)

Cocktail Bars: Pour Vous

© Manufactur Concept

The sumptuous drinks menu at Parisian-themed lounge Par Vous is divided into sections such as Parfum, Potion, and Santé. The dress code encourages "cocktail attire," i.e., no baseball caps or flip-flops.

14 of 24

Broken Shaker (Miami)

Cocktail Bars: The Broken Shaker

© Adrian Gaut

The poolside lounge at the Freehand Miami hostel, Broken Shaker serves refreshing cocktails made with homemade syrups and garden herbs from the creative mixology duo Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi.

15 of 24

Eat Street Social (Minneapolis)

Cocktail Bars: Eat Street Social

© Todd Andrew Gross

Ira Koplowitz and Nicholas Kosevich, founders of Bittercube artisanal bitters, create drinks at Eat Street Social like Of the Older Fashioned using a trio of their own bitters: Cherry Bark Vanilla, Orange, and Bolivar.

16 of 24

Arnaud's French 75 Bar (New Orleans)

Cocktail Bars: Arnaud's French 75 Bar

© Wendell T. Webber

Chris Hannah manned the bar at this dapper, cigar-friendly spot inside Arnaud's, one of New Orleans' oldest and most venerated restaurants, for 14 years. It won the 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program.

17 of 24

The Baldwin Bar (Boston)

Cocktail Bars: The Baldwin Bar
© Raul Zelaya

Ran Duan serves singular cocktails at his Baldwin Bar in the Sichuan Garden II restaurant inside the 17th-century Baldwin Mansion. Upstairs at the mansion is a library-style lounge where Duan mixes stiff drinks like Rock Beats Scissors, with rye, Cynar, China-China liqueur, and clove bitters.

18 of 24

Bar Goto (New York City)

Cocktail Bars: Goto
© Daniel Krieger

At his tiny, refined izakaya, Kenta Goto gives cocktails a Japanese spin, such as the elegant Sakura Martini, garnished with a cherry blossom. The complex drinks are excellent with Bar Goto's thoughtful small plates, among them pan-sized okonomiyaki (savory pancakes).

19 of 24

Minero (Charleston)

Cocktail Bars: Minero
© Andrew Celbulka

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 Minero's stellar tacos.

20 of 24

Constantine (Minneapolis)

Cocktail Bars: Constantine
© James Kruger Landmark Photography

Stained glass and 160 candles give this subterranean bar a dramatic look, and Constantine's cocktails embrace the theatrical, too. Barman turned consultant Jesse Held focused on novelty when designing the drinks menu, experimenting with infusions and even creating an "ice program" with different styles and flavors.

21 of 24

The Roosevelt Room (Austin, Texas)

Cocktail Bar: The Roosevelt Room
Marc Swendner

The drinks at The Roosevelt Room, a 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.

22 of 24

Julep (Houston)

Cocktail Bars: Julep
© Julie Soefer

Celebrating the cocktail culture of the South, mixologist and owner 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. Julep won the 2022 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program.

23 of 24

Wright & Co. (Detroit)

Cocktail Bars: Wright & Co.
© Sal Rodriguez

The centerpiece of this restaurant, built in a ballroom–turned–jewelry shop, is the endless white marble bar top. Wright & Co. craft cocktails include the tequila-based Pear Trap, with pear brandy, salted pear syrup, and Zucca amaro.

24 of 24

Victoria Bar (Portland, Oregon)

Cocktail Bars: Victoria Bar
© Dylan Long

There's a healthy dose of kitsch on the menu at Portland's polished cocktail joint Victoria Bar. 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).

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