We Found the 21 Best Bars in America
To uncover the best bars in America, we looked for spots with a colorful history, legendary bartenders and, of course, good drinks.
Courtesy Bonus Round
What’s on tap at Bonus Round? Ms. Pac Man, Galaga and Centipede, to name a few. Oh—and the games are free! You do have to pay for your drinks, though, and Bonus Round has an extensive list of beers and craft cocktails. Sit back, relax and geek out at this retro arcade bar.
Santa Monica, California
For an elevated classic cocktail, The Chestnut Club is sure to exceed all expectations. Not in the mood for a Tokyo Mule or Mezcal Margarita? You’ll be sure to find something among their extensive range of 400 spirits, liquors or fortified wines.
Courtesy Brooklyn's on Boulder
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Get a taste of the Prohibition during your Colorado foodie road trip. The entrance to Brooklyn’s looks like a haberdashery, so look carefully for the secret door. (Hint: It’s marked “Employees Only.”) This distillery makes cocktails from the pre-Prohibition era with their own Lee Spirits gin.
St. Augustine, Florida
This is the place for well-crafted beers on the Florida coast. From IPAs to stouts, Old Coast Ales has a knack for flavor and the knowledge to execute it well. For the non-drinkers in your group, Old Coast has kombucha on tap, and if you need a snack, order tacos from the joint next door. Check out the 50+ types of craft beer you need to know.
Sometimes the places off the beaten path are most worth the trip. Head to Ghost Coast to sip a cool Cucumber Collins or opt for the sophisticated flavors in their Rose’s Tea, a shaken cocktail of orange vodka, lime juice, rosemary syrup and tonic.
The atmosphere at the Green Mill is a bit more friendly nowadays than when Al Capone and his henchmen occupied the booths, but the nostalgia hasn’t faded. The cash-only club does have a cover when bands are playing, and they have three rules upon entering: no talking, flash photography or cell phone use. Learn more insider secrets bartenders won’t tell you to navigate the bar with ease.
Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar is known for its 600-bottle selection of bourbons and whiskeys. If you’re curious about what you’re drinking, where to start or how to choose a good bourbon, ask your bartender—they know their stuff, and they’re happy to share. Here’s our take on how to drink whiskey neat.
via tripadvisor.com Carousel Bar
New Orleans, Louisiana
Take in 70 years of history at this bar in the famous Hotel Monteleone. Liberace and Louis Prima put on acts here, and authors Fitzgerald, Faulkner and Hemingway came here for inspiration. The Carousel Bar turns, but don’t worry about spilling your drink. It only makes one leisurely rotation every 15 minutes. Continue your bar hop with one of the best Bloody Mary bars in America, that’s just a quick streetcar ride away.
Courtesy Ran Duan
This tiny bar of 12 seats and three tables resides on the first floor of the Baldwin Mansion. The atmosphere is the perfect blend of elegant and casual, and their drink menu is far from commonplace. Pair your high-end cocktail with authentic Sichuan food, and keep in mind—you should definitely make a reservation.
The Wright and Company building has been around since 1891, but the drink list is anything but stuck in the past. With flavors such as thyme, basil, chamomile and chai, ordering a cocktail here might be more for the exploration of flavors than for a taste of a classic drink. Craft your own rosemary & thyme lemon cocktail at home.
Courtesy Eat Street Social
The cocktails at Eat Street Social are exciting, and the atmosphere is bustling. Reservations are recommended at this popular Minneapolis haunt, and you should bring an appetite if you plan on getting more than just drinks. Top your experience off with their butterscotch-pretzel bread pudding. Can’t make the trip? Find the best pub food in your state.
St. Louis, Missouri
This intimate space at Taste creates a cozy atmosphere that’s almost as good as the drinks. You can expect a finely crafted beverage and bartenders who care about their craft. What’s more—each dish on the menu is made with a thoughtful cocktail pairing in mind. Read up on how to perfect food and beverage pairing for your next gathering.
Courtesy Oak and Ivy
Las Vegas, Nevada
This Nevada whiskey bar prides itself on classic mixology. Oak and Ivy’s barrel-aged cocktails feature homemade garnishes with seasonal ingredients, and their ginger beer is house-made. The service is impeccable and their bartenders somehow know what you want even if you’re not quite sure.
via Parcht Bottleshop + Bites/facebook
Taos, New Mexico
Located in the historic Taos plaza, Parcht will quench your thirst with approachable, affordable wines and local beers. Have a little fun and build your own charcuterie board, or ask the staff what they would pair. The classy yet casual atmosphere is perfect for a midday snack or a date night.
New York City, New York
“Be good or be gone” is the golden rule of this historic haunt. What was once a saloon for Irish workingmen is now a saloon for anyone who wants to keep their order simple. McSorley experimented with selling hard liquor in 1905 and stopped the experiment in 1906. Today, you can choose from two menu items: light ale or dark ale. It stacks up with the best brewpubs in the country.
This wine shop and bar keeps sustainability in mind when crafting its wines. Why do people love it? It’s an authentic neighborhood place with a knowledgeable staff and relaxed atmosphere. If you’re looking to take a bottle home, don’t worry about options—there are over 800 bottles to choose from. Learn more about each type of wine from our sommelier.
Courtesy Andrew Cebulka
Charleston, South Carolina
Cozy and intimate, you can depend on the Gin Joint for expertly crafted gin cocktails in a 1920s-inspired setting. The fun part is that the menu is built to your tastes, meaning a bit of intrigue for you and a bit of art for the bartender. Basically, you choose flavor profiles you’d like to taste, and the bartender creates a drink based on your combinations.
via Oddstory Brewing Company/facebook
Jay Boyd, Oddstory’s head brewer, said the company got its start from a terrible batch of home-brewed beer. Today, their flavors range from fruited sours to Belgian quadruples to American pale ales to Vienna lagers. It’s described as a young, hip place, but people of all drinking ages can feel comfortable at this local spot. If you’re a fan of sour beer, give this sour cherry shandy a try.
They stick to simple flavors that pack a big punch! Whether you want something sweet like the Valley Girl with its vodka, cherry, lemon and amaretto, or something warm like their standard Irish coffee, this neighborhood watering hole will not disappoint
Courtesy Jack Rose Dining Saloon
Whiskey lovers, unite! Currently, Jack Rose has 2,687 bottles of whiskey on the wall ranging from single-malt scotch to Irish whiskey to rare bottlings. (Read up on the types of whiskey before you go.) When you arrive, choose from five rooms to sip your scotch in: the cellar, the tiki bar, the balcony, the open-air terrace or the saloon.
Lucinda dates all the way back to 800 B.C. Kidding! But the concept of using grains to make alcoholic beverages emerged around then, which inspired Lucinda’s origins. This bar uses all kinds of grains to make craft cocktails and food, which results in an unusual but delicious menu.