Drink enthusiasts want to know what's new, what's hot, and who's serving the most creative tiki tipples. Here now, a guide to North America's 22 hottest bars—covering everything from beer to wine to all forms of cocktail. Note, some are within restaurants, others are not. And for our list of the most essential bars, head here.Read More
The Hottest Bars From Coast to Coast
You'll want to drink here!
The S.O.S. Tiki Bar
Paper Plane is gone, but in its place is The S.O.S., a tiki bar to make you think warm thoughts. Tropical favorites such as the mai tai and planter's punch are available in individual or punchbowl servings for six to eight. Just don't forget to eat; these drinks pack a wallop.
It’s easy to miss the entrance to Small Victory, but once found, you'll have earned that Manhattan or sidecar. Local bar vets Josh Loving and Brian Stubbs are behind the classic cocktails here that pay extra attention to quality ice.
Baldwin Bar alum Charles Coykendall is overseeing the boozy offerings at former Top Cheffer Tiffani Faison's brand new Southeast Asian restaurant, which has two bars. One of them — eye-catching with a tiger-striped wall — focuses on tiki drinks.
Stems & Skins
Stems & Skins comes from former Husk sommelier Matt Tunstall and previous Bull Street Gourmet owner Justin Croxall. Both partners have a passion for interesting wines and hospitality. The Park Circle bar is winning over wine nerds with esoteric labels and superb service. For the non-oenophiles, the food menu offers cheese, charcuterie, sandwiches, and Mediterranean-inspired snacks.
Recently joining the many other fun drinking and eating spots in the gorgeous Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Milk Room serves as a unique cocktail adventure. Only eight ticketed imbibers per evening get to experience Paul McGee's booze-fueled cocktail journey, which begins with an amuse drink, and includes small bites. And while McGee is best known for his tiki expertise, here he's mixing and muddling classic cocktails with vintage spirits and rare ingredients.
The fellas behind Smoke just debuted this new dazzler at NorthPark Center, meaning now you can sip a truly excellent cocktail after hitting Nordstrom's shoe department. The bar program is the brainchild of Kyle Hilla, formerly of Bolsa, and all the drinks are named for national parks. Try the gin-based North Cascades, with lemon and Champagne foam; or try the Everglades, a tasty frozen treat with celery, lime, green Chartreuse, Caña Brava rum, and ginger pop rocks.
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This LoHi neighborhood bar, younger sibling to esteemed Williams & Graham, gives those who appreciate great cocktails a new venue for watching sports. Think Long Island iced teas made with better ingredients, alongside house creations. Oh, and arcade games, too.
Standby's ambitious bar program developed by Joe Robinson features 45 classic and modern cocktails that incorporate advanced bartending techniques. Despite the formidable list, the bar manages to make its drinks accessible, with descriptions that not only list ingredients, but also the type of glass, mixing technique (shaken or stirred?), and helpful flavor profiles. In short, diners don't have to Google ingredients to know what they're drinking.
Treadsack restaurant group's latest offering is the perfect vehicle to show off the skills of Leslie Ross, their celebrated bar director. Expect complex drinks with gorgeous presentation.
Alain Ducasse's Skyfall Lounge (formerly Mix), perched on the 63rd floor of the Delano, features stunning 180-degree views of the city through floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests can still rest on theater-style seating designed by Paris-based French-Canadian design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku, so every view is unobstructed to the skyline. Or another option is to get cozy on the outdoor patio as the night sky emerges. And the drinks here are sublime, with complex creations by Los Angeles cocktail consulting company, Proprietors LLC.
Jeremy Fall has transformed the former Sadie event space (R.I.P. Les Deux) into a weekend-only breakfast bar, with things like Benedict fries, crispy candied bacon, and a banh mi on the bill of fare. Oh, and to drink, try the boozy smoothies or bourbon cereal milk.
Even though Sweet Liberty is bright, shiny, and new, the bar is already stirring up some serious cocktails. If you can, try to sit at the Bartenders' Table: the booth behind the bar. At arms-length away from the well, all you have to do is tap the barkeep on the shoulder to order your next drink.
It seems fitting that a distillery would be equipped with a cocktail bar. And that's exactly the case at Tattersall Distilling, which produces a slew of craft spirits from gin to aquavit to whiskey. Luckily, patrons don't need to go too far to sample any of them in a mixed drink.
The Black Hoof's Jen Agg redefined Toronto's cocktail culture, one Manhattan at a time. Now the restaurateur behind that city's superb Cocktail Bar and Rhum Corner has set her exacting standards on Montreal with Agrikol, which she co-owns with artist husband Roland Jean, and Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. Agg's trusted cocktail collaborator, David Greig, is in as manager, which bodes extremely well for the city's drinkers. Agrikol's a Haitian restaurant; look for a deep dive into rum-based libations.
The Green Hour
Longtime local barman Jeremiah Blake is back behind the stick, running one of Nashville's most interesting new cocktail bars. Setting up shop in Germantown's Tempered Cafe & Chocolate on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, The Green Hour is the city's first absinthe bar, offering pours of a variety of the legendary liquor, as well as Blake's own unique cocktail creations.
Giuseppe Gonzalez, a veteran of Pegu Club and Dutch Kills, is bringing the best of modern cocktail culture to the freshly opened Suffolk Arms. Touted as a "cocktail pub," signature drinks are served alongside American fare from former Calle Ocho chef Alex Garcia.
On the corner of York and Martha Streets sits a grand, old building now home to one of Fishtown's hippest spots: Martha, the hoagie-slinging, local spirit-collecting, sour beer emporium by industry-vet Jon Medlinsky. The space, even with its high ceilings and computer-projected menu, delivers a cozy atmosphere. Maybe it's the record player spinning in the corner, maybe it's the fireplace. Either way, all of Fishtown seems to be spending their evenings at Martha, and there's good reason why.
2016 James Beard Award semifinalist and chef of Ataula José Chesa opened his second full-fledged eatery in February. At Chesa, paellas are king, and the menu of tapas takes you straight into the world of modern Spanish food. Staying true to the Spanish theme, the bar here is heavy on vermouth and sherry, and of course mixes up a gin and tonic.
Hearty plant-based eats combine with craft-focused drinks at his buzzy, metal-tinged new South Park hotspot that's drawing crowds curious to experience San Diego's first vegan cocktail bar.
This new spot from tiki king Martin Cate (Smuggler's Cove) and John Park (Novela) is a gin-lover's fever dream, fashioned to look like an abandoned London Underground station and distillery. And matching up to the detailed interior is a lengthy list of gin-based cocktails, from long lost classics to modern-day concoctions.
Cocktail wunderkind Amanda Reed brought years of experience to this long-awaited, unbelievably beautiful restaurant. A "Who’s Who” collection of skilled Seattle barkeeps serve up drinks each designed specifically to pair with a different dish on the menu, albeit with a twist: base spirits may become whispers and amaro might take center stage. Oh, and that piece of Serrano ham garnishing the rim of your glass? It’s a lovely bite alongside the fino sherry in your drink.
High-end spirits and vintage Champagnes come into play at Tom Brown's intimate new cocktail bar, featuring drinks from Mick Perrigo. Expect a mix of classics and custom creations priced from high to low.