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The 21 Hottest Cocktail Bars Across the US: Where to Drink Right Now

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eater-cocktail-national-heatmap.jpgThe Bar at Imperial, in Portland [Photo: Eater PDX]

Here are 21 of the hottest cocktail bars in the United States right now. On Monday Eater brought you the country's 38 essential bars, but today it's time to hone in on the new and the buzzed about. The selection includes everything from Chicago's temple to cocktail innovation, which now has a new beverage director (The Aviary), a members-only venture in St. Louis (Blood & Sand), several restaurants with excellent bar programs (Los Angeles' Tasting Kitchen, Houston's Pass and Provisions), a great spot for bourbon and more in Louisville (Meat), and a handsome underground bar in San Francisco's Hearst Building (Local Edition). Almost all of these ventures pride themselves on using local ingredients, having their cocktails reflect the seasons, and emphasizing an understanding of history while being able to reinterpret it.

Here now, the Eater Heatmap to the United States' new cocktail bars.


Tried any of the places on the list or feel there are any glaring omissions? You know what to do.

· All Cocktail Week Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Eater Heatmap Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pouring Ribbons

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225 Avenue B 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10009
(917) 656-6788
Visit Website
A new venture in Alphabet City. According to Eater Wine Editor Talia Baiocchi, "The list is varied, featuring everything from Tiki riffs to stirred classics, and the service is tops."

2. The Hawthorne

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500A Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 532-9150
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The go-to cocktail spot in Boston right now, thanks to owner Jackson Cannon's already established mixology bona fides at Island Creek Oyster Bar and Eastern Standard Kitchen.

3. Weather Up

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1808 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702
Kathryn Weatherup, who has made a name for herself in Brooklyn and TriBeCa, opens a bar far from NYC, in East Austin. Those familiar with Weatherup's work will find a much-expanded cocktail menu that uses a signature, in-house ice program

4. Hop Sing Laundromat

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1029 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
In less than a year, Hop Sing Laundromat has become one of the best bars in Philadelphia. It boasts what owners say is the deepest and most expensive well selection of any craft cocktail bar in the country, as well as the eccentric, cufflinked barman Lêe.

5. Meat

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1076 East Washington
Louisville, KY 40206
(502) 354-3212
Visit Website
If you're in Louisville and want a killer mixed drink or just some bourbon, head to Meat, which Drinks International just called one of the best cocktail bars in the world. If you can't choose from the 30 original cocktails, Eater Louisville editor Zach Everson recommends the Devil's Handshake (Bulleot bourbon, Laird's bonded applejack, yellow chartreuse and Regan's no. 6 bitter).

6. Proof and Provision

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659 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 897-1991
Visit Website
A tiny and pleasant bar in the basement of the historic Georgian Terrace Hotel, with cocktails by Atlanta mixology veteran Nate Shuman. The emphasis is on barrel-aged cocktails. Among Shuman's favorites: the "Firm Handshake" (Redemption Rye whiskey, Leopold Bros. fernet, Demerara, Boker’s bitters) as well as the "When I Was Eight" (High West Oat grain vodka, Maison Prunier d’Orange, Pür Likör Blossom Elderflower Liqueur, citrus cream, dash of orange bitters).

7. Private Social

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3232 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 754-4744
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Bartender Rocco Milano, formerly of The Mansion, gives chef Tiffany Derry's Private Social serious cocktail credibility. His list is a mix of classics, which he mastered at his first gig, and some originals.

8. The Gin Joint

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182 E Bay St.
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 513-5264
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This Charleston bar melds a focus on quality cocktails with the accessibility of a neighborhood dive: go have a well-crafted drink, or one of the weekly punches, and maybe pair it with some potato skins.

9. The Aviary

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955 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 226-0868
Visit Website
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas recently hired former Drawing Room operative Charles Joly to replace Craig Schoettler as beverage director of their innovative, fancy, and fun bar The Aviary. Expect the same thoughtful risk taking, as well as an emphasis on interaction between the drinker and the drink-maker.

10. Colt & Gray

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1553 Platte St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 477-1447
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Recently Eater Denver declared Colt & Gray's "bartender's choice" as one of the most iconic drinks in the city. They wrote, "The Bartender's Choice is the most popular drink at Colt & Gray, without question, and mostly because the bartenders do a damn good job crafting cocktails to fit individual preferences. With an impressive liquor collection, fine beers on draft and a creative selection of house-made bitters, the small bar at Colt & Gray is one of the hottest places to enjoy a custom cocktail."

11. Herbs & Rye

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3713 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89102
(702) 982-8036
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The hottest cocktail bar in Vegas can be found off the Strip at Herbs & Rye, a steakhouse and speakeasy whose drinks skew toward the classic.

12. Bellocq

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936 St. Charles
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 962-0900
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This bar inside the Hotel Modern from the owners of Cure goes way, way back, with punches and cobblers that entered into the canon at the turn of the last century.

13. The Bar at Imperial

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410 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
(503) 228-7222
Visit Website
This is the cocktail bar at celebrated Portland chef Vitaly Paley's new downtown restaurant, with drinks from Brandon Wise. Eater PDX recommends the following: a classic Vieux Carre (available on-tap), the "New Money" (featuring bourbon, Nardidi amaro, hickory vermouth, and bitters), or the Radish cocktail featuring a scoop of radish sorbet.

14. Room 11

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3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 332-3234
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A cozy spot to go for an excellent meal, an excellent cocktail, or both. They just expanded to the space next door, but it remains just as inviting.

15. Kill Devil Club

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31 E 14th St.
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 877-8312
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A new Kansas City piano bar with live jazz and a nice mix of classic and original cocktails. The food menu, which includes foie and fig empanadas, ensures you'll have something to soak up the booze.

16. Blood & Sand

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1500 Saint Charles St.
St. Louis, MO
(314) 241-7263
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A members-only high-end dining and mixology concept designed "as a laboratory for creativity."

17. Essex

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1421 NW 70th
Seattle, WA 98117
(206) 724-0471
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Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg have opened a sibling cocktail bar to Delancey that features house-made amaro and bitters. As is the fashion around the country, they try to highlight local ingredients.

18. The Tasting Kitchen

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1633 Abbott Kinney Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90291
(310) 392-6644
Visit Website
Justin Pike's menu at the Tasting Kitchen changes all the time, and he's said to come up with a new drink practically every day. But, as Eater LA points out, the "Braveheart, a perfect marriage of scotch and ginger — cool heat — remains an off-the-menu favorite."

19. The Pass and Provisions

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807 Taft
Houston, Tx 77015
(713) 628-9020
Visit Website
The Pass and Provisions is without question Houston's most talked-about new restaurant opening, but their bar program merits a serious look, with drinks like the Switchblade Swizzle (overproof rum, amaro, lemon, grapefruit, clove syrup, Angostura) that they just nail.

20. Living Room at the W South Beach

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2201 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 938-3000
Visit Website
Few know this, but celebrated cocktail man Scott Beattie, well-known over on the West Coast, has been tapped to run the bar program at the Living Room in South Beach. In a city with more crappy, clubby, overpriced bars than you can handle, this is a welcomed alternative.

21. Local Edition

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691 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 795-1375
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Beneath the Hearst Building is this handsome space from the Bourbon & Branch people which features vintage typewriters, live music, and Mod Era classic cocktails.

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1. Pouring Ribbons

225 Avenue B 2nd Fl., New York, NY 10009
A new venture in Alphabet City. According to Eater Wine Editor Talia Baiocchi, "The list is varied, featuring everything from Tiki riffs to stirred classics, and the service is tops."
225 Avenue B 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10009

2. The Hawthorne

500A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215
The go-to cocktail spot in Boston right now, thanks to owner Jackson Cannon's already established mixology bona fides at Island Creek Oyster Bar and Eastern Standard Kitchen.
500A Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215

3. Weather Up

1808 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702
Kathryn Weatherup, who has made a name for herself in Brooklyn and TriBeCa, opens a bar far from NYC, in East Austin. Those familiar with Weatherup's work will find a much-expanded cocktail menu that uses a signature, in-house ice program
1808 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702

4. Hop Sing Laundromat

1029 Race St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
In less than a year, Hop Sing Laundromat has become one of the best bars in Philadelphia. It boasts what owners say is the deepest and most expensive well selection of any craft cocktail bar in the country, as well as the eccentric, cufflinked barman Lêe.
1029 Race St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

5. Meat

1076 East Washington, Louisville, KY 40206
If you're in Louisville and want a killer mixed drink or just some bourbon, head to Meat, which Drinks International just called one of the best cocktail bars in the world. If you can't choose from the 30 original cocktails, Eater Louisville editor Zach Everson recommends the Devil's Handshake (Bulleot bourbon, Laird's bonded applejack, yellow chartreuse and Regan's no. 6 bitter).
1076 East Washington
Louisville, KY 40206

6. Proof and Provision

659 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
A tiny and pleasant bar in the basement of the historic Georgian Terrace Hotel, with cocktails by Atlanta mixology veteran Nate Shuman. The emphasis is on barrel-aged cocktails. Among Shuman's favorites: the "Firm Handshake" (Redemption Rye whiskey, Leopold Bros. fernet, Demerara, Boker’s bitters) as well as the "When I Was Eight" (High West Oat grain vodka, Maison Prunier d’Orange, Pür Likör Blossom Elderflower Liqueur, citrus cream, dash of orange bitters).
659 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

7. Private Social

3232 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75204
Bartender Rocco Milano, formerly of The Mansion, gives chef Tiffany Derry's Private Social serious cocktail credibility. His list is a mix of classics, which he mastered at his first gig, and some originals.
3232 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204

8. The Gin Joint

182 E Bay St., Charleston, SC 29401
This Charleston bar melds a focus on quality cocktails with the accessibility of a neighborhood dive: go have a well-crafted drink, or one of the weekly punches, and maybe pair it with some potato skins.
182 E Bay St.
Charleston, SC 29401

9. The Aviary

955 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas recently hired former Drawing Room operative Charles Joly to replace Craig Schoettler as beverage director of their innovative, fancy, and fun bar The Aviary. Expect the same thoughtful risk taking, as well as an emphasis on interaction between the drinker and the drink-maker.
955 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

10. Colt & Gray

1553 Platte St., Denver, CO 80202
Recently Eater Denver declared Colt & Gray's "bartender's choice" as one of the most iconic drinks in the city. They wrote, "The Bartender's Choice is the most popular drink at Colt & Gray, without question, and mostly because the bartenders do a damn good job crafting cocktails to fit individual preferences. With an impressive liquor collection, fine beers on draft and a creative selection of house-made bitters, the small bar at Colt & Gray is one of the hottest places to enjoy a custom cocktail."
1553 Platte St.
Denver, CO 80202

11. Herbs & Rye

3713 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89102
The hottest cocktail bar in Vegas can be found off the Strip at Herbs & Rye, a steakhouse and speakeasy whose drinks skew toward the classic.
3713 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89102

12. Bellocq

936 St. Charles, New Orleans, LA 70130
This bar inside the Hotel Modern from the owners of Cure goes way, way back, with punches and cobblers that entered into the canon at the turn of the last century.
936 St. Charles
New Orleans, LA 70130

13. The Bar at Imperial

410 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
This is the cocktail bar at celebrated Portland chef Vitaly Paley's new downtown restaurant, with drinks from Brandon Wise. Eater PDX recommends the following: a classic Vieux Carre (available on-tap), the "New Money" (featuring bourbon, Nardidi amaro, hickory vermouth, and bitters), or the Radish cocktail featuring a scoop of radish sorbet.
410 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205

14. Room 11

3234 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20010
A cozy spot to go for an excellent meal, an excellent cocktail, or both. They just expanded to the space next door, but it remains just as inviting.
3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

15. Kill Devil Club

31 E 14th St., Kansas City, MO 64106
A new Kansas City piano bar with live jazz and a nice mix of classic and original cocktails. The food menu, which includes foie and fig empanadas, ensures you'll have something to soak up the booze.
31 E 14th St.
Kansas City, MO 64106

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16. Blood & Sand

1500 Saint Charles St., St. Louis, MO
A members-only high-end dining and mixology concept designed "as a laboratory for creativity."
1500 Saint Charles St.
St. Louis, MO

17. Essex

1421 NW 70th, Seattle, WA 98117
Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg have opened a sibling cocktail bar to Delancey that features house-made amaro and bitters. As is the fashion around the country, they try to highlight local ingredients.
1421 NW 70th
Seattle, WA 98117

18. The Tasting Kitchen

1633 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90291
Justin Pike's menu at the Tasting Kitchen changes all the time, and he's said to come up with a new drink practically every day. But, as Eater LA points out, the "Braveheart, a perfect marriage of scotch and ginger — cool heat — remains an off-the-menu favorite."
1633 Abbott Kinney Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90291

19. The Pass and Provisions

807 Taft, Houston, Tx 77015
The Pass and Provisions is without question Houston's most talked-about new restaurant opening, but their bar program merits a serious look, with drinks like the Switchblade Swizzle (overproof rum, amaro, lemon, grapefruit, clove syrup, Angostura) that they just nail.
807 Taft
Houston, Tx 77015

20. Living Room at the W South Beach

2201 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Few know this, but celebrated cocktail man Scott Beattie, well-known over on the West Coast, has been tapped to run the bar program at the Living Room in South Beach. In a city with more crappy, clubby, overpriced bars than you can handle, this is a welcomed alternative.
2201 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139

21. Local Edition

691 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Beneath the Hearst Building is this handsome space from the Bourbon & Branch people which features vintage typewriters, live music, and Mod Era classic cocktails.
691 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94105

Related Maps