From a lounge in a renovated Las Vegas wedding chapel to a 19th-century-style saloon, America’s best bars celebrate the handmade, the historical and the locally sourced.
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Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Rhum agricole–lover Thad Vogler, who designed the menus for Beretta and the Slanted Door, co-owns this airy, rustic-industrial tavern.
Related: Cocktails for a healthy happy hour
Cure, New Orleans Cure (Photo: Kevin O'Mara)
Bartenders at Cure use droppers to add house-made tinctures to their cocktails, which are served alongside tasty dishes like a duck & sweet potato hash.
Star chef Barbara Lynch’s bar dispenses with menus; mixologist John Gertsen and his team custom-make drinks like the Golden State for each guest.
Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta
From the team behind Restaurant Eugene, this gastropub serves Southern-inspired cocktails such as the Spice Bandit by mixologist Greg Best.
PDT, New York City
Mixologist Jim Meehan, deputy editor of Food & Wine Cocktails, obsesses over obscure classic drinks at this excellent reservations-only lounge, whose name means Please Don’t Tell. The (unmarked) door is in a phone booth inside the hot dog joint Crif Dogs.
PX, Alexandria, VA
Todd Thrasher makes the cocktails at this chandelier-lit speakeasy (there’s no sign outside, just a blue light). It’s owned by the team behind the terrific Restaurant Eve.
Rob Roy, Seattle
You can order Anu Apte’s Ginger Persuasion or Zane Harris’s Aster Family Sour (pictured) at this cool, 1970s-inspired cocktail den.
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).
The Varnish, Los Angeles
A collaboration between cocktail magnates Sasha Petraske and Eric Alperin, The Varnish is accessed through a secret door at Cole’s, the destination French Dip restaurant.
The Violet Hour, Chicago
With chandeliers and a fireplace, this lounge is modeled after early-19th-century English clubs and French salons. Floor-to-ceiling curtains define three rooms, where guests enjoy concoctions like Baron’s Brew (tea-infused gin, lemon juice, neroli-violet syrup and house-made tonic).
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