Summer is over and the leaves are changing, but there’s no expiration date on traveling. If you have plans to visit one of the following cities—or if you call them home—check out these 15 Zagat rated bars across the U.S.
Atlanta: Little Trouble
Little Trouble is a new spot with a futuristic vibe and décor straight out of Blade Runner. Their menu features small bites inspired by Asian street fair while their drink menu includes shareable drinks like the Green Girl—which can be made for one or four people. Another drink you have to try is the Found Art—an interesting mix of rye, mescal, Zucca rhubarb liqueur, and mole bitters.
Austin: The Roosevelt Room
The Roosevelt Room was previously only open for special events but now has expanded their hours to six days a week. You’ll need those extra days to sample the 70+ cocktails created by owners Dennis Gobis and Justin Lavenue. The Poet’s Muse—Bombay Sapphire gin, Poet’s cordial, citrus blend, and an umami tincture—recently won Lavenue a bartending competition.
Located at the Seaport’s Fan Pier, Committee features globally inspired cocktail and Greek and Eastern Mediterranean menu. Suspended wine crates hang over the large, three sided bar inside and a separate bar on the waterfront patio features tiki-style drinks. The Smoke Show combines strawberry-infused mescal, Aperol, amaro, and candied bacon chips—don’t leave without ordering one. If brunch is more your scene, add Committee to your calendar come spring.
Chicago: Green River
Green River is a sleek cocktail lounge created by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of NY’s The Dead Rabbit and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events. The massive rooftop deck is the perfect spot to peruse the 19 page drink menu that features whiskey in honor of the Irish-Americans that helped rebuild Chicago after the Great Fire. The Steamboat Cochrane mixes Chateau du Tariquet Classique Bas-Armagnac, Power Signature Release Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, ginger, lemon, carrot, cashew, and allspice. The food at Green River is as unique as the beverages—saffron spaghetti isn’t your typical bar food.
Dallas: High Fives
High Fives is the perfect place to bring your canine companion while enjoying a craft cocktail. For unbeatable prices, stop by Monday through Friday between 4 and 7 pm for Happy Hour prices on select cocktails and sandwiches for a steal at $5. All the cocktails are named after women, but Stephanie is the favorite, featuring Jameson whiskey, lemon juice, angostura bitters, and ginger beer.
Denver: Carbon Beverage Café
Carbon Beverage Café is a coffeehouse and cocktail emporium in one. Their menu features housemade syrups, bitters, and flavored sodas along with fresh herbs, fruit, and spices, and even a self-serve carbonation station. The endless customizing options can be overwhelming, but the “taptenders” are always ready with a suggestion. The best part? No charge for an extra shot of espresso, squirt of syrup, or more fruit. The menu is equally as playful as their drink set up—the Wu Tang tater tots with dipping sauce are understandably popular—and breakfast is served all day.
Houston: Spare Key
Spare Key in Midtown is a cocktail lounge with modern Victorian design and a great view of Downtown. Their new “Unlock the States” program features 51 drinks—carefully crafted and researched—that represent each U.S. State (and D.C.) and uses a punchcard to track your progress. In addition to the state drinks, they have four global wines, nine beers, and 10 rotating seasonal cocktails. The Harmony in Red is a sweeter blend of white rum, strawberry, lime, Italian aperitif, and soda and is a good place to start!
Los Angeles: Everson Royce Bar
Everson Royce Bar is a newcomer in the Arts District with a slick bar indoors and a cozy patio outside–with bocce! Chef Matt Molina (a James Beard Award-winner) whips up burgers that are quickly becoming cult favorites and go well with their fun cocktails and superb wine list. Try the Paper Plane, made with bourbon, lemon, Aperol and Amaro Nonino.
Miami: Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company serves up sophisticated drinks in a laid-back venue described by the owners as “midcentury Americana meets tropical industrial.” Their daily happy hour features 75 cent oysters and $5 rosé on tap—welcome to Miami! The cocktail to try is the Collins Park Sour, a unique blend of Fords gin, crème de pêche, orange blossom water, matcha green tea, and egg white.
New York City: Bar Goto
Bar Goto pulls its inspiration from its creator’s Tokyo roots with Japanese-inspired cocktails in a warmly lit space. The drinks feature unique touches like cherry-blossom in the martinis and matcha milk punch. If you want something to snack on, try one of the okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). The menu features an array of okonomiyaki, from traditional options to fusions like grilled cheese. Pair it with the matcha milk punch or plum Sazerac.
Philadelphia: Bud & Marilyn’s
Bud & Marilyn’s is a throwback bar serving up retro cocktails that aren’t afraid to have a little fun. For the best bang for your buck, check out the happy hour scene for gimlet slushes and fried cheese curds with garlic ranch. The drink to try if you’re brave enough is the Cannonball!—a blend of blanco tequila with rosemary, lime, and blue curacao.
San Diego: The Noble Experiment
The Noble Experiment is a speakeasy hidden in the middle of Downtown San Diego and while its capacity is limited, the bartenders always aim t please. The skull-lined wall and crystal chandeliers is the perfect setting for an evening of intrigue. Order the Dealer’s Choice if you’re feeling lucky—the bartender will whip up a unique and inspired drink. If you really want to feel like you’re evading the law, enter the bar from its host restaurant, The Neighborhood, by pushing on the wall of beer kegs.
San Francisco: Session at the Presido
Sessions industrial bar is stocked with 99 beers—24 on tap and 75 bottled—40 wines and an extensive craft cocktail menu. Enjoy a drink on the heated patio overlooking the Presidio and take in the view. The Alicella Bitter from Magnolia Brewing is brewed with yarrow, rose hips, sage and honeysuckle from the Academy of Science’s living room—don’t leave without tasting it!
Seattle: Queen Anne Beerhall
Oktoberfest is year round at this friendly Seattle spot, where Pilner Urquell comes from a 100-year-old tap and the sausages are always fresh. The 50+ beer selection is heavy on German and Belgian brews and you can’t go wrong whatever you choose. If you’re not certain what you like, ask the knowledgeable staff and don’t be shy about asking for tastes. Choose half or full-litre sizes and enjoy!
Washington DC: Slash Run
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Slash Run proves that themed bars still have ground to break. The ‘80s metal hair-band theme comes through in the matching jukebox and diner atmosphere. Creative bar foods include a burger with ground coffee in the patty and seasonal waffles with brunch. Happy hour is all night on Monday and it’s a great place to have a drink and catch the Washington Redskins game.