I travel a decent amount for work, and am lucky enough to work in an industry that is food and drink-centric. I’ve probably sat at hundreds of bars in the past five years. Here are eight from around the country that have stuck with me for one reason or another.
650 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
This tiki bar boasts an outrageous rum selection and an expansive menu featuring both classic tiki drinks and modern twists. When you first walk in, you feel like you stepped onto the set of Pirates of the Carribbean — in a good way! It will make you feel like you are on vacation.
The best part is: If you live in San Francisco or visit there a lot, get started on becoming a member of the Rumbustion Society. If you try all 200 rums the bar has to offer, you are rewarded with the title of “Master of the Cove” and a private trip to a rum distillery.
Million Dollar Cowboy
25 North Cache Street, Jackson, WY 83001
Although it has been years since I visited this bar, it’s memory stays with me as one of my favorite bars of all time. A landmark in the ski town of Jackson Hole, Wyo., this bar has a storied history: it was the first bar to receive a liquor license in the state after the repeal of prohibition. Plus, it has great kitsch value.
The best part is: The bar stools are made of actual saddles. Giddy up!
2727 Indian Creek Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33140
What began as a pop-up bar from cocktail consultants Gabe Orta and Elad Zvi has become a permanent fixture at the new Freehand Miami hotel. This is a great laid-back place to grab a well-crafted cocktail away from the bustle of South Beach.
The best part is: Featuring an outdoor pool deck, you can soak up some rays or look at the stars as you sip on your cocktail.
1310 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02215
This bar is like an old friend: reliable and comforting. You can get great drinks or a beer and feel right at home. Despite its pub feel, some of the best bartenders in Boston work (and frequent) this place.
The best part is: A kick-ass menu ensures you can have a quality meal or snack while enjoying the drinks here.
155 East Commerce Street, San Antonio, TX 78205
Established in 1933, this is the oldest bar on the charming Riverwalk in San Antonio and mixes old Texas style with new cocktail preparation methods. I still can’t get over the best cocktail name I have heard in a while: The Texecutioner (mezcal, D’artisti Xtabentun, Cocchi Americano and grapefruit).
The best part is: Esquire can proudly say it has the longest bar in the state of Texas at over 100 feet!
St. Louis, Mo.
4584 Laclede Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
An extensive cocktail menu compliments the food at this impressive joint. Although they don’t allow standing room, you won’t feel like you are in a stuffy speakeasy as you quaff a well-made drink and snack on things like bacon-fried cornbread.
The best part is: One drink that has stayed with me is not on the menu but you should order it anyway: the Industry Sour (Fernet, Chartreuse, lemon and simple syrup).
633 Grand Street, New York, NY 11211
A quintessential Brooklyn neighborhood bar, this is a great place to get a quality cocktail and watch the game or play some skee-ball. Owner Sam Mason is a world-renowned chef who is not above hopping behind the bar and serving customers.
The best part is: Dogs are welcome and Fido can laze around on their lovely backyard patio.
3104 M Street Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20007
Having spent my college years in Washington, D.C., the city and the Georgetown neighborhood in particular hold a special place in my heart. One place I will never tire of is Mr. Smith’s, which features sing-alongs every night of the week at their piano bar.
The best part is: What’s not to like about singing along to “Livin’ on a Prayer” with 20 of your new best friends? If you can snag a seat up front, do it!
What’s your favorite bar ever? Tell us in the comments!