You don't have to be a whiskey drinker to enjoy yourself at The Alembic — but it certainly doesn't hurt. Boasting one of the most impressive selections of bourbon, whiskey, and rye in the city, this Haight spot can be a little cramped at times, but is well worth the effort it takes to secure a seat. The cocktails are excellent, covering bases both old and new, and the selection of beer, wine, and other spirits is impressive, as well. Rounding out the offerings is a food menu made up of small plates that are as impressively creative as the drinks.
Yes, Saloon is technically a saloon — but it's also so much more. This subterranean Davis Square establishment takes its inspiration from pre-prohibition New York City bar, focusing on brown liquors and local beers. Whiskey is a particular favorite of the staff, with well over 100 varieties stocked behind the bar, along with draft beers and a small selection of red and white wines, available by the bottle or glass. There's also a surprisingly ambitious food menu, which while short, offers dishes like braised pork shanks and short ribs, pan-seared salmon, roasted half-chickens, charcuterie, and, should you forget you're in a saloon, chicken wings.
In an area that's filled with great choices for drinking and dining, it truly means something to be one of the best. And rest assured, the Clover Club is among the top options not just in the borough, but in the whole city. Named after a group of Philly journalists who met monthly at the Bellevue Hotel, the Clover exudes the feel of an intimate club, with a laid-back atmosphere that makes both regulars and newbies alike feel at home. The food is very good, but the real draw here is the cocktails, which range from the familiar to the exotic but each of which is crafted with all the care one can muster. Our recommendation? Grab a seat, settle in, and prepare to be here a while — after you've had your first sip, you'll want to try more than just one.
Where to begin? Well, it's the oldest bar in the city — serving booze since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 — but it certainly doesn't try to replicate drinks of the era. In fact, The Buffet — or The Buffet Bar and Crock Pot if you're not into the whole brevity thing — doesn't offer much except cheap, basic mixed drinks and beers — most notably Coors products. It's the largest Coors retailer in the world, probably due to the Jumbo 16-oz drafts it pours, and it offers two Happy Minutes instead of a Happy Hour — at 6:00 pm, drinks are two for one, and at 11:00 pm, you can get a drink just like the one you have for only a buck. It's cash only, has a pool table that still operates for only a quarter, a completely free shuffleboard table, and a pot of hot dogs or polish sausages going all day. Oh, did we mention that it opens at 6:00 am? Yeah, so whether you're looking for an early morning pick-me-up or just haven't been to bed yet, you'll feel right at home.
Green chiles are serious business in the Southwest, so it's somewhat surprising to see that one of the best green chile cheese burgers in the region coming from this hole-in-the-wall. Like any proper dive, the Buckhorn Tavern sits out of the way, offers cheap beer — albeit with a better selection than you might expect — and interesting regulars, and features a kitschy interior of taxidermy and neon. But it's that burger that's the real star here, featuring freshly ground meat, toppings, cheese, and sautéed green chiles that offer the perfect balance of flavor and heat. Just be warned — this place may be tiny, but the wait can be long — just grab another beer, and be patient.
Not to worry, vodka-haters: the Belvedere Bar serves far more than just a certain brand of premium vodka. It is, in fact, named after the hotel in which it's located. But while it does serve martinis — seven of them created by king of the cocktail, Cosmopolitan inventor, and former Rainbow Room bartender Dale DeGroff — the atmosphere at this poolside destination is just as big a draw as the drinks, as the contemporary design provides the perfect backdrop for the area's sunny days and energy-packed nights. There's also finger food available if you get hungry, and for true night owls, plenty of nearby drinking options if you feel like continuing the evening elsewhere.
We're going to guess that at some point in the development of Wright Bros Brew & Brew, the phrase "Beans & Brew" was considered instead, before the spectre of potential flatulence jokes ended the chances of using the (ever so slightly) more descriptive name. Nevertheless, this new Austin hotspot is open from 7 am to Midnight, and starts out the day serving up terrific coffee from Handsome, Flat Track, and other roasters both local and national, then transitions to offering up a selection of over 40 craft beers — on tap, canned, or bottled — starting... well, whenever someone orders the first beer. Add in food, a spacious patio, and free Wi-Fi, and you have a great place to head no matter what time of day it is. [Scouted by Travis]
According to its motto, The Ocean Mist is "just a beach bar" — but sometimes, that's all you really need. Set on stilts and overlooking the ocean, this casual spot has been in business for 25 years, offering up terrific bloody marys, a selection of ice cold beer that includes everything from Corona (of course) and Red Stripe to Newport Storm and Magic Hat. It also serves up surprisingly tasty food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and boasts a stage that plays host to local and regional bands on a weekly basis. Add in the terrific views of Block Island and you've got a bar that's more than the sum of its parts.
Set in western Texas miles from civilization — the closest major city is across the border — we're not sure you'd be likely to visit Terlingua unless you were on your way somewhere else, but if you do, you need to stop at La Kiva Restaurant & Bar. This subterranean watering hole sets on 15 acres near a national park, and is very much an attraction in and of itself. In addition to being in a cave, the bar features a giant cast iron pot for a urinal, a "penisaurus" fossil set into the wall of the dining area, a decent selection of tequilas, beer on tap and in bottles, an outdoor patio, two stages, and wood-fired pizzas and pit bbq available to the hungry. Oh, and a small room known as the dungeon, which we assume is a good place to hide should the need arise.
There are plenty of bars in the Financial District — the afterwork crowds alone are enough to sustain many a spot — but few offer cocktails on the order of Rickhouse. This well-appointed bar features an enormous selection of liquor, which it leans on to create its artisanal cocktails, with the help of fresh fruit juices, natural sugars, and local produce. There's also a decent selection of local beers and wines on offer, and if you happen to arrive with a group, it's recommended that you go ahead and order up one of the punch bowls, which are amongst the best in the city. There's also live music every Saturday and Monday, letting you decide whether you want the extra ambiance or simply want to imbibe in tranquility.
It might have a celestial name, but you'd be best to keep your expectations grounded when heading to the Saturn Bar. This hole-in-the-wall St Claude bar offers all the best features of a dive, including interesting clientele, worn out seating, cheap, strong, cold drinks, bad artwork, smoke-filled atmosphere, and great music - including frequent appearances by live DJs, and even a Mod dance party night on certain nights. In other words, it's genuine in all the ways the tourist-filled bars on Bourbon street are not.
"Whiskey by the drink" goes the motto of The Silver Dollar, and judging by what's behind the bar, they take it pretty seriously. This Clifton-area drinkery is a self-described re-imagining of a 1950s Bakersfield, California honky tonk, and serves up modern takes on classic Southern dishes to the hungry. But while they might serve food, its the drinks that draw us in, including cocktails, an impressive selection of beers, and the main attraction: over 100 bottles of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys and Ryes. While that does mean there's no Jack to be had, if you can't find something else at least as good to whet your whistle, perhaps you shouldn't be drinking whiskey in the first place.