The quality and variety of the 20 bars on our annual ranking are more impressive than ever. For more nightlife check us out -
  1. Best Latin Bar
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    Across the street from Julie Reiner’s beloved Clover Club is Leyenda, her newest project with partner Ivy Mix (below). Mix has spent time in Guatemala, so Leyenda’s array of tequila, mezcal, pisco and cachaça drinks—such as the maiden name (cachaça, lime, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon, passion fruit, nutmeg)—is a manifestation of that vivacious Latin spirit.
  2. Best Cocktail Bar For Wine Lovers
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    The wine list skews geeky at this downtown spot, and co-owner Alise Moffatt deftly weaves vino into the cocktails too, including the besos for pesos, a simple mulled wine meets Mexican Coke. The physically forgotten, an aperitif that melds gin, Cynar, maraschino and bitters with lemon oil, will turn oenophiles into cocktail converts.
  3. Best Spin on Tiki
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    Mother of Pearl, New York There is very little rum—and just a smidgen of kitsch—on the menu at this airy green-and-white tiki-influenced bar. Instead, Jane Danger’s menu captures the escapist mindset usually associated with thatched huts and mai tais via such refined creations as the sound of silver (rosemary, Gran Classico, velvet falernum, apple brandy, rye).
  4. Best Japanese-Inflected Bar
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    Bar Goto, New York When Kenta Goto left Audrey Saunders’s celebrated Pegu Club to open his own joint there was no doubt it would be a quality one. The sexy Lower East Side space is exactly that, with addictive okonomi-yaki, a mandatory accompaniment to every crisp gin–cherry blossom–maraschino sakura martini.
  5. Best Southern-Accented Bar
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    Julep, Houston Alba Huerta’s mission is to honor the South. Since opening Julep, her menus have paid homage to Houston, the region’s rural roots and great port cities. This is captured in such thoughtfully crafted libations as the low country, which unites Carolina Gold rice cream with cachaça, lime, cinnamon and absinthe.
  6. Best Revived Dive
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    Holiday Cocktail Lounge, New York Typically landmark bars re-open to lukewarm reviews. Not this East Village dive. It’s every bit as vibrant in its new incarnation as it was when it was Madonna’s playground, except this time the drinks are much better. The original horseshoe bar is a prime spot to unwind with a Brooklyn babe (gin, ginger beer, honey syrup).
  7. Best Patio Bar
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    Best Intentions, Chicago It’s pleasant to knock back a wondermint malted in the company of the jukebox inside this Logan Square spot, but the cabana is even more alluring. For its summer debut, the alfresco bar cranked out horchata margaritas that have us yearning for warmer weather.
  8. Best Cocktail Bar For The Hungry
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    Damn The Weather, Seattle Beyond the chicken-fat fries and blood-sausage sliders, there are many reasons to visit this brick-and-marble oasis in Pioneer Square. Bryn Lumsden and Jay Kuehner have an extensive spirits collection and a penchant for dreaming up intriguing drinks such as the shiso-laced, rye-centric black cherry smash.
  9. Best Neighborhood Hangout (It Happens To Be A Tiki Bar)
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    Lost Lake, Chicago Three Dots and a Dash mastermind Paul McGee strikes gold with this tropical hideaway. His imaginative creations include the hula hips of heaven (tequila, mezcal, grapefruit, lime, velvet falernum, cinnamon, Angostura bitters, absinthe), paired with Chinese sausage–pineapple fried rice from the bar’s adjacent eatery.
  10. Best Restaurant Bar
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    Spoon And Stable, Minneapolis The food from Daniel Boulud vet Gavin Kaysen keeps raking in the accolades, but the bar, helmed by Robb Jones, is also worth roosting at. Jones offers daily-changing libations and spins on the classics, including a sidecar with pear brandy and orange-vanilla bitters.
  11. Best Traditional Tiki Bar
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    Latitude 29, New Orleans One would be hard-pressed to find a more informed tiki expert than Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (below). When he opened his bar inside the French Quarter’s Bienville House, he had no choice but to make it a great one. The presence of a Ponchartrain pearl diver (Jamaica rum, lime, passion fruit, honey-butter spice mix) indeed confirms it is so.
  12. Best Subterranean Bar
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    Midnight Rambler, Dallas Beneath the Joule Hotel sits the animated rock-meets-deco Midnight Rambler, where the drinks—such as a temple of the moon (jasmine-infused pisco, pineapple, lime, Texas mineral water, nutmeg) or a digestif of Irish whiskey, cassis and Ethiopian single-origin coffee—inspire deep thoughts.
  13. Best Casual Cocktail Bar
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    The Normandie Club, Los Angeles The Normandie Club, a Koreatown collaboration between Proprietors LLC and 213 Nightlife, is devoid of pretense. The menu is devoted to classics with compelling tweaks (to wit: a coconut bourbon old-fashioned). Bonus: The Walker Inn, a more intimate lair, is tucked inside.
  14. Best Imaginative Cocktail Concept
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    Mace, New York Mace opened in the East Village just in time to revive jaded drinkers, wowing them with Nico de Soto’s menu that evokes a spice shop. Black-mustard-seed-infused Suze mixed with banana liqueur and lemon juice proves complexity is still alive and well behind the stick.
  15. Best Bar In An On-The-Rise-Hood
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    Forgery, San Francisco Western SoMa, site of a burgeoning high-tech corridor, is also home to the brick-walled Forgery. Jacques Bezuidenhout and Ken Luciano (below) preside over the bar, making quaffs such as el vampiro (mezcal, Manzanilla, crème de cassis, salt). Savor one while people-watching through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
  16. Best Speakeasy
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    Pépé Le Moko, Oregon Leave it to Jeffrey Morgenthaler to elevate such once-cloying drinks as the blue Hawaii and the amaretto sour. By embracing quality ingredients, these upgrades, whipped up behind a handsome zinc bar, barely resemble the originals. Sip a Jägerita (yes, a Jägermeister margarita) in the swank surroundings.
  17. Best Bar Within A Bar
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    Slowly Shirley, New York Descend from the vodka-fueled chaos of the Happiest Hour into Slowly Shirley, a throwback to 1940s art deco glamour. The fancy cocktails that barman Jim Kearns might turn out in this basement den include the gin and Irish whiskey–forward plum tuckered, with plum sake, Aperol and cucumber.
  18. Best Cocktails In An Oyster Bar
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    Grand Army, New York This dark, dreamy oyster bar in idyllic Brooklyn also serves some of the city’s best new cocktails, courtesy of Damon Boelte. Only a tipple like the boardwalk flyer (aged cachaça, Carpano Bianco, Giffard Banane du Brésil, fresh lime, mole bitters) could make a dozen briny bivalves even more transcendent.
  19. Best Bar In A Train Station
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    Cooper Lounge, Denver Revamped Union Station is an architectural masterpiece. Sitting in this elegant boîte, one almost expects the Orient Express to glide through. The mezzanine locale guarantees downtown views to relish alongside cocktails such as the St. Therese (tequila, Bénédictine, Ancho Reyes liqueur) and Colorado Wagyu tartare spiked with sriracha dressing.
  20. Best Bar For Daytime Drinking
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    ABV, San Francisco This Mission District bar from Ryan Fitzgerald, Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud and Todd Smith opens at two P.M., which means it’s quite possible to spend an afternoon getting delightfully sauced on the likes of a jackel (rye, lemon, pineapple, cardamom) before tackling a burger draped in Cottonwood cheddar for dinner.