signup now
America's Best Bars 2012
  • July 03, 2012 : 18:07
  • comments

This is journalism, people. All year long our swarms of investigative reporters ping-pong across the nation, hitting juke joints, mixology meccas, beach bars and dives by the dozen. We look under every maraschino cherry, jotting down notes on wet napkins with steeled nerves and steady hands. To make our bar guide as definitive as possible, we spare lots of sleep and no expense. If you know of a drinking establishment that belongs on this list, clue us in. Meanwhile, pour yourself a tall one and enjoy this intoxicating menu.

La Descarga (Los Angeles)
Sure, it’s situated on a street dotted with discount furniture stores, but that only adds to the stealth sex appeal of La Descarga. Salsa dancing until two a.m.! (ladescargala.com)

Library bar (Los Angeles)
Barman Matthew Biancaniello shakes inventive drinks, such as the whole enchilada (smoky mescal et al.), into the wee hours in a room lined with books and bottles, conveniently located off the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. “Shall we get a room…?” (thompsonhotels.com)

Vesper bar (Las Vegas)
You could walk around Vegas in shorts, sipping a cocktail from a neon flask. Or you could act like a real man, put on a blazer and take your woman for a proper cocktail in this elegant tavern (above right) in the lobby of the Cosmopolitan. (cosmopolitanvegas.com)

Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill (Miami)
Let the masseuse at the Standard hotel spa do the work on your date. Then have her meet you on the deck of the hotel’s restaurant-bar at sunset. A martini later and she’ll melt in your hands. (standardhotels.com)

Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)
At first this place looks like a Disney pirate setup overflowing with buccaneer junk. But don’t be fooled. Head downstairs to the cozy galley-like bar and order a pair of old fashioneds with rare aged rum. Just the thing if you’re hunting for booty. (smugglerscovesf.com)

The Cruise Room (Denver)
Step into the Cruise Room and you’ll feel as if you’re in the bar on the Titanic: elegant, maritime-themed, pre-Prohibition chic. If this place doesn’t charm her, she’s as cold as the iceberg you’re about to smash into. (theoxfordhotel.com)

The Library (Dallas)
This spot at the Warwick Melrose has played provocateur to generations of upper-tier mischief makers. Patrons don’t come for the literary gems on the walls but for the sturdy cocktails, the saloon singers and, if fancy strikes, discreet departures. (librarybardallas.com)

Signature Room at the 95th (Chicago)
On the 95th floor of the Hancock tower, the panorama of the Windy City at night will blow her away. So will the Signature martinis. After a couple, take her across the street to Café Spiaggia for dinner. (signatureroom.com)

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (New Orleans)
It’s not fancy, but it is dark, intimate and magical. A far cry from the other drunk pits on Bourbon Street, Lafitte’s is reputed to be the oldest bar in America. You never know when some fine player will sit down and tickle the ivories at the piano in the middle of the place. (lafittesblacksmithshop.com)

Lewers Lounge (Honolulu)
It’s in a fancy hotel on Waikiki Beach (above left). That alone should be enough to excite her. Add in old-school ambiance, a jazz ensemble, a heady gin buzz and a sunburn that she needs gently massaged—you get the picture. (halekulani.com)

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
read more: nightlife, magazine, alcohol, bars, issue july 2012

9 comments

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    im so happy for Cruise Room denver......spent many a new years there
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    The best classic bar of N. Carolina is The Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar in Carolina Beach, free music and cold beer sitting on a hurricaine shortened pier over the atlantic ocean.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    yeah tip top tavern is a magical place
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    The best dive bar is the tip top tavern in breadenton floida
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    The Very Best Dive Bar On The Treasure Coast Is " Ralphs Standup Bar " in Jupiter Florida :-)
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Only Nashville mention is the tourist trap Tootsie's?!? No Patterson House? No Springwater? No Boundary? No 12 South Taproom? No Virago? C'mon.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    yeah tip top tavern is a magical place
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    yeah tip top tavern is a magical place
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Weak sauce...gimme something I didn't hear about 4 years ago
Advertisement