15 Top Bars in the US, According to the Experts

Seek out world-class cocktails within the United States, from a speakeasy in D.C. to an omakase in Chicago.

<p>Double Chicken Please</p>

Double Chicken Please

What makes a great bar? World-class cocktails are the most obvious answer, but that’s really just the start. There are hundreds, perhaps even thousands of venues assembling drinks worth trying across the U.S., and the ones taking it to the next level are adding a beautiful blend of ambiance, hospitality, and maybe even some notable pub grub into the mix.

There are some seriously vibey destinations to enjoy on the 2024 list of best domestic bars according to our panel of Global Tastemakers survey. You’ll find a lot of newcomers to admire, including a handful of venues that didn’t even exist as recently as 2021. A lot has changed in the industry since then,  and plenty of bar owners now understand the value of having signature food items to pair alongside terrific tipples. Bonus points, of course, if those pairings are pretty enough for an Instagram close-up.

Some things — like New York City’s role as the epicenter of bar culture in the U.S. — never change. The Big Apple secured all the top three spots on the list, but a wide range of regionality is to be appreciated amongst the rest of the entries. Wondrous watering holes from Old San Juan to Southern California; the nation’s capital to the capital of Texas.

Here are 15 standout bars around the country that take cocktail-making to a whole different dimension, and our plus one pick.

Superbueno (New York City)

<p>John Shyloski</p>

John Shyloski

This convivial agave bar in Manhattan’s East Village has barely been open for a year and already has a reputation as an incomparable temple of tipples. “Nacho” Jimenez is the brains behind Superbueno and he’s something of a local legend, an expert at maintaining approachability while appealing to cocktail and spirits geeks. Enjoy a Mole Negroni with fat-washed mezcal or a slushy that combines tropical and Mexican flavors. It’s all reasonably priced by New York standards, with most drinks hovering around $18, especially if you arrive during the Monday to Friday happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Katana Kitten (New York City)

<p>Noah Fecks</p>

Noah Fecks

Highballs, Hinoki Martinis, and crinkle-cut nori fries, oh my! This playful interpretation of a traditional Japanese izakaya is always a treat to visit in Manhattan's West Village. Whether you visit Katana Kitten in the early afternoon or deep into the early morning hours, you will find a friendly waitstaff eager to serve you the simplest cocktails on draft or the most elaborate of preparations, involving crushed, deep-fried shrimp heads.

Double Chicken Please (New York City)

<p>Double Chicken Please</p>

Double Chicken Please

Double Chicken Please is actually two world-class bars in one. The front room is more of a casual affair, where over a dozen inventive drinks are piped out of a draft system. Walk through this space, and you’ll find the far more exclusive “Coop” with its collection of cocktails that represent foods like cold pizza, key lime pie, or even a Waldorf Salad. Whatever you order, you’re going to come away with something quite unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before. And you’re going to want to pair it alongside one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in all of New York.

Allegory (Washington, D.C.)



Creative director Deke Dunne has conceived a veritable wonderland hidden behind an unmarked door within the Eaton Hotel. The dimly lit, brooding interior contrasts with the brilliance of the cocktails coming together behind the stick. The cocktails are broken down in exhaustive detail throughout the menu. You can even read the ABV of each. Allegory bills itself as the “first bar to blend art, literature, social good, craft cocktails, and hospitality.” Inside, you’ll marvel at larger-than-life murals, imaginatively depicting the story of Ruby Bridges, the first Black child to attend an all-white public elementary school during the Civil Rights Movement.

Café La Trova (Miami)

<p>Ranieri Cassuola</p>

Ranieri Cassuola

Trova is a style of acoustic music traditional to Cuba, but this vibrant cafe is nothing short of electric. It boasts a retro atmosphere that makes you feel almost as if you flew into Havana in the 1950s. Julio Cabrera and his talented team of tastemakers will whip you up one of the finest Mojitos or Daiquiris you’ve ever tried. Afterwards, you can navigate through iconic dishes crafted by James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein.

Jewel of the South (New Orleans)

<p>Jewel of the South</p>

Jewel of the South

The modern reimagining of a classic 19th-century New Orleans tavern, Jewel of the South is everything you want from the Big Easy under one roof. Cocktails shift with the seasons but are always bold and boozy. There are also plenty of immovable classics to enjoy, like a French 75 or Sazerac dialed up to a compelling degree of excellence. Plus, you'll find the most expansive caviar menu in town.

Chez Zou (New York City)

<p>Teddy Wolff</p>

Teddy Wolff

Hot nightlife and cool tropical flavors collide in this sleek lounge located just steps away from New York City’s Penn Station. Highlights include a Gibson fashioned with saffron-infused vermouth; a milk punch designed to taste like actual cheesecake; and a Fresh Prince colada, made with white rum, dill, cucumber, yogurt, and aloe. There’s nary a dull preparation on the whimsical menu at Chez Zou.

Martiny's (New York City)

<p>Todd Coleman</p>

Todd Coleman

Tokyo expat Takuma Watanabe fills up this three-story space with so much well-worn style and grace that it’s difficult to imagine it’s only been around for two years. You’ll want to order a Martini at Martiny's, but don’t pass up the matcha-infused Japanese whisky preparation.

Kumiko (Chicago)



This elegant bar has quickly become an anchor of Chicago’s formidable craft cocktail scene. Owner Julia Momosé uses both ingredients as well as techniques from Japan and weaves them seamlessly into a lengthy list of drinks that are often best experienced in omakase form. Be sure to book Kumiko reservations well in advance; this is one of the most sought-after seats in town.

La Factoria (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

<p>La Factoria</p>

La Factoria

La Factoria is the stuff of legends. It has existed as Puerto Rico’s ultimate drinks destination for more than a decade and helped pioneer the craft cocktail movement throughout Latin America. But the team hasn’t been resting on their laurels. Walk into this well-worn lounge on any given evening and you’ll be greeted by fun riffs on Daiquiris, Coladas, and more — all washed down with live entertainment nightly.

Julep (Houston, Texas)



At Julep, the cocktails rely on less-commonly found ingredients like marigold leaves and baked apples. The drinks are served with artful garnishes and priced for repeated consumption.

The Violet Hour (Chicago)

<p>Kelly Sandos</p>

Kelly Sandos

Wicker Park’s original craft cocktail destination is still going strong after more than 15 years in the spotlight. Enter the polished interior through unmarked curtains and savor the Prohibition-era vibes. The Violet Hour's signature offerings are divided between shaken, stirred, and punch sections of the menu. The Fernet and rum-based Goof Juice is a favorite from the Shaken section; Bbwatdhy is a standout Stirred selection, made with dry sherry and a Nill-wafer infused bourbon.

Young Blood (San Diego)

<p>Shannon Partrick</p>

Shannon Partrick

The most exclusive bar in San Diego is like a speakeasy within a speakeasy. You have to secure Young Blood reservations weeks in advance because there are only a handful of seats, and it’s well worth the effort once you’re seated in front of the stick, pouring out your dreams and desires to an attentive mixologist. They will respond, in turn, by whipping up a bespoke drink befitting your mood.

Andra Hem (Philadelphia)

<p>Jason Varney</p>

Jason Varney

Andra Hem is a proper drinks lounge, pure and simple. The aesthetic is clean yet warm; formal yet approachable. The Lambhattan is a curious standout take on the classic American whiskey drink spiced up with lamb-washed bourbon. It sounds bizarre, yet works oh so well.

After (Chicago)

<p>Michael Muser</p>

Michael Muser

Is it a chic dinner lounge or an elevated cocktail parlor? The answer is yes. After is the companion space to chef Curtis Duffy’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Ever. It’s the ideal atmosphere in which to sip an ice-cold Martini with caviar, but if you’re not feeling the classics, steer toward “food-inspired cocktails” such as the Garden of Gin, which jazzes up a Japanese expression of the namesake spirit with red onions and pickled tomatoes — an umami delight.

Plus One: WaterTrade (Austin, Texas)

<p>Chad Wadsworth</p>

Chad Wadsworth

WaterTrade is widely revered among Austin’s cocktail cognoscenti, and the Texas watering hole has garnered global significance. The intimate, Japanese-inspired tachinomi (Japanese-style standing bar) is adjacent to Otoko, one of the city’s premiere omakase destinations, and shares the same ownership. Like its neighbor, it offers up a transcendent tasting menu. Only here, of course, it’s all presented in liquid form.

Global Tastemakers is a celebration of the best culinary destinations in the U.S. and abroad. We asked more than 180 food and travel journalists to vote on their favorites, including restaurants and bars, cities, hotels, airports, airlines, and cruises. We then entrusted those results to an expert panel of judges to determine each category’s winners. In many categories, we’ve included a judge’s pick, hand-selected by our expert panel, to shout out more culinary destinations we don’t want our readers to miss. See all the winners at

For more Food & Wine news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on Food & Wine.