magazine | Food & Drinks | Cocktails & Drinks

These Are the Best Bars and Cocktails According to This Team of Experts

The plethora of cocktail guides available on where to drink, when to go and what to order can be dizzying – how can one ever experience and drink it all? We turned to our friends at The Liquor Cabinet, founded by brothers Patrick (of A Guy Named Patrick), Peter and Sean Janelle, for their favorite bars around the country and their go-to order. From NYC to San Francisco, the brothers have pulled this quick list of their must-try spots in some of America's biggest cities. Read on to get the inside scoop from the brothers first hand and find your next favorite drink.

You can also head to The Liquor Cabinet to download their app, get recipes and find everything you've ever needed to know about spirits and the art of cocktails. 

Location: Dante
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Dante: Order the Bloody Mary

New York, New York
Dante is recognized as one of the best bars in the world, but it’s actually a decades-old Greenwich Village cafe, complete with leather banquettes, black and white checkered floors, and outdoor wicker cafe seats, that was revamped a few years ago by an Aussie expat restauranteur, Linden Pride. He teamed up with bar industry vet, Naren Young, who created a beverage menu with a strong focus on Negroni variations.

We love brunch time at the cafe, and along with it, a decadent Bloody Mary (we take ours with Grey Goose). The mix is perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of kick. But the real reason we love it its the perfectly decadent garnishes. They eschew anything too crazy for just the right mix: pickled peppers, a cornichon and a long, perfectly thin, pickle slice. – The Liquor Cabinet
Photo: Grace Sager
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Trickdog: Order the Mr. Jiu’s

San Francisco, California
At first place, the interior at Trickdog doesn’t feel much different than your average bar: a long wooden bar sits to one side of a long, sparsely decorated space. Behind the bar are shelves of bottles, and the scattered throughout the room are high top tables and wooden stools. Taking a look at the menu, things begin to feel more curious. The menu will be intricately pieced together, with outlandish illustrations or photos, sometimes resembling a color wheel or a Chinese takeout menu. The menu—both its format and its drinks—change regularly, so two visits may be quite different. The current menu is an homage to the classic cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, but rather than a book of recipes, the menu features images of cocktails named after great local restaurants.

Our favorite is the Mr. Jiu’s, which is also a new asian-focused concept situated in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood. These cocktails are playful, and this one is no exception: scotch, rum, apricot and Chinese almond are the base for a nutty, floral, tropical concoction that’s perfectly balanced—and slightly more approachable than the rest of the menu. – ​The Liquor Cabinet
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Diamond Reef: Order the Penichillin

Brooklyn, New York, New York
The venue has a sort of tropical midcentury feel, as well as a large outdoor patio. Here they take a classic—a penicillin takes scotch, lemon, honey and ginger—and make it even better. The Penichillin is also the most joyfully perfect name for a frozen version of the drink. In an era of cocktailing in which frozen cocktails proliferate, and are mostly subpar, the Penichillin maintains both it’s frosty iciness ant it’s booze-forward content all the way to the last drop. – ​The Liquor Cabinet
Photo: Adrian Gaut
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Broken Shaker: Order the Smillie

Miami, Florida
Off the beaten path of the busiest, tourist-filled strip of Mid-Beach, Broken Shaker is an outdoor bar that sits adjacent to a cute outdoor pool on the grounds of The Freehand Hotel. The property, like many establishments in Mid-Beach, is a tribute to art deco design, but is humbler than many of its counterparts. The non-showy vibe is a part of the reason it’s become an international draw, bar menu is equally to credit.

Currently on the list are a smattering of drinks from favorites chefs of local restaurants, and our favorite on the list is the Smillie, which embraces the current mezcal trend with purity and simplicity. The drink takes a classic tequila margarita and adds mezcal, ginger and turmeric for a spicier, more earthy take. –  The Liquor Cabinet
Photo: Home Studios
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Bibo Ergo Sum: Order the Grandpa Joe

Los Angeles, California
The most gorgeous bar to open in recent years in LA, Bibo Ergo Sum is situated in a chic, quiet strip mall on Robertson Boulevard. Inside, the sumptuous surrounding are draped in velvet, brass, and marble, and conjure up Art Deco vibes, tweaked for the 21st Century. The bar program is courtesy of Proprietors, the widely acclaimed group behind New York’s Death and Co.

The menu is inventive, and we love the Grandpa Joe, a twist on the traditional whiskey sour that looks and sips more like an old fashioned. The drink’s lemon and orange juices are clarified with a centrifuge, and the cocktail is stirred—rather than sipped, like most citrus-based cocktails—because the resulting juices are clear of pulp and cloudiness. The result is a drink that looks simple, but like this section of the bar’s the menu proclaims the bartender uses culinary techniques “to help make the ordinary extraordinary." – ​The Liquor Cabinet
Photo: Clayton Hauck
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Lost Lake: Order the Lost Lake

Chicago, Illinois
Lost Lake is a tiki spot in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. The mostly women and queer run establishment functions like a neighborhood bar, but plays on the world stage: in 2018, it was recognized at Tales of the Cocktail, one of the industries most notable events, as best bar in the country.

On a menu of hits, we love the namesake cocktail, the Lost Lake, a riff on the classic jungle bird, notable for it’s inclusion of Campari in an otherwise straightforward tiki composition of pineapple, lime, and rum. The lost lake also adds passionfruit and maraschino for a slightly more fruity and nutty result. – ​The Liquor Cabinet

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