Best Bars in the U.S.: 20 Influencer Accounts You Should Know About

Learn about 20 of the best bars in the U.S., what makes them unique and how you can use tech to find influencer accounts for your alcohol brand.

As one of the biggest and most diverse countries in the world, the United States is a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, and, of course, drinking establishments. From swanky cocktail lounges to neighborhood dive bars, the United States has a bar scene to suit every taste and budget. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best bars in the U.S., including the winners of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.

Before we dive into our list of the best bars in the U.S., it’s worth taking a moment to talk about the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. These awards, which have been running since 2007, are some of the most prestigious in the industry, celebrating the best bars, bartenders, and cocktails from around the world. The awards are split into several categories, including Best American Cocktail Bar, Best New American Cocktail Bar, and Best High Volume Cocktail Bar.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 20 of the best bars in the U.S., including the recent winners of the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.

20 Award-Winning Bars in the U.S.A.

Attaboy – New York City, NY

Attaboy, a speakeasy-style cocktail bar located in the Lower East Side of New York City, was crowned Top Bar in North America by World’s 50 Best. The bartenders at Attaboy are known for their friendly and unpretentious service, and they work with guests to craft custom cocktails based on their tastes and preferences. Attaboy doesn’t have a menu, so guests can’t rely on ordering their usual go-to drink. Instead, the bartenders ask for input on what type of flavors, spirits, and overall vibe the guest is looking for. From there, the bartender creates a custom drink on the spot using high-quality ingredients and expert techniques. The result is a truly unique drinking experience tailored to each individual guest. Despite its laid-back atmosphere and lack of a menu, Attaboy has earned numerous accolades over the years, including being named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars by Drinks International. The bar’s dedication to high-quality ingredients, expert service, and custom cocktails has made it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. In fact, the owners opened a second location in East Nashville, Tennessee in 2017.

The Aviary – Chicago, IL

Located in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago, The Aviary has received numerous accolades since it opened, including being named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars by Drinks International for several years in a row. The bar has also been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, which named it the Best Bar Program in the United States in 2013. The bar is known for its theatrical presentations and elaborate drink-making techniques, which often involve custom-built contraptions and unusual ingredients. The cocktail menu at The Aviary changes seasonally and features both classic and modern cocktails.

Cafe La Trova – Miami, FL

Cafe La Trova is an award-winning Cuban bar located in Little Havana, Miami, Florida. Founded in 2018 by legendary cantinero Julio Cabrera and James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein, the bar pays homage to the golden era of Havana nightlife with its art deco-inspired decor and classic cocktails. Cafe La Trova is renowned for its extensive rum collection, which features over 400 bottles, as well as its live music performances that showcase traditional Cuban music. In 2019, the bar was named “Best New American Cocktail Bar” at the Spirited Awards and has since received numerous accolades for its exceptional service and ambiance.

Canon – Seattle, WA

Located in Seattle, Canon is one of the best bars in the U.S. because it boasts such an extensive spirits collection, with more than 4,000 bottles on display and an inventory that is always expanding. The bar’s menu features classic cocktails as well as creative new drinks, and the bartenders are known for their attention to detail and expert knowledge. In 2017, Canon won the World’s Best Spirits Selection title at Tales of the Cocktail.

Dante – New York City, NY

Winner of the Best American Cocktail Bar award at the 2021 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, Dante has been a staple of the New York City bar scene since it first opened its doors in 2015. Located in Greenwich Village, Dante is known for its expertly crafted cocktails, including its famous Negroni. The bar also serves up a range of Italian-inspired dishes, making it a great spot for a full evening out.

Death & Co – Denver, CO

The winner of the Best American Cocktail Bar award in 2019, Death & Co has quickly become one of the most popular bars in Denver since it opened in 2018. With a focus on classic cocktails and expert mixology, this bar is a must-visit for any cocktail enthusiast. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, with dim lighting and a speakeasy vibe that’s perfect for a date night or a night out with friends.

The Broken Shaker – Miami, FL

Located in the Freehand Miami hostel, The Broken Shaker is a laid-back and eclectic bar that serves up some of the best cocktails in Miami. Winner of the Best American Hotel Bar award at the 2021 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, The Broken Shaker is known for its inventive and creative cocktails, as well as its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

The Varnish – Los Angeles, CA

Winner of the Best American Cocktail Bar award in 2012, The Varnish is a hidden gem located in the back of Cole’s French Dip in downtown Los Angeles. The bar has a speakeasy vibe, with dark lighting and plush leather booths, and serves up classic cocktails with a modern twist. If you’re looking for a sophisticated and intimate drinking experience in LA, The Varnish is the place to go.

The Dead Rabbit – New York City, NY

The Dead Rabbit is a multi-level bar in New York City’s Financial District that has won numerous awards for its inventive cocktails and immersive atmosphere. The first floor is a traditional Irish pub, while the second floor is a more upscale cocktail bar with a creative menu inspired by New York City’s history.

Employees Only – New York City, NY

Employees Only is a classic cocktail bar in New York City’s West Village that has been serving up expertly crafted drinks since 2004. The bar’s menu features both classic and modern cocktails, and the bartenders are known for their friendly and knowledgeable service.

Cane & Table – New Orleans, LA

Cane & Table is a Caribbean-inspired restaurant located in New Orleans’ French Quarter that serves rum-based cocktails and eclectic small and large plates. The restaurant is a James Beard Foundation Outstanding Bar Program semifinalist. The menu features a pan-Asian inspired menu with a fair amount of fried options. The restaurant’s name is inspired by the historic Cane & Table rum house in Trinidad. Cane & Table’s environs evoke Old Havana with its tropical decor and vintage furnishings.

Trick Dog – San Francisco, CA

Trick Dog is a funky cocktail bar in San Francisco’s Mission District that has won numerous awards for its innovative menu and creative atmosphere. The bar’s menu changes regularly and often features cocktails inspired by everything from Chinese astrology to California’s state parks.

Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco, CA

Smuggler’s Cove is a tiki bar in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood that offers an extensive menu of tropical-inspired cocktails. The bar’s decor is also inspired by tiki culture, with bamboo walls, thatched roofs, and plenty of kitschy decor.

Katana Kitten — New York City, NY

Katana Kitten is a Japanese-inspired bar located in Greenwich Village, New York City. It won Best U.S. Cocktail Bar at the 2022 Spirited Awards. Founded by a trio of industry veterans with a shared passion for Japanese bartending and cuisine, the bar’s menu features a unique blend of Japanese and American flavors, including cocktails made with sake, shochu, and Japanese whiskey. In addition to drinks, the bar also serves a variety of small plates and larger dishes, such as ramen and katsu sandos. Katana Kitten’s atmosphere is lively and welcoming, with a mix of traditional Japanese and modern decor. It has quickly become a popular destination for both locals and tourists looking for a memorable drinking and dining experience in NYC.

Silver Lyan at the Riggs — Washington, D.C.

Winner of Best. U.S. Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail in 2022, Silver Lyan is located at the Riggs Hotel in the heart of Washington, D.C. The bar is the creation of award-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana, known for his innovative approach to mixology. The menu at Silver Lyan features unique cocktails that blend unexpected ingredients and techniques, such as clarified milk punch and smoking herbs. In addition to cocktails, the bar also offers a selection of beer, wine, and spirits. The bar’s sleek and modern decor creates a sophisticated atmosphere, perfect for a night out or a special occasion.

Jewel of the South — New Orleans, LA

Jewel of the South is a popular bar and restaurant located in an 1800s Creole townhouse on St. Louis and Rampart Streets in New Orleans. In 2022, it was crowned Best U.S. Restaurant Bar by the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Known for its classic New Orleans cocktails, the bar serves a variety of unique drinks, including their signature “Jewel of the South” cocktail. The restaurant’s menu features Creole-inspired dishes and seafood options, such as gumbo, jambalaya, grilled fish, and oysters. The interior boasts vintage and modern decor with plush seating, antique mirrors, and exposed brick walls, while a large outdoor courtyard is also available for dining and drinks.

Happy Accidents — Albuquerque, NM

Named Best New Cocktail Bar in the 2022 Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail, Happy Accidents is a vibrant cocktail bar located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded by Blaze Montana and Kate Gerwin, the latter of which has won the Bols Around the World Bartending Competition and runner up on Netflix’s Drink Master’s competition, Happy Accidents is also a distillery holding a craft-distiller license and an importer’s license. The unique bar boasts a whopping 90 cocktails on the menu, and about 40 of those are on draft. 

The Paper Plane — San Jose, CA

Over the years, the Paper Plane has won numerous awards and accolades, including being named one of the best cocktail bars in America by Thrillist and one of the best bars in San Jose by the San Jose Mercury News. Its skilled bartenders have also won awards at national cocktail competitions, cementing the Paper Plane’s reputation as one of the best cocktail bars in the country. The bar was opened in 2013 by owners Stephen Shelton and Tyler Williams, who wanted to create a bar that offered high-quality drinks in a laid-back atmosphere. The bar is named after the famous paper airplane cocktail, which is a signature drink on the menu. The bar has a rotating menu of cocktails that feature unique and unusual ingredients, such as lavender-infused gin, smoked tea, and hibiscus syrup. 

Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company – Miami, FL

Located in Miami Beach, Sweet Liberty is a Miami favorite that was named Best American High-Volume Cocktail bar in the 2017 Spirited Awards. The bar boasts a vibrant atmosphere with an extensive cocktail menu, featuring classic drinks and innovative creations made with fresh ingredients. They also offer a variety of small plates and entrees, including vegetarian and vegan options. The bar has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being named one of the “Best Bars in America” by Esquire Magazine. Sweet Liberty is known for its exceptional service, creative cocktails, and lively atmosphere, making it a must-visit spot in Miami.

The Roosevelt Room — Austin, TX

The Roosevelt Room, a sophisticated cocktail bar located in the heart of downtown Austin, Texas, was a top four finalist at the Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Spirited Awards in two categories – Best U.S. Cocktail Bar and Best U.S. Bar Team. The bar features a classic and timeless atmosphere with a focus on craft cocktails and exceptional service. The menu includes a wide range of cocktails, from classic favorites to innovative creations, as well as a carefully curated selection of spirits and wine. The bar also offers a rotating selection of seasonal drinks and an extensive list of rare and hard-to-find spirits. What sets this bar apart from others, is that they also have a mobile cocktail truck. Available to rent, the Roosevelt Room’s vintage Airstream serves craft cocktails, beer, and wine at events and private parties in Austin, Texas. The truck features a custom-built bar, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and a team of expert bartenders.

Using Tech to Find the Best Bars in the U.S. for Your Alcohol Brand

As an alcohol supplier developing an on-premise sales strategy, it’s important to pay attention to the bars that are pushing the envelope in terms of innovation and creativity. You want to put your product in the backbar and on the menu of establishments that are making an impact on the industry as a whole. These “influencer accounts,” as we call them, not only have a huge hold on consumers, but also inspire bartenders across the country. 

The 20 influencer accounts mentioned in this article as some of the best bars in the U.S. are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating an on-premise sales strategy. To hone in on other high-profile accounts that would work for your alcohol brand, tools like Overproof help you quickly create target account sets and save yourself countless hours of manual desk research. Whether you’re looking for bars that have a specific style or offer a certain cuisine, mention your competitors on the menu, or, inversely, where a single supplier does not have a large presence, Overproof’s database of accounts and AI-powered software has you covered. To schedule a demo and see it in action, click here.

FAQs

What is the most famous bar in America?

This may vary depending on different factors, such as location, cultural significance, and personal opinions. However, some of the most well-known bars in the United States include:

  • The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee, which is a popular spot for live music and has been featured in various movies and TV shows.
  • The Rainbow Bar and Grill in Los Angeles, California, which has been a favorite hangout spot for rock musicians and celebrities for decades.
  • The Alibi in Boston, Massachusetts, which is a historic pub and was frequented by famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

What is the world’s #1 bar?

This ranking is compiled annually by “The World’s 50 Best Bars” organization, which is based in London, UK. The list is determined by a voting process that involves more than 500 drinks experts worldwide. The ranking considers factors such as the quality of drinks, service, atmosphere, and overall experience. As of 2022, the World’s #1 bar is Paradiso, located in Barcelona. 

What city has the best bars in the U.S.?

Ultimately, the “best” city for bars depends on individual tastes and preferences. However, several cities in the U.S. are renowned for their vibrant and diverse bar scenes. Here are a few examples:

  • New York City, New York: NYC is known for its world-class bar scene, with countless bars offering everything from classic cocktails to craft beers to speakeasy-style hideaways.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: New Orleans is famous for its jazz clubs and cocktail culture, with historic bars and taverns like Pat O’Brien’s and Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar attracting visitors from all over the world.
  • Portland, Oregon: Portland is known for its craft breweries, with a wide variety of bars and pubs offering locally brewed beers and ciders.
  • San Francisco, California: San Francisco has a long history of innovative cocktail culture, with iconic bars like the Tonga Room and the Buena Vista Cafe attracting locals and tourists alike.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Chicago has a diverse bar scene, with everything from dive bars to high-end cocktail lounges, as well as a thriving craft beer industry.

What is the most photographed bar in the United States?

The most photographed bar in the United States is likely the “Cheers” bar in Boston, Massachusetts. The bar, which was originally named the Bull & Finch Pub, became famous as the inspiration for the hit television show “Cheers” that aired from 1982 to 1993. The exterior of the bar, with its iconic sign reading “Cheers,” has been photographed countless times by visitors from all over the world. Today, the bar continues to attract tourists and fans of the show, with many taking photos outside the famous establishment.

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