For tourists and locals alike, Jimmy Yeager’s eponymous restaurant and bar has been one of the must-eat and must-drink places in Aspen for the past 20 years. Yeager is renowned for his expertise on agave spirits, yet his ace bar staff will make you a world-class cocktail out of any spirit under the sun. The vibe is somewhere between spiffy and ski-town, with live music, dancing and a spacious patio for warm-weather revelry. It’s also home to Mini Jimmy’s, a closet-sized speakeasy that just has room for three patrons and a bartender.
This downtown LA bar boasts one of the largest collections of rare and high-end brown liquor in the country. Opened in 2007, and modeled after an old hunting lodge, Seven Grand helped usher in a new golden age of cocktails in Southern California. It’s dimly lit and muscular, evocative of the places frequented by tough guys in Dashiell Hammett novels. There are pool tables, of course. And a small speakeasy in the back called Jackalope, with its own insane array of Scotch, bourbons and ryes, and Japanese whiskies. Best of all, if you join their “Whiskey Society” club (free), you’re invited to their once-a-month whiskey tastings.
There’s an argument to be made that the tequila craze that swept the U.S. over the last 20 years all started out of Tommy’s in San Francisco, an unassuming little place with a massive reputation. Tommy’s has been doing it better than anyone since the early 1970s. “The legend has it that they have giant warehouses somewhere filled with rare and hard to find tequilas,” says Erick Castro, director of the documentary Bartender at Large. “Seeing how freely they pour out-of-production tequilas and mezcals, I can’t help but think the the rumors are true.” Besides the hundreds of bottles of tequila, Tommy’s also serves damn good Mexican food. Washed down with the best margaritas in America.