The Best Liquor Stores in America, According to Bartenders

A solid liquor store can be difficult to find. While it’s typically easy to find a spot that offers the basics, when we discover a gem that goes above and beyond with smaller batch or hard to find spirits, we’re customers for life. To add more to the list, we asked bartenders to point us in the direction of their favorite liquor stores. Take it from the pros the next time you need to stock your bar cart.

New York, New York
"My choice is a pretty easy one, but to me, it's what's best in New York City in terms of choice and quality: Astor Wines & Spirits. They have an amazing selection of alcohol from all over the world and their program is unique. The great thing about this place is the knowledge of the people working there. It's absolutely stunning! I love to go there for inspiration and finding new spirits, liqueur and amaro. And if I'm cooking dinner at home, I'll pick up some cool and obscure wine that I can’t find anywhere else." - Maxime Belfand, Saxon + Parole

Austin, Texas
“If you ever find yourself in Austin, you have to go to The Austin Shaker. It’s a liquor store for bartenders, by bartenders. The owners, David and Kiki, were in the bar industry before they decided to take a leap into opening their store. They are, at their core, booze nerds and will chat you up about anything they have in the store they are geeking out over. The store has the best selections of spirits, bitters, wine and beer along with bar tools and vintage glassware, but most importantly it’s got soul. You can easily spend over an hour at this store not just checking out bottles, but chatting and getting to know the staff. You’re going to leave with a killer bottle of mezcal and the sense that you just had a good chat with a friend. And that’s what Austin hospitality is all about.” - Amanda Carto, Nickel City

New York, New York
"Ambassador Wines & Spirits is the last great liquor store in NYC. It has the best selection of wine and spirits and to me, it's the one place you can still go to find something unique you’ve never seen or enjoyed before." - John Bush, Three Kings Restaurant Group

Washington D.C.
“My favorite liquor store is Schneider’s of Capitol Hill. It’s a neighborhood liquor store that has also managed to become a destination. They carry a large amount of bitters and seem to have turned themselves into the liquor store with a bartender's needs in mind. They carry many hand-crafted and small batch spirits and craft beers, and the staff is well-versed in the products. Should you go there and not find what you’re looking for, they will gladly order it for you. An all around great place!” - Frankie Jones, Occidental Grill & Seafood

Multiple Locations
“My favorite liquor store is your local independent liquor store. You can build a great relationship with your local liquor store that you can't with the big box stores. However, if it's sheer variety that you're looking for, you can't do any better than Total Wine. They have something like 13,000 different choices in every store—it's ridiculous! Not only do they offer all of that, they actually teach really good classes on wines and cocktails.” - William Frost, Blue Harbour

Multiple Locations, LA
“One of my favorite liquor stores is Martin Wine Cellar in New Orleans. I used to go to their Metairie location all the time before I moved to Portland. They have everything you need for a great party, from a huge wine and spirit collection to a wonderful deli and catering department, and fun gifts! I also used to buy a ton of wine crates from them for art projects and shelving. The staff was very knowledgeable and friendly. I love a one stop shop, and this spot definitely fit the bill.” - Sierra Kirk, Hale Pele

Chicago, IL
"Warehouse Liquors in the Loop is a fantastic resource for anyone looking for specialty bottles. The staff is crazy knowledgeable and very kind and will help you find what you're looking for with ease. They get most of the specialty bottlings and limited releases, but always have a great selection of standbys within reasonable price points.” - Jacyara de Oliveira, El Che Bar and La Sirena Clandestina

Chicago, IL
“By far my favorite liquor store in Chicago is Perman Wine Selections in Old Town. Though many people assume Perman’s only carries wine, they have one of the most interesting spirit selections in the city. They have a thoughtful, diverse selection of small, artisan producers making everything from mezcal to vermouth—making it essentially the opposite of your local Binny’s or big brand shop. I often get things there that I have trouble finding anywhere else in the city, including sake and cider. As an added bonus, their customer service is incredible. The employees are down to earth, super knowledgeable and focused on getting you exactly what you want, not just selling you something pricey.” - Annie Beebe-Tron, The Ladies’ Room

Chicago, IL
“Moreno's Liquors on Chicago's South Side is a hidden gem. They have one of the most impressive selections of agave spirits that you'll find east of the Mississippi.” - Billy Helmkamp, The Whistler