NEW YORK CITY
Justin Elliott, director of hospitality, The Townsend (address and info)
"NYC has always been and will always be the greatest drinking city in the world -- and it's not just as a part of some kind of contemporary, cocktological renaissance-inspired pilgrimage, but because every single neighborhood in NYC still deeply cherishes the 'local' in ways that nearly every other city has either abandoned or never ever learned to love. I learned to drink in New York; I learned to tend bar there, at Dominie's Hoek, a neighborhood spot in Long Island City, Queens. I didn't learn much about cocktails, but after nearly a decade there, I learned about community and the essential role of the bar and bartender in that community.
"Sure, go to New York and pay your respects to Employees Only and Death & Co. and chart the great Sasha Petraske's family tree. This is mandatory. But find the time to explore the different neighborhoods through the eyes of the local bar and the denizens therein, as well."
Max Seaman, manager, The Varnish (address and info)
Los Angeles, CA
"NYC... as long as someone else is paying. There are cocktail bars on every corner, fabulous wine programs at every restaurant, and late nights."
Ezra Star, general manager, Drink (address and info)
"My favorite city to drink in the US is still New York. The community there is very welcoming and always seems to be growing. There is always a new bar with someone trying to make something cool and unique. After New York, I’d have to say Paris; the drinking scene is very informal and has become more integrated into everyday culture."