In many cities and for certain kinds of folks (our kind of folks, really), bar hopping is more than an excuse to drink more: it offers a window into the city's culture itself, serving as something of a wobbly guided tour of neighborhoods while letting you sample local wares, graze on bar food, meet locals, and fully immerse yourself into the scene via dive bars, cocktail joints, dens of sin, adult playgrounds, live music, and everything in between. When you bar crawl, you can do it all. Except, you know, drive.
That last part was pretty crucial in our choices for the best cities for bar crawling, actually. For our purposes, we looked at the overall bar-hopping quality of a city, not just the presence of one or two cool neighborhoods. That's why our beloved Detroit missed the mark: despite the presence of Corktown, Ferndale, and Hamtramck, everything's just too spaced out. Ditto for LA, SF, and, well, pretty much all of big-city California, where you can find a neighborhood spot to hit a few bars, sure, but whose lack of walkability and easy public transit means you're looking at hefty ride-share bills or, even worse, a potential ticket for taking a Bird on the highway. Walkability is huge. Having enough great bars with a wide diversity of experiences is even bigger. And having all those things be citywide qualities rather than oases amid concrete jungles is essential.
With all that in mind and drinks in the able hands of some of our most stalwart writers/imbibers from throughout the country, here are the 10 best cities in America for bar hopping, with recommendations for a quick mini crawl should you need a primer before hitting the streets. -- Andy Kryza