The Best Whiskey Bar in Every State

best whsieky bars
Bar Leather Apron | John Hook
Bar Leather Apron | John Hook

It takes more than a massive selection of bottles and a few library ladders to make a great whiskey bar. A place could stock thousands of bottles and serve them on a blown-glass bar made of repurposed Pappy bottles and still falter if the service is bad, the food's an afterthought, or the overall character makes you want to drink for all the wrong reasons.

The bars that comprise this list are as varied as the expressions of whiskeys they serve. Some feature futuristic cocktails made using space-age equipment. Some are off-the-beaten-path neighborhood joints that have endured decades by virtue of stiff pours and careful curation. You'll find crystal droppers and slain Old West icons amid bottle lists ranging from double to quadruple digits. Some fancy. Some delightfully divey. But each representing best place for whiskey in their home states.

Steve Babin



Is it a cigar shop or a whiskey bar? Well, thank heavens those two things don't have to be mutually exclusive, because Huntsville's art deco-ified ode to smokes and brown liquor is serving up plenty of both. The bartenders come up with a weekly pairing of cigars and whiskey, which the owner says happens to enhance both indulgences. But there's no need to love stogies to enjoy a glass, since you can always drink a dram in the smoke-free bar area. And while you might expect a watering hole in the south to focus more on bourbon than Scotch, that's not how SIP rolls (yep, that's a cigar pun). Be sure to order from one of the best Scotch collections in the state, with selections ranging from a Highland Park Ice Edition to a Balvenie 30-year. Drinking a whiskey from another era in a building from the '20s where big band tunes still play, it's likely you won't think of SIP as a cigar shop or a whiskey bar, but a gosh dang time machine. -- Lee Breslouer

Fiori D'Italia


Inside an overwhelmingly brown building in Anchorage, you'll find the most bottles of brown liquor in the state. Inside an Italian restaurant, even! Ylli Ferati is the man behind the bar, and his obsession with whiskeys have benefited everyone who's sat down in front of him. (If you're not currently in The Last Frontier, vicariously enjoy his whiskey collection via his droolworthy Instagram.) Ferati's a regular attendee of the yearly Universal Whiskey Experience fest, and he'll be happy to chat about what he's learned while sipping drams of Scotland's finest exports, from an Ardbeg 10 to a rare Dalmore 25. He's not the only one waxing poetic and educating whiskey lovers at Fiori D'Italia; the restaurant hosts plenty of tastings with special guests you might be surprised made the trip to the far-off state -- recent boozy cheerleaders include Master Distiller Richard Paterson and Dr. Tom Turner, the Diageo Master of Whiskey. -- LB

The Gladly


With all due respect to the donut and whiskey-focused paradise in Tucson, Phoenix's The Gladly is still where we want to sip a dram in Arizona. The moody, '40s-college-library vibe is nowhere to be found here; it's got a buzzy, big city vibe... and 250+ bottles of the brown stuff. Feel equally comfortable here ordering a bourbon, rye, or Scotch cocktail with a perfectly clear ice ball, a whiskey flight, or a dram of harder-to-find booze from Cadenhead or Stronachie. If you really want to dive into Scotland's greatest export, they'll let you sample a vertical of vintage Scotch from distilleries like Bruichladdich. Because all that booze will make anyone hungry, take advantage of the restaurant side of the establishment, which offers options like duck meatloaf and a charcuterie board to keep you satiated. -- LB

Scotch & Soda


The original Scotch & Soda location is in Springfield, Missouri, about a two-hour drive northeast of this location in Bentonville. And normally a second location of a whiskey bar doesn't warrant inclusion in one of our best-of lists. But then again, we're talking about Arkansas' largest whiskey bar here, with over 300 bottles. A few years ago, Bentonville (home to Walmart HQ) was a dry country. Now? It's wetter than a water park in Seattle. You'll find a brick-walled, dimly lit joint sporting a whiskey library with 150+ fine Scotches, 100+ bourbons, and rye, Irish whiskey, and international selections. For those lucky enough to visit Bentonville with an expense account, there's plenty to blow your company's money on, including rare pours like Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, Parker's Heritage, E.H. Taylor Four Grain, and single barrels from Eagle Rare and Four Roses. And unlike its Missouri counterpart, a full kitchen whips up inspired eats, like a Scotch & Soda queso paired with chips that've been rinsed with Laphroaig. -- LB

Seven Grand


Los Angeles
With its glowing hunting lodge aesthetic complete with mounted deer heads, Seven Grand is where we like to imagine Teddy Roosevelt would have drank if he ditched the Bull Moose act, moved west, and got fancy. This is a place that takes its brown water very, very seriously, going as far as to as to list its globe-spanning list of whiskeys into a 44-page "whiskey bible," where Scotland and Kentucky dominate, but distillers from Wales, Taiwan, Mexico, and India are also represented. It caters to nerds, but not exclusively, thanks in large part to an insanely helpful roster of well-versed and non-condescending bartenders, who won't judge you for ordering a beer rather than join the Whiskey Society. Plus, for the true believers, the place also includes a back bar called Jackalope, which seems like a Dave Coulier tribute bar, but in fact is a temple to fine Japanese whisky. -- Andy Kryza

Finn's Manor
Finn's Manor

Finn's Manor


Surrounded by colorful slat fencing and home to a rotating array of food trucks, this sprawling combination of outdoor beer garden and art-filled cocktail den might be RiNo's most original bar to date. And rest assured that its ever-expanding whiskey program, helmed by beverage director and seasoned whiskey pro Robert Sickler, mirrors the space's curious design in both creativity and size. The list covers all the bases, pitting celebrated American outfits like Denver's own Stranahan's and Kentucky legends Willett against tawny imports from Scotland, Japan, Ireland, Canada, and even France. What's more, pours are shockingly affordable, events are plenty, and there's lots of libations -- namely rum-based cocktails and excellent craft beer -- for the whiskey adverse. -- Meredith Heil



West Hartford
Droppers and crystal glassware are great and all, but McLadden's proves that a humble gastropub, too, can double as one of the nation's best whiskey bars. On the surface, this West Hartford spot appears to be a great beer bar, which it is thanks to 80 tap handles perfect for pairing with stellar fish & chips and gourmet burgers. But McLadden's really rises above thanks to its immense whiskey list, with a focus on American brands like small-batch pours from Booker's and more coveted bottles of Pappy and Jefferson's Presidential Select, plus a full roster of Scotch that serves as a virtual tour of the Highlands, sans the haggis. So yeah, it's a great whiskey bar. And a great beer bar. That's the kind of split personality we can really get behind. -- AK

Cooter Brown's Twisted Southern Kitchen


Rehoboth Beach
Don't let the hokey backwoods decor fool you -- there's nothing funny about about this Rehoboth Beach newcomer's ample spirits selection. While it's not quite as extensive as some of the other spots, it's definitely your best bet for a quality dram should you find yourself passing through the Blue Hen State. The list leans heavily toward American distilleries, listing off Kentucky standards (Maker's, Beam, Wild Turkey) alongside offerings from a few craft outposts like Virginia's Reservoir and South Carolina's Six & Twenty to complement the Southern fried cuisine. Scotch fiends will find a handful of solid blends and single malts and a couple of Japanese and Canadian expressions round it all out. No matter the style, however, the majority of the pours fall into the $8 to $12 range. No wonder twisted's in the name... -- MH

Apothecary 330


Fort Lauderdale
In a state who's about as good at subtlety as it is at vote tabulation, our version of a "hidden" speakeasy comes complete with live music, open front doors, and an attached pizzeria. But if you want to pretend you're finding some hidden gem, head to the back of Himmarshee Village's PizzaCraft, slide the big wall covered in cheese ads, and you'll find yourself in Florida's best whiskey bar. Here they've got over 150 varieties of whiskey from America, Scotland, Japan, and any other nation that makes the stuff, along with an ever-changing menu of cocktails and homemade absinthe. Because Floridians occasionally need a lesson in decorum, it also has clearly posted house rules like "no bombs, Grey Goose, of Fireball of any kind." Not to disparage the inexperienced drinkers libations of choice, but if you're going to go to all the trouble of finding the place, drink something you can't find elsewhere. -- Matt Meltzer

White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails


White Oak isn't just a smooth sounding name for this ATL-based bar/restaurant: there's also an enormous floating white oak barrel above its barrel bar. Because it's not only important which whiskey you're drinking (there are 120+ bottles of primarily bourbon and single malts), it's where you're drinking it. Wood is a major design element, with ghost wood walls from a textile factory, and sugar maple from the Jack Daniel's distillery repurposed into beautiful chandeliers. Cocktail highlights include the Blackberry Sage Old Fashioned with Chattanooga 1816 Reserve and sage from their garden. But if you go, you'll definitely want to save room for food -- especially if they're hosting a dinner featuring Pappy pours (which they do sometimes!). They're also always experimenting with whiskey-tinged food, like the smoked rack of lamb with a Kentucky bourbon and teriyaki glaze. The dish was intended as a one-off for an event, but come on. Like they're going to pass on featuring a dish Kentucky-yaki. -- LB

John Hook

Bar Leather Apron


This swank whiskey palace might only be a few miles from touristy Waikiki, but in reality, it's worlds away. There's no beach theme -- just a bar enrobed in leather and dark woods that feels simultaneously brand new and lived-in. Oh, and they've amassed over 600 whiskeys. That's not too shabby, either. Park your whiskey-loving keister in one of 26 seats -- there's no standing allowed here, so it helps to make a reservation to enjoy a cocktail. You'd be silly to not enjoy a Japan Old Fashioned, crafted with an umami-infused (the secret ingredient is shiitake mushrooms!) Hakushu 12-year, Angostura bitters, and maple. While the whiskey selection isn't focused on Japanese spirits, the bar was inspired by the owner's bar hopping in Japan, so it's fitting that there's plenty of booze from that part of the world, including all the offerings from Nikka and Suntory. -- LB

Whiskey Bar


A modern take on the rustic, old-school whiskey saloon, Whiskey Bar is dotted with rockstar portraiture and taxidermy in equal measure, giving off the kind of old-timey vibes you'd expect from Idaho along with the modernist twists that are quickly transforming Boise into the state's answer to Portland. The illuminated bar with overhead chandelier houses the state's best selection of whiskey, a virtual spirits library running the gamut from Four Roses and Whistlepig all the way through the Highlands, with sips from India, Ireland, and Japan rounding out a global roster. Perhaps most striking, most spirits clock in at under $10 -- a steal considering that's nearly the cost of a craft beer in many metropolises -- including the whiskey cocktails, among them a spot-on sour with optional egg whites. It's a whiskey bar at its most relaxed, and a rare case where indulging in a high-end spirit won't crush your bank account. -- AK

Longman & Eagle


Just because a place gets a Michelin nod doesn't mean it loses its cool. Case in point? This beloved Logan Square corner bar and restaurant where eye-pleasing hipster aesthetics (read: whitewashed brick, exposed beams, vintage bar stools, slate grey walls, framed geometric art) meet a whiskey program that'll knock your waxed mustache off. The food is amazing, of course, but we're here to talk booze, which means over 400 labels of the good stuff. Flights are a favorite here, with educational lineups like It's All About the Barrel (Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash No. 1, Benchmark Bourbon, Eagle Rare Single Barrel L&E) that lets noobs get a peek of the same whiskey at three different age points and Van Winkle, That's Who, which gets you three Pappy pours (15-, 20-, and 23-year, respectively) for a single Benjamin. There's also a bevy of hand-selected barrels bottled exclusively for L&E to make you feel special. And while the list leans toward American expressions, there's also a fair showing from our friends in Japan, Scotland, Ireland, and the Great White North. -- MH

Union 50


Union 50 has become one of Indy's most beloved destinations for fans of brown liquor (and pretty much anything else) since opening in 2014. Sure, the Old Fashioned is on point and the whiskey list is lengthy, but that's hardly the end of the story. You can pair your WhistlePig flight with a side of live music most nights, and on ALL nights you'll find an impressive lineup of chef-driven bar bites like roasted bone marrow with tomato bacon jam and fried garbanzos, chilaquiles-style poutine with guajillo pulled pork, and kimchi meatloaf with Thai ketchup and apple yuzu jam. There's a reason (actually several) it tends to fill up on weekends -- make your arrangements so you can fill up on the aforementioned poutine. -- Matt Lynch

Triple Crown Whiskey Bar & Raccoon Motel


Despite only having opened in 2017, Triple Crown manages to feel like a place like your grandpa definitely would have hung out, at least for those of us with grandpas with an abiding appreciation for quality whiskeys and loud music. The interior is comfortably divey without trying too hard, and the vinyl they play when there's no live music going down feels more like a natural extension of the atmosphere than some kind of hipster showiness. You could spend a while admiring the fine bottles on display on the backlit bar here, or you could just ask for a well drink since it's $1 off and it's happy hour. It's the kind of place where you feel equally comfortable on either track, which is tough to pull off. -- ML

the monarch
The Monarch

The Monarch


Monarch's bourbon-heavy whiskey selection runs impressively deep -- it's not uncommon to find an establishment with distinct sections for rye and Irish whiskey, but when Taiwan, France, and India are also represented, you know they're serious about sourcing their spirits. Their lineup of "allocated and elusive" bottles including the ones that rhyme with slappy hammer this point home. Combine the spirit of your choice with a half of rack of six-hour-smoked spare ribs and some loaded sweet potato tots and you have yourself a meal fit for a -- well, you can figure out the rest. -- ML

Proof on Main


The 21c Museum Hotel family -- that network of modern art gallery/slick boutique hotel/award-winning restaurant hybrids currently infiltrating the country's coolest up-and-coming cities -- got its humble start right here in bourbon country. And, as luck would have it, its onsite whiskey bar boasts a list just as soul-crushingly beautiful as the Kehinde Wiley next door. Alongside top-shelf craft cocktails and local drafts, you'll find Kentucky-centric flights like the Bottled in Bond (Old Grandad BIB, Henry McKenna 10-year Single Barrel BIB, and Old Forester 1897 BIB) as well as pages upon pages bourbons, ryes, and Scotches, with a few Irish and Japanese expressions thrown in for good measure. Whiskey nerds should make a beeline for the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, which highlights selections like Eagle Rare 17 year, William LaRue Weller, and Sazerac 18-year rye, based on availability. -- MH

Barrel Proof


New Orleans
Tucked inconspicuously in a Lower Garden District house laden with sheet metal, Barrel Proof is a modernist take on the whiskey bar in a city that has brown liquor flowing through its veins. So how does it rise above the myriad other drinkeries vying for control of your liver in New Orleans? There are 288 reasons stacked up on the shelves, with a strong focus on the wares of Kentucky featuring basically the full portfolios of bourbon and rye from the likes of Woodford, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Jim Beam, and Buffalo Trace. Scotland, Ireland, and Japan too make appearances, but make no mistake, NOLA is bourbon country, and with one of the best-curated lists outside of Kentucky, you can spend days in Barrel Proof without realizing there is no bluegrass whatsoever outside. -- AK



So yes, your mileage may vary on Bramhall's self-proclaimed "modern speakeasy" concept depending on how closely you track and tire of nightlife trends, but there's no denying the vault-like, brick-laden hideaway is the kind of space that makes you want to imbibe. Dive into their deep bourbon selection, or let them make you a cocktail like the Kiss Me Deadly with Rebel Yell, Averna, Cappelletti, and cardamom bitters. A better move: Let them make you the cocktail, but ALSO let them make you a Frito pie. Prohibition-era speakeasies did not have Frito pies. Thus, ours are better. -- ML

Birds of a Feather


The bars in this article typically stock more bourbons than you have fingers on one hand. But this Fells Point dive has been around for 20 years, and we're including them regardless, in large part thanks to its 90+ bottles of Scotch and its inability to care about any other type of whiskey. To select one, consult a laminated Flavor Map handout, which will clue you in to which whiskeys are light, rich, delicate, smokey, and in which drams those flavors overlap the most. (You can have a fun night trying to taste your way through all the rich, delicate Glenlivet vintages, from 15, 18, 21, and 25.) If it's something more peaty you crave, sit next to the fireplace on a comfy chair that charmingly doesn't match with anything else in the room, and enjoy Islay's liquid gold, including a Bruichladdich Peat or a Caol Ila 12. -- LB

the last hurrah
Omni Hotels & Resorts

The Last Hurrah


Located in the venerable Parker House Hotel (as in, the place where the damn Boston Cream Pie was invented), The Last Hurrah is their equally venerable whiskey bar, a place feels every bit as much a mini Boston museum as it does a place to knock back a drink or two. Of course, if you decide to add some drinks in the mix as you're staring at a portrait of some politician whose significance you cannot recall, you'll find yourself met with a deep selection of spirits and barkeeps who are happy to help you navigate it whether you're in the mood to nerd out or a novice in the need of a little hand holding. Get yourself a Harvey Parker (Jameson, vermouth, orange bitters) and sink into the plush leather furniture like the damn robber baron you 100% are not. -- ML

Butter Run Saloon


St. Clair Shores
The Detroit suburb of St. Clair shores hides many secrets, among them one of the best 24-hour diner sliders in the world at Travis. But for whiskey heads, a trip to Butter Run Saloon is an essential, likely overinflated cab ride worth taking (safety first!). With more than 890 bottles on display, Butter Run -- named after a family tradition of running out to "get butter" (aka sneaking out for a drink, but coming home with dairy for good measure) has most Michigan whiskey bars beat by about 500 options, among them exclusive Angel's Envy blends from 2013-2015 and a wide portfolio of world-class distilleries from all over the world, all organized with extensive tasting notes. Throw in a massive food menu that includes everything from escargot to PB&J and you probably won't want to hitch a ride to Travis after. But you probably should. Sliders are a great chaser for whiskey. -- AK

Marvel Bar


To be fair, the purple door that conceals the entrance to this Minneapolis speakeasy represents the entrance to one of the state's best bars of ANY type, but hey, why hold the fact that they also happen to have a unique and varied whiskey selection against them? Of course, if you stick to sipping something neat you'd be doing yourself quite the disservice and missing out on truly unique feats of mixology like the Old Man and the Sea, which pairs Laphroaig 10 with distilled water and nori (get it?). And if you need a place that will lend a sympathetic ear to your rambling thoughts on the shortcomings of Logan, please be warned it isn't that kind of Marvel Bar. -- ML

The Manship


The wood grill that pops out pizzas, fish, and meats in this welcome addition to Jackson's oft-overlooked culinary scene provides a lot of warmth to this neo-rustic neighborhood destination, but it's the nine-page whiskey encyclopedia that warms the belly. Bottles are pulled from the towering back bar via ladder, and include a veritable list of the who's who of the whiskey world, from Jim to Jack and Johnny and every unpronounceable Scotch brand available. But the place also has a commitment to smaller-batch distillers from throughout the US, with Alabama's Clyde May, Indiana's Redemption, and Ohio's Tom Foolery holding court alongside Pappy and George Dickel. It's not just Mississippi's most sprawling collection of whiskey (and wine): it's also a veritable tour of America's ever-growing craft-distillery industry. -- AK

Gamlin Whiskey House


St. Louis
If you like whiskey, you'll find plenty to enjoy at Gamlin: 300+ bottles, single barrels from distilleries around the country (Knob Creek is a popular choice), and cocktails featuring flavored ice that manages to improve what you're sipping as they melt. Why yes, Jim Beam rye with ginger ale and honey-laced ice is a swell idea. But if you love whiskey, Gamlin is a really, really fun place to be. The wood-paneled bar offers a view of row after row of beautiful bottles, and you can pair a dram with plates like the braised and bonded short rib slathered in an Old Grand Dad bourbon glaze. Before you leave, join their Missouri Whiskey Society -- its monthly meetings include free bottles of the good stuff (if you pony up for an Ambassador Membership), along with tastings and invites to an annual Kentucky Bourbon Trail tour. -- LB

Copper Whiskey Bar
Copper Whiskey Bar

Copper Whiskey Bar


Whiskey is as part of Montana's cowboy image as big hunks of meat and the sprawling night sky, but amid the saloons and watering holes there's a serious dearth of ultra-stocked whiskey bars. Copper more than fills that need with a carefully selected array of the brown stuff, which includes a huge showing from Scotland, Kentucky, Canada, Ireland, and Japan, but also a full roster of Montana-distilled wares including Big Fork's Whistling Andy, Willie's from Ennis, and a full selection from Bozeman's own Roughstock, among them the fantastic black label, a sweet-corn version, and a rye with the kind of spurs usually reserved for the trials. Pair them with a big-ass hunk of meat -- the place does steak and BBQ frontier justice! -- and sidle up to the bar. This is Montana in rustic luxury mode. -- AK



Proof recently emerged at the forefront of Omaha's craft-cocktail scene, thanks in large part to its showy concoctions, one of which involves smoking a glass via a blow-torched wood round. It's quite a show. But when there's a library ladder on site, well, you should make the bartender use it. And in this speakeasy-style, brick-laden destination, the sprawling whiskey selection is a solid reason to make a mixologist get vertical for a pour. The menu details about 300 bottles, including three pages dedicated to single-malt Scotch, plus American offerings both standard and unexpected, with a small selection of continent-spanning offerings like Bain's from South Africa, a smattering from India's Paul John's, and France's Bastille. So yeah, the cocktails are inventive and delicious. But even if the sole mixer on offer was an ice cube, Proof would still be a standout. -- AK

Whisky Attic


Las Vegas
There are tons of well-stocked whiskey bars in Vegas -- one of which seriously challenges your ability to resist screaming "BAM!" after each sip -- but one of the most singular whiskey experiences in the nation comes courtesy of Whisky Attic. You'll need to book an appointment at this small, immaculately stocked tasting room off the strip. And you'll have to drop a pretty penny for the experience of sitting at a long table in a small room lined floor-to-ceiling with the good stuff. But do so and you'll get a straight-up education in whiskey courtesy of a UNLV professor who will literally school you in what you're drinking. Sure, you might forget it, but with curated experiences like "Bourbon of Lore," "Zen of Japan," and "Gems of the Emerald Isles" on the syllabus, you'll have the chance to up your whiskey game while also sipping on some of the absolute finest (and often hardest-to-find) spirits on the planet. This is a class you definitely won't want to sleep to... but will probably need a nap after. -- AK


New Hampshire

Full disclosure: DeaconStreet is not located on Deacon Street. With that out of the way, it IS your go-to in New Hampshire for a comfortable place to nurse a nice pour of Blanton's and take your time with a reasonably priced steak while listening to some live Irish music on a Friday night. You won't find too many deep cuts here but there are enough standout bourbons, Scotches, and ryes to keep you busy. There's also a massive dessert called the "Chocolate Bag" that demands the attention of at least two people and will make you happy that bourbon and chocolate pair so nicely together. -- ML

The Iron Room

New Jersey

Atlantic City
With its history of bootlegging and legacy of increasingly boring prestige dramas based on illegal boozing, it would just stand to reason that New Jersey's pick would be in AC. What's more surprising, though, is that the best whiskey bar is one that has only existed since 2013. But such is the Iron Room, a neo-speakeasy in the nation's speakeasy capitol. Hovering around 300, the menu isn't the most extensive one on this list, but that's by design. "We don't carry stuff just to carry stuff," owner Mark Callazzo told New Jersey Monthly when it named the spot the city's best whiskey bar. That discerning selection is a murderer's row of the best Scotch, bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, moonshines, and white dog that are very likely much better than the stuff Nucky Thompson was selling, all served up in a no-frills space that ditches stuffiness for comfort. -- AK

Two Fools Tavern

New Mexico

Like many Irish pubs, Two Fools has the standard Guinness on tap, delicious portions of fish & chips, and a moody, dark wood-filled space perfect for spending a winter's day. But not many Irish pubs carry 240+ whiskeys (100+ are single-malt Scotches), which includes plenty of one-of-a-kind bottles not found anywhere else in New Mexico. Among them: Dalmore 25-year, Wild Turkey Master's Keep Decades, Pappy (10, 12, and 20), and of course, all the Irish whiskey they can get their hands on (hello, Green Spot!). Any smartypants whiskey lover who likes trying new booze will enjoy the open flight program where you can sample any three whiskeys on the shelf (they'll simply charge you the average price of all the selections). Though of course if you just want to kick back with a cocktail, you can't go wrong with a Fools Redemption: Redemption Rye, Cointreau, Benedictine, and mescal aged for two months in-house in a whiskey barrel. Yeah, we can't believe we wrote a whole review of a place in Albuquerque and didn't make a Breaking Bad reference either. -- LB

The Flatiron Room
The Flatiron Room

Flatiron Room

New York

New York City
Here's the thing about naming the best whiskey bar in a city of professional drinkers: You just have to pick one. And, as anybody worth their weight in barley will assure you, the inimitable Flatiron Room has everything it takes to rise above the rest. We're talking 500+ whiskeys, including some of the rarest NYC's ever seen, crowding every available surface throughout the golden-hued, leather-clad joint, a full-blown whiskey school offering all sorts of boozy classes, personal bottle service through their Bottle Keep program, and regular live music on stage to set the tone. Add that to the fact that they employ a fleet of highly educated "whiskey guides" to help you dig up the Yamazaki, Dalwhinnie, or Pine Barrens expression of your dreams, and you've got yourself one hell of an evening out. -- MH

Whiskey Kitchen

North Carolina

With its open floor plan, communal ceiling, brick walls, garage-style doors, and exposed vents, Whiskey Kitchen looks, at first glance, like a standard craft beer bar. That is, until the whiskey rolls out, served up in classic, lidded glassware with fancy droppers. The usual suspects are here (as are southern comfort foods like boiled peanuts, cracklin' biscuits, and BBQ), but it's the more unexpected flourishes that really make this place shine, including a stacked menu of whiskeys with alternative grains bills such as High West's bourbon/rye/scotch blend and Buffalo Trace's white dog. For an even deeper dive, the Heirloom Collection offers up an ultra-rare selection of whiskeys soon to disappear from the earth, among them a 1972 bottle of Old Kentucky Tavern and a bottle of Wild Turkey whose "7-year" designation is total bullshit, given it's from 1984. Those are expensive. Luckily, this place also caters to the budget connoisseurs with $10 flights on Wednesday. You won't get the coveted 1977 Old Weller in that one, but you likely won't care given the wide array of other options that hit the table. -- AK


North Dakota

Look, we're not saying that we picked Twist as North Dakota's pick simply because it bucks cowboy tradition by offering a weekly Bingo night completely devoid of cheapskate octogenarians sipping Fanta. The place has a sprawling list of bourbons, ryes, and Scotch that stands as perhaps the most formidable in the entire state. But the prospect of downing some delicious gnocchi poutine and seafood cannelloni, then spilling a glass of 16-year-old Laphroaig or Nikka Coffey Grain (as your seatmate pounds a glass of Crown Apple in disgust) as you nail your third-straight bingo at a classy Fargo cocktail bar is such a singular experience, all other NoDak comers were immediately rendered void. -- AK

Century Bar


New York and Los Angeles might have their fancy mixologists, their ornate neo-speakeasies, and their house-made habanero-vanilla-creamsicle bitters, but when it comes to whiskey, those city slicker hangouts have nothing on Century Bar. The watering hole has been keeping midwesterners in good spirits since 1942, its handsome cherrywood bar (built in 1862), stained-glass dome lights, and sweet vintage neon marquee harkening back to a time when whiskey was king and the only cosmos you saw filled the night sky. Here, loyal drinkers bend elbows over stiff pours of Elmer T. Lee single-barrel bourbon, Russell's Reserve rye, or Balvenie Double Wood 12-year while others sip on hearty bourbon-based cocktails. New to the game? Don't sweat it -- there's plenty of events and tastings to help you soak up the knowledge and the friendly, unpretentious staff truly knows their booze. -- MH



Oklahoma City
Stag represents a rebranding of WSKY Lounge, a cigar and whiskey bar which was a longtime favorite of OKC whiskey lovers. They eliminated the smokes a little over a year ago, but they've returned with a lengthy (as in, 350-strong) whiskey selection and a decidedly upscale vibe. And yes, sipping a glass of bourbon at a place called Stag might feel just a LITTLE bit on the nose, but it also feels damn good, especially when you realize just how deep their selection goes. -- ML

Dina Avila

Multnomah Whiskey Library


If whiskey was a religion, this cozy Rose City hideaway would undoubtedly be its holiest temple. Inside these hallowed walls, skilled bartenders prepare Old Fashioneds and Vieux Carrés tableside atop mid-century bar carts while others zoom by Funny Face-style on hulking brass library ladders, taking stock of the 1,800+ bottles lining the brick back wall from floor to ceiling. On the wall opposite the bottles, elegant dark wainscoting gives way to a series of portraits commemorating all the whiskey heroes of yore while a fireplace roars on the room's far side, casting a warm glow over the tufted leather armchairs and deep booths. And to drink? A bible-thick book of diverse options, including hyperlocal jams like House Spirit's Westward 2016 Garryana, Kentucky-bred numbers like Maker's 46, and the requisite Pappy, plus more world-class Scotch that you can shake a haggis at. And if you can't help but overindulge, don't worry: There's many a charcuterie plate on order to soak it all up. -- MH

Village Whiskey


Sometimes you just want a whiskey and a burger. And $1 million in cash and a private plane to whisk you away to somewhere warm. But since the latter is pretty tough to score, you can always plop down in this Philly spot's well-appointed leather banquette and order a Whiskey King -- an 8-ounce burger topped with maple bourbon glazed onions, blue cheese, bacon, and foie gras, of course. The tough part will be figuring out which whiskey to pair with it: You've got 200+ bottles to choose from. The delicious Weller Reserve is available on the inexpensive side of things, but if you feel like treating yoself, there's always Angel's Envy Rye, Glenkinchie's Distiller's Edition aged in sherry casks (!!), and Blanton's Single Barrel goodness. -- LB

The East End

Rhode Island

Part classy bistro, part whiskey library, The East End's custom flights will help you at least partially tackle the hundreds of bottles at the ready; while they have some pours that run as high as $150, they can get you going on a sampler that runs more like a Hamilton and change if that's a little steep for you. It's worth noting that their cocktail game also happens to be on point; try the Trinidad Sour with Rittenhouse rye, Giffard Orgeat, lemon and Angostura. Throw in some raw oysters and what more could you possibly want? The answer is crab biscuits. Luckily, they have crab biscuits. -- ML

Husk Bar

South Carolina

Twist! While a good case could be made for going with one of Charleston's esteemed brood (including the OG Husk, of course), chef Sean Brock's second Carolina baby distinguishes itself from its Southern, fried brethren with a spirits list that knows no bounds. Cocktails are on order, sure, but it's all about the whiskey here, from local small batches from the likes of Six & Twenty and High Wire, to hand-picked imports like Taketsuru and Balvenie Caribbean Cask, and rarities like Van Winkle "Lot B" 12-year. Plus, the mind-bogglingly clear cubes that pop out of Greenville's very first Kold Draft ice machine are almost prettier than the liquid they chill. To boot, the narrow barroom, with its long stretch of Copenhagen granite-topped bar, dim lighting, exposed brick wall, and distinct lack of cocktail tables, feels more old-timey whiskey parlor than chi-chi mixology den. -- MH

The American Whiskey Bar at Saloon #10

South Dakota

Whiskey's place in cowboy culture is legendary, as is Saloon #10's endless appeal to tourists, gamblers, and fans of "The Fuck Show" (as SoDak locals call the HBO drama) who saunter into Deadwood. With 150+ whiskeys at the bar -- from well beyond America, despite the bar's name -- the place offers the state's best selection. But let's be real here: Even if they only offered two unmarked bottles, this place would dominate. There is no other place in the world where you could wander into an old-timey saloon/Wild West recreation museum, sidle up to the poker table, and order up your favorite bourbon while you play cards with somebody dressed up as Wild Bill Hickok… in the bar where he was actually gunned down while playing poker. Macabre? Yes. Touristy? It's basically a historical reenactment society with booze. Maybe a little inaccurate? Well, yeah… after all, the original building burned down more than a century ago, and the Wild Bill "death chair" on display has endured calls of "BS" over the decades. But who cares? This is about as old west as a whiskey bar can get, and it has the spirits (and ghosts) to back it up. -- AK

Gertie's Bar at The 404 Kitchen
Gertie's Bar at The 404 Kitchen

Gertie's Bar at the 404 Kitchen


Nashville's always been a cowboy town, and there's nothing cowboys like more than a good swig of bourbon (aside from a trusty dog and a pretty gal, of course). So it's only fitting that this burgeoning dining mecca lay claim to the state's top whiskey bar, and this one's a doozy at that. Attached to the hipster-approved 404 Hotel, Gertie's is a shitkicker-sporting country bumpkin disguised as a tawny cocktail parlor, complete with a sleek horseshoe bar, textured reclaimed wood walls, velvet armchairs, and, oh yeah, more than 150 different whiskeys, including hard-to-find Kentuckians like Parkers Heritage 24-year, Tennessee originals from Belle Mead and George Dickel, as well as Japanese and Scottish additions. There's even entire sections of the cocktail menu devoted to Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn. Need we say more? -- MH

Reserve 101


At first glance, Reserve 101 is a very serious whiskey-drinkers kinda place -- a spot where a hardcore drinker can drop $365 on a taste of 1957 Glen Grant Scotch. But don't be fooled. Reserve 101 caters to any drinker, from those with deep pockets to seekers of the rare who are also budget conscious (peep the "private selection" for a spread of Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, and Annasach ranging from $7-$35 a pour). And lest you think the upscale saloon is stodgy, keep in mind that they also offer a Scotch cocktail that's loaded with milk and Cap'n Crunch, making for a highbrow/lowbrow experience for any tax bracket. -- AK

Whiskey Street


Salt Lake City
Little known fact: Back in the early-to-mid 1800s, the southern end of SLC's prominent Main Street was bursting so many distilleries, breweries, grog shops, and raucous barrooms that good ol' Brigham Young deemed the stretch Whiskey Street. (The city would of course go on to drain that proverbial swamp before the century's end.) Those days might be gone, but if this handsome little saloon has anything to say about it, they certainly won't be forgotten. A tribute to its boozier predecessors, the narrow, classically styled pub gives off a rustic vibe, furthered by its extensive whiskey collection. American offerings run from Kentucky and Tennessee bigs to small batchers including, as expected, a good showing from Park City's High West. There's also an impressive Scotch section organized by region, Irish expressions by the dozens, as well as specialty concoctions like the belly-warming Golden Plates (Templeton Rye, Fernet, Carpano Antica). Boilermaker fans take note: The insanely massive beer list, which includes a substantial lot of Utah-brewed bottles, is not to be missed. -- MH

Ri Ra Whiskey Room


There are nine Rí Rá Irish pubs around the country, and we had to go and select the one in Burlington as the best whiskey bar? We can see your eyes rolling, but hear us out. Their separate whiskey room is a one-of-a-kind spot. The bar is courtesy of a literal Irish pub from Wicklow that opened in 1905 and closed back in '01; luckily for Vermont, its centerpiece lives on. The bar stocks 300+ whiskey bottles in beautifully lit wooden cabinets, including Scotch, Japanese whiskey, ryes, and plenty of Irish booze. Like plenty of bars, you'll find Jameson and Bushmills, but if you feel like transporting your tastebuds to lesser-known distilleries of the Emerald Isle, there's always pours of single-pot still booze from Redbreast, Powers Signature, and Midleton Barry Crockett. -- LB

McCormack's Big Whisky Grill


There's a reason longtime Richmond bar owner William "Mac" McCormack decided to name his latest (and greatest) venture Big Whisky Grill. Simply put, it's huge. The vaguely Western-themed Regency Square go-to is the proud owner of the state's largest spirit stockpile -- that's 2,300 and growing, if you're wondering -- and you can't go two feet without bumping into a repurposed bourbon barrel. With those numbers, the menu can be a bit intimidating, so that's why Mr. Mac not only organized all his Scotches, bourbons, ryes, and the rest of it by region and style (Speyside Scotch takes up two pages alone), but also added super informative definitions for each category, including some offbeat ones like, "Other malt whiskey producers outside of Scotland imitating scotch" (Hibiki 30-year, anyone?). And even though it weirdly shares space with a shopping mall, this isn't exactly a shot of Beam kind of joint. The fancier stuff can easily reach triple figure territory, with one selection, the coveted The Macallan M, going for a whopping $2,100 a pour. -- MH

Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium
Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium

Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium


One of Seattle's most gorgeously designed drinkeries, Canon takes its booze seriously: It's a bar where cocktails are made in centrifuges, where each piece of wood is (intentionally) stained with Angostura bitters, and where a 94-page-deep boasts the largest selection of American whiskey in the world. So… yeah, this was kind of a no-brainer. But despite all the pomp and circumstance surrounding this Capitol Hill destination -- and a massive and showy cocktail program that includes a truffle Old Fashioned and cocktails served in such crazy vessels as glass pipes and lightbulbs -- the whiskey here speaks for itself. Whether you're getting it by the glass or in a carved-out taxidermied squirrel (that's not real… yet), this is a must-hit for aficionados, not just because of pure volume on offer, but because the experience can veer between comically over-the-top (and delicious) or straightforward based on your particular tastes. -- AK

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Washington DC

Washington DC
Forget "best whiskey bar in DC", Jack Rose is on the short list of the best whiskey bars you'll find anywhere in the world and a bucket list stop for aficionados of all types. The whiskies at the ready number not in the hundreds, but thousands (2,687 at press time), and the knowledge of the staff lives up to such a staggeringly impressive collection. Try a barrel-aged old fashioned with their own house bourbon, or for something really extra special, snag a reservation at their exclusive underground bar Dram & Grain for some next-level cocktail wizardry. Calling the nearly 7,000sqft of imbibing perfection at Jack rose actually feels like something of an undersell. Whiskey temple? Whiskey kingdom? Don't spend too much time fussing over it -- your next drink is a much more critical decision. -- ML


West Virginia

Sip bills itself as a wine and whiskey bar, but hey, you take what you can get in coal country! The whiskey portion of the menu isn't the lengthiest, but it's thoughtfully appointed and should have something to appease just about every flavor of whiskey aficionado, including a variety of reasonably priced flights and a take on a Manhattan given a little extra personality with black walnut bitters and blueberries. Important note, their whiskey (Four Roses single barrel, specifically) also makes its way into the sauce that tops the doughnut bread pudding, something wine and whiskey drinkers can both agree on. -- ML

Cask & Ale


Ah Wisconsin, home to fantastic beer and cheese and bars with 550+ whiskey bottles even though they've only been open for a year and a half. How'd they pull this off? They made multiple trips to the liquor store, we think. But the hard work paid off, because the bar with dark wood, sexy-as-hell mood lighting, and brick walls features a cocktail program with barrel-aged Old Fashioneds using private barrel of Elijah Craig, with barrel-aged Sazeracs likely debuting when it gets warmer than 16. Bourbon, scotch, and Japanese whisky are the focus, with everything from private barrels of Old Weller Antique 107, Highland Park 25-year, and Yamazaki 18-year. If you happen to hit the lottery or learn the world is about to end, don't skip on ordering a dram of Macallan M. It's super rare and the bottle looks like it belongs in an art museum. -- LB



Nine out of 10 St. Bernards will argue that it's whiskey -- not brandy, that's a cliche -- that makes for the perfect apres ski libation, though you wouldn't know it in Jackson's sprawl of chic and not-so-chic bars (we love you, Million Dollar Cowboy Club, but step up those spirits!). So thank god for Local, which complements its upscale homey menu of oh-so-Wyoming comfort food mutations (buffalo short-rib pappardelle, anyone?) with a sprawling whiskey list that reps its home state pride with Wyoming Whiskey, but also includes a massive collection of bourbon, Japanese, and Scottish mainstays. Score some sheep cheese and a '98 Russell's Reserve. It's cold out there, and it's time to warm up in style. -- AK

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Lee Breslouer, Meredith Heil, Andy Kryza, Matt Lynch, and Matt Meltzer contributed to this article.