A cocktail bar by any other name wouldn't be as sweet. Or maybe that's vermouth? Either way, strong cocktail bar names are often:
Based on literature!
From Sons & Lovers to Franny & Zooey, semi-obscure 20th-century fiction is fertile ground. As with any good liberal arts anthropology seminar, actually having read the books before referencing them is encouraged, but not required.
Old-timey slang is in -- think Bee's Knees, On The Lam, Heebie-Jeebies. Anachronism makes the Aperol spritz taste better, as they said. (Seriously: they said this, probably.)
styled by ee cummings
The right bar name is only as good as the irrational branding that goes with it. Lowercase typewriter font, ampersands, and dates-of-establishment are critical for authentic flair. If there's a logo, it'll be either a a crest, an anchor, crossed arrows, or a crest made out of anchors crossed with arrows. Y'know, for authenticity.
If all the good Salinger books are taken, and Thesaurus.com queries for "speakeasy" are coming up short, a cocktailery may be named after a nearby intersection. This is especially clutch in gentrification-ripe areas, where the right name can capitalize on the neighborhood's gritty rep. "barrow & boulevard", anyone?
The vibe If you sip a Sazerac without an ancient tube TV silently looping Chinatown in the corner, does it exist? The answer is no, Jack. The most important thing about any cocktail bar worth its mesquite-infused celery salt is what it looks like. Well, and the cocktails, usually.
This handy interactive map breaks down all the critical elements of a cocktail bar's interior: