Atlanta’s walkability varies widely, and finding that out after you’ve strolled the downtown sprawl can crash a good bar crawl. (Sorry, didn’t mean for that to rhyme.) Not your problem, you savvy Uber rider! Since you aren’t going to pay any MARTA tolls or hang around sketchy stations too late, here are some of ATL’s best spots to do beverage.
Instead of starting somewhere low-key, kick off at a place where soulful pirates might start their evening -- an efficiently sized hangout put together by OG drink mix-masters Greg Best, Regan Smith and Paul Calvert, who also demonstrated their skills at Holeman & Finch Public House and The Sound Table. The super-boozy house special Ticonderoga Cup hits you with rum, Cognac, sherry, mint, lemon and pineapple, and is served packed with crushed ice, so it’s great to knock off the day’s heat. It’s also got fantastic food; try the icy blue mussels if you just need a snack, or get the grilled lamb porterhouse to strap in for the night ahead.
You may not have expected to enter French and Italian drinking territory at a place called AMER, but that just means you were busy drinking when you should have been studying your foreign language in college. The word “amer” actually means “bitters” in French. (Does that mean they think America is a bitter nation? And are they wrong?) This small, retro cocktail spot will put a 1970s spin on your evening with a menu that does lots with Italian amari, though you can find whatever you like separated into four drink-prep types -- “built,” “sodas,” “stirred,” and “shaken” -- made by local all-star bartenders.
Don’t confuse this with getting a ride to QuikTrip for a bag of Jack Link’s and a tall hipster beer. Air-dried South African beef jerky cuts paired with one or two of the sippers on their amazing, always changing drink menu is culture at its finest (if you miss the summer-capping apple brandy Señor Monsieur try the mai tai; it’s standard and serious). You can even take your drink outside the bar and walk around the Market. After that, step out onto the Atlanta BeltLine when you’re finished for people-watching.
This place takes itself seriously, so you should be ready to step up the booziness while still keeping things weirdly classy downtown in The Dec. Gain stronger perspective via the Honey Badger (bourbon, local honey, serrano peppers, etc.) or a mean Vieux Carré. Or pick from one of the 100+ steeply poured spirits ranging from Canadian whiskey for under $10 to a serving of Rittenhouse 25yr Single Barrel, which is 100° and $90. You can also think “more,” and get three-drink flights of special browns for just about the exact same range.
The SOS Tiki Bar
Decatur is not a tropical paradise, but from Wed through Sat the turn-up feels real beachy, especially to be on a street named Church. If you thought Wu-Tang Clan was only for the children, get on a Ghost Face Kula made with five-year rum and other mad crazy ill shit, son! If you’re carpooling with three or so friends you can get a bevvy to accommodate your combined thirst for $30, or have up to eight friends join you on a $100 punch bowl, which they’ll make with rum, vodka or bourbon. This is what you call a victory. Which serendipitously takes us to...
Victory Sandwich Bar
You’re back in the area where you started, appropriately at a place that had a big role in changing the way Atlanta does neighborhood drinking spots, thanks to their infamous Jack & Coke slushy, spiked soda, and a list of cocktails all under $10 so even the broke people in your group can’t call it an early night. Don’t pass up a can of the beer produced in collaboration with Victory’s beverage director: Wild Heaven’s Emergency Drinking Beer.
It’s also a great place for that final stomach-stuffer you need to insure a productive next day, since they have a gang of unbeatably delicious slider sammies such as the white anchovy and lemon-mayo-slathered Victory at Sea. This is how you end with a win before a safe, reminiscent ride back home.
Sure, you've probably got your old standbys when it comes to picking a destination for a night out in Denver. But in case you haven't noticed, the city's changing fast. So if you're going to have a proper Mile High-style night out, variety is key. From old school classics to new spots overflowing with craft cocktails (and plenty of local craft beer), do yourself a favor and hit up these bars for an ultimate night of revelry.
Punch Bowl Social
Start your night at this supersized spot on Broadway where you can get in a little bowling or a few rounds of video games to kick things off. And while this place is great for extra activities, what you're really here for is the food. That may not always have been the case, but celebrity chef Hugh Acheson recently came on board as culinary partner and has seriously upped the food game here with southern-tinged comfort food classics like pimento cheese and an Alabama-style chicken sandwich with white BBQ sauce.
You could do an entirely respectable bar crawl without ever veering off Colfax, but if there's one essential stop, it's PS Lounge. Dark and filled with a diverse group of patrons on any given night, this place has been a dive bar favorite for decades. And newbies might just score a free shot (plus a rose for the ladies), which is reason enough to stop in (just don't forget to bring some cash -- cards aren't accepted here). You could save this stop for later, but then you risk entering the blurry time warp that seems to engulf the bar here and will spit you out onto Colfax at 2 a.m. with no warning. So get this stop out of the way early to hang on to the stamina you need for the rest of the night.
The Thin Man
Next up, you'll atone for your Colfax sins at this bar that's dotted with images of Jesus and Mary along the Christmas light-adorned space. You never quite know what you'll find when you walk in, and that's what makes it a favorite for nights when you're on a serious fun mission -- a little dose of the unexpected will keep your senses sharp. Order up some infused vodka and spend some time in the fresh air on the back patio before heading out into the night.
Chances are you're feeling pretty up to trying new things by now, so it's the perfect chance to expand your drinking horizons here. RiNo is basically the epicenter of Denver's growth right now, so it's not surprising that that's where you'll find this new haven for artsy decor and Instagram-worthy cocktails. Did someone say artsy? Yup, that's cause this place is run by an artist collective which keeps things inventive and fresh while maintaining a totally retro vibe. Craft cocktails? Check. Local beer? Yup. Seventies rock as the soundtrack to the night? For sure. This is a spot you could get pretty comfy at, but hang on, you've got one last stop to make.
My Brother's Bar
Yeah, this is Denver's oldest still-operating bar. And it was a hangout favored by beat-icons like Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady. But beyond the cool history (and that part is pretty cool), this is also just a damn good bar to head to at the end of any night. Expect no frills here, just solid drinks and a relaxed atmosphere where you can unwind and recount your tales of adventure had all over town. Just try to make it before the kitchen closes (usually around 1 a.m.) so you can order up one of the best burgers in the state. The JCB is a classic burger with a swath of jalapeno cream cheese. Served on wax paper with your own personal condiment bar, all you need to do is pile on the pickles and savor that flavor.
Los Angeles may seem like a sprawling metropolis, but with Uber, you have the city in the palm of your hand. What’s better to have in your palm than a city? Drinks. Lots of drinks. Explore Los Angeles from the hipster Eastside to the heights of Beverly Hills without worrying about who's driving. You'll learn a touch of city history without the unwanted lesson in how much parking sucks in LA.
Golden Road Brewing
This large indoor/outdoor brew pub lets you enjoy California’s finest asset, the amazingly good weather. It looks like a brilliant beer factory that might give Willy Wonka a run for his money, yet the pub itself feels like a nice backyard picnic without the threat of annoying neighbors sponging booze off of you. Take in the sunset and get yourself a beer flight or a brewed-onsite IPA. Plus, they have pretzel macaroni and cheese, a great choice to start your day with the four bar food groups: carbs, cheese, foods from childhood, and grease.
In Atwater Village, you’ll be transported to a country cabin deep in the forest. It’s like visiting the Country Bear Jamboree but with booze and no screaming children. Take a seat by the fake fire, have a convo with Smokey the Bear and get the off menu favorite, The Toasted Marshmallow. Yes, it is served with a real toasted marshmallow. Save yourself the trouble of camping and cut to the best parts, enjoying the art of log cabinetry and drinking.
Clifton’s is a legendary LA institution that recently reopened and added a lot of bar space. You can check out the large cafeteria or just stand in awe of the bizarro surroundings. Not only does Clifton’s feature a variety of taxidermied animals, it has a huge tree that runs through the middle of the bar, the longest running neon fixture in the world, and a stuffed buffalo with light-up eyes.
For drinks, visit the second floor Monarch Bar or third floor Gothic Bar and sit by the fire while you enjoy modern versions of classic cocktails. Soon, there’ll be a fourth floor tiki bar reviving artifacts from some of the other Cliftonses that closed over the years. Though the website warns you to dress up, you’ll see many a pair of khaki shorts and jerseys. As long as they can tell you apart from one of the wild animals on display, you’ll be fine.
Koreatown sometimes gets a bad rap, but hosts a wide variety of bars from super dives to this nautically inspired pub. After the overstimulation of Clifton’s, this simple old school bar and restaurant will take you back to the real old days of LA. It’s so old school, Mad Men used the HMS Bounty as a shooting location and made approximately zero changes to the interior. Also, this place is cheap! Get a Wise Man (a can of beer and a shot of whiskey) for $5. They have food specials, like a hamburger and fries for $4.95. Though it may not be high cuisine, it is the perfect kind of food to refuel your boozy journey.
The Frolic Room sits right on the Walk of Fame and has had a big part in Hollywood history. Opened around 1930 as a speakeasy, the bar originally had its only entrance from inside the Pantages Theatre. A clientele of only actors and stagehands kept the bar easily afloat until Prohibition ended and the Frolic Room opened to the public. The bar is also known for being the last place the Black Dahlia was seen before her grisly murder. Illegal acts aside, this place is a great taste of Old Hollywood. An Al Hirschfeld mural covers the wall and the jukebox plays a lot of classic rock. Though it now sits next to condo towers and desperate street superheroes, the Frolic Room is a nice little glimpse into Hollywood’s seedy past.
Okay, enough history and dives. How could an LA bar crawl be complete without a swanky poolside party in Beverly Hills? Above SIXTY is true to it’s name, as it’s the rooftop pool and bar of the Hotel SIXTY Beverly Hills. This swanky bar is the best place to get a view of LA after dark and enjoy a pricey but good modern cocktail. Worlds apart from the dives of Hollywood, Above SIXTY gives you a glimpse of that 90210 lifestyle. So, end your night overlooking the lights of the massive city or looking over the hot bodies that frequent Beverly Hills rooftop pools.
Tonight this entire city is your oyster to shuck, and in a town like New York, that means a whole lot of pearls. Here's your map to a perfect bar crawl spanning all five boroughs. And possibly an actual oyster bar? Read on to find out.
Craft beer, that's the selection you want to start with. Get it at the face of the new Bronx: good living, with the same ol' straightforward pride in its rough and tumble past. Given how diverse this borough has been throughout its existence, a wealth of beers just makes sense. The menu is universally praised here, so enjoy some eats before you greet the New York nightlife ahead of you.
By contrast, in deep Queens, you’ll find deeper New York history. Depending on your criteria, Neir’s could be the oldest bar in the city--and is by far the oldest in Queens. Neir's, under a few other names, was in its seventh decade by the time its hometown became NYC's biggest borough. Mae West performed here, and her portrait adorns the interior. The jukebox is stocked with Johnny Cash, and renovations a few years ago gave the bar draught capability so you can finally enjoy a Guinness at its best. The batch of great regulars will welcome you in and even tolerate your quoting Goodfellas, which filmed a few scenes here. Stop in for the history, stay for the great burger.
Odds you'll end up at Turkey's Nest whether you make the right decisions or the wrong ones in life, so tonight cry fowl at the other birdbrained dive bar in Williamsburg, the beloved duckduck, with its namesake décor, which shall forevermore be called duck-or. A diverse crowd fills this joint with good vibes, and good tunes, which equals great dancing. Bring cash -- they don't take credit, and they're passing the savings on to you. Beers for $2 is an outrageously good deal even by Brooklyn happy hour standards. Sadly the adjacent Goose tattoo parlor has closed, so you can’t commemorate the stop with a picture of a duck, a turkey, and a goose raising their drinks to each other. Anyway, you didn’t have time, because you’re moving on to…
The Phunky Elephant
You thought you were going to skip Staten Island? Guy, you have a car. This Rosebank gastropub is right off the Verrazano, so you won't burn too much time in transit on your epic night. It's also a tempting gastropub. Feast on chef Kristin Tutrone's choice appetizers like clams casino flatbread or chicken and waffle sliders. The Forgotten Borough will show you what you've been missing and maybe, just maybe, you'll come back in the daylight hours to show it the appreciation it deserves.
Waiting for admittance into Death & Co. is no business for a pack of nightlife enthusiasts with an Uber at your disposal. For an open secret bar experience, glide past the counter at Five Guys in the West Village and climb the stairs to enjoy cocktails every bit as wonderful as you'd hope. Don't forget to order some noms downstairs while you're there, because--dude, craft cocktails and Five Guys.
McSorley's Old Ale House
Come on, you gotta go here, right? Tourists might love it, but that doesn't mean they're wrong: McSorley's is the New York City bar. Where else are you going to slam half-pints of dark ale under an original Thomas Nast drawing and play "Guess which chair Lincoln sat in?" Nowhere, that's where, buster. Frankly, there's no better conclusion to an evening around town than the bar where all of New York (and the world) comes to enjoy the city's history. Quaff the last drink and trundle home. You've done well, warriors of the night. Now rest and recover to do it all again next week.
Earth has been around for more than 4.5 billion years and you’re lucky enough to live in a sliver of time when Uber exists. Now, you’ve got the key to the city. No longer are you tied down to Mill Ave. or Old Town. Just let some friendly guy in a gigantic SUV do the driving while you and your fellow galoots salute each other’s health. Here’s your guide to the best bar crawl in The Valley.
Angel's Trumpet Ale House
If craft beer is what you seek, heed the call of the Angel’s Trumpet Ale House. The buzzy bar is housed in an industrial-modern space with both ample indoor and outdoor seating. Here there are more than 30 local and regional beers on tap plus six wines, nitro brews, and a full menu that includes winning choices like pizza, tacos, burgers and even crispy SPAM sliders if you’re so obliged.
Phoenix’s only underground tiki bar, the nautical-themed Under Tow, might be one of the city’s newest drinking spots but it’s quickly becoming a local favorite for its classic mai tais, tiki-inspired drinks and the infamous scorpion bowl. Forget all of that packaged up kitsch that typically comes along with a tiki bar, this space is nothing of the sort, you won’t find grass skirts or thatched walls or even rum-saturated drinks… Well, actually you might find that last one but there’s more to the nouveau cocktail lineup than rum this and rum that.
Word of advice: make a reservation, the space is real small--after all, it was at one point an oil change bay--and you don’t want to get turned away. But! If you do, Sip Coffee & Beer Garage above Under Tow can take care of you with a beer or two to get this bar crawl started.
Take an 11-minute ride up the street and you’ll be at the door of Clever Koi. This CenPho spot, headed by three bros including bar manager and co-owner Joshua James, has a strong bar program and even stronger drinks. Whether you take your cocktail on ice, shaken or stirred, or if you’re hankering for some good sake or cheap beer, you can find it all here. It’s not hard to want to order food at this spot. So go ahead, get those pork belly steamed buns you’ve had your eye on for the last half hour, champ.
Bitter & Twisted
Downtown’s most lauded cocktail bar, Bitter & Twisted, which happens to be one of the best damn cocktail bars in Phoenix, doesn’t just offer a shortlist of libations, they offer an entire book. In fact, their drink menu is appropriately called the Book o’ Cocktails. With more than 60 handcrafted cocktails made with local, fresh and unique ingredients (edible flowers, anyone?) there are more than enough to choose from. Consult the book’s list of Top 10 drinks or just go ahead and order the Duck Punch. Ironically this space, the Luhrs Building, was once home to Arizona’s prohibition headquarters. Thankfully we live in a time where good cocktails are plentiful.
The intimate venue regularly hosts comedy shows, spoken word acts, film showings and live music. The cocktail lounge is named after Arizona’s first lady governor, Rose Mofford (who sadly passed away this year). Before tending to business at the capital, Mofford was an All-American softball player who had to turn down a professional basketball offer from, coincidentally, The All-American Red Heads. There are over half a dozen beers on tap, a wine list featuring 50 choices, and cocktails named after some of Arizona’s most dubious, famous and beloved politicians, including one for Gov. Mofford.
Cobra Arcade Bar
If you grew up on Nintendo (which, come on, who didn’t?) this place is the stuff of dreams. ‘80s and ’90s kids, rejoice! There are more than two dozen games like Street Fighter, Frogger, Donkey Kong--even pinball! Owner Ariel Bracamonte has spent a good part of the last decade collecting all of these machines, so get your tokens out.
There’s one big factor that sets this arcade bar apart from the ones you frequented as an awkward preteen: there’s booze, and lots of it. A wide-selection of craft beer on tap and cocktails with names like “Princess Peach” and “Death Star” round out the drink menu here. Gamers can even go down in arcade history if they achieve the highest score: champions’ names go up on that scoreboard near the bar.
And hey, is that Angel’s Trumpet across the street? Congratulations, you’ve come full circle.