The predominant drink in the United States during the 1920s Prohibition-Era, gin remains a popular drink of choice to this day (and is no longer made in a bathtub!) But nowadays, bars across the country offer their own unique spin on this old-time favorite by creating craft cocktails by mixing gin with other spirits, fresh fruits, juices, and other unique concoctions. Check out our recommendations for 12 cool gin bars in the U.S. that you have to visit this summer.
Cool Gin Bars in the U.S.
One of the main attractions in this speak-easy style bar in Chelsea is the copper bathtub that sits in the center of the bar area and is the perfect photo-op for patrons looking to capture an Instagram moment. Try a historical cocktail like The Martinez, which is made with Junipero gin, Dolin rouge, maraschino liqueur, Boker’s bitters and lemon oils. For larger parties looking to share with friends, they offer punch bowls of mixed gin.
Address: 132 9th Avenue, New York, NY
Home to the largest gin selection in North American, Whitechapel celebrates the history and tradition of gin through 105 different drinks. Their menu is divided into categories that include popular classics, rare vintage cocktails, and Honor Among Thieves (cocktails created by well-known bartenders and cocktail connoisseurs). Order the Classy Lassie, a daring combination of Aviation gin, orange flower water, Peychaud’s Bitters, egg white, tonic and lime. The décor is as charming as the drinks, featuring wraparound red velvet booths and curved ceilings with dim lighting to create a sultry atmosphere. Whitechapel is located at the Embassy Hotel and only takes reservations for parties of 8 or more.
Address: 600 Pol Street, San Francisco, CA
This 1920s-inspired bar/eatery tucked off East Bay Street in South Carolina serves small plates and offers specials on their drink menu from 5 to 7 pm during Cocktail Hour. They source many of their ingredients locally and change their menu according to the seasons. Their menu is arranged in sections like “Out of the Box”, “For Sharing”, and “Top Shelf”, among others. Try The Debutante, made with Ransom Old Tom Gin, lemon, vermouth, honey, apricot liqueur, and thyme. Or get adventurous by playing “Bartender’s Choice”, where you choose any two words off the menu of descriptions and let the bartender do the rest. We also love their slogan: “We may not change your life, but we can help you Drink Proper.”
Address: 182 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC
The go-to spot for gin in Washington D.C, Wisdom has a special club for members who love everything gin. Their club hosts special events including guest speakers and gin education classes, in addition to rewarding members for drinking gin with a variety of prizes that include giveaways, tastings, trips and discounts. It’s Always Sunny is one of their well-known drinks and is a fun mix of Philadelphia’s Bluecoat Gin, lemoncello and Aperol.
Address:1432 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, Washington D.C.
This gin hotspot has something going on every night, from an unlimited Hummus bar on Tuesdays to Aperitif Hour every day at 6 pm. In addition to house made tonic and gin pairings, they also offer a Gin & Tonic Flight – featuring three tonics and three gins to give patrons a fun chance to sample their different offerings. They also offer monthly seminars and workshops on topics ranging from creating a tonic to a sensory barrel-aged gin class for those looking to further their cocktail education.
Address: 3200 S. Grand Blvd, St Louis, MO
Located on the ground floor of the Windsor Court Hotel, Cocktail Bar offers a diverse selection of beers, wines, and mixed drinks. Kent Westmoreland is the head mixologist at Cocktail Bar and winner of multiple cocktail mixing competitions, and he’ll be happy to mix you up an old classic or a new invention like The Beverly – a mixture of Hendricks Gin, lime, sugar, cucumber, and rhubarb bitters.
Address: 300 Gravier Street, New Orleans, LA
One of the country’s premier gin bars, Scofflaw is located in the Windy City and is owned by four gin lovers who wanted to open a gin-focused bar because they felt it was an overlooked item on cocktail menus in general. The Improved Scofflaw Cocktail is a tasty mixture of letherbee gin, cocchi Americano, lime and grenadine that leaves patrons craving seconds.
Address: 3201 W. Armitage Avenue, Chicago, IL
A Victorian “gin palace” in La Canada Flintridge, The Flintridge Proper is owned by a husband-and-wife duo who wanted to offer farm-to-table dishes paired with classic cocktails. They boast the world’s largest selection of gin with more than 200 varieties from around the world, including their house made Flintridge Native Botanicals Gin that was designed to capture the flavors of the foothills. One of their most popular drinks is The Eastside - a variation on their modern South Side Drink – which is made with Ford’s Gin, lime, cucumber, mint and Simple.
Address: 464 Foothill Blvd, La Canada Flintridge, CA
The Remedy Bar at the Four Seasons Resorts and Residences Vail is a nod to the bar’s theme, which is to cure patrons of all that ails them. Perfect for gin lovers, you can request a tableside made-to-order cocktail such as the Rosemary Gin Fizz – corsair gin, angostura bitters, egg white, blueberry, and rosemary - created by one of their “Doctors of Drinks” (aka bartenders).
Address: 1 Vail Road, Vail, CO
Known for their sophisticated cocktails and small plates, Bar Marco is a favorite among visitors and locals looking for a good gin drink, among others. Order the Mean Joe, made with gin, lemon, five-herb syrup, sparkling wine, and candied lime zest. The bar is in a former firehouse, which adds to the unique historical edge. Fun fact? They don’t accept gratuity.
Address: 2216 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Grab a nightcap and go back in time at The Edison – an underground bar that is decorated with architectural artifacts from LA’s first private power plant. Clips from silent films are projected against the walls while burlesque dancers dance on the main stage. Their menu of hand crafted cocktails includes favorites like the Southside Fizz, mixed with London Dry Gin, lime, mint and soda; or the Pimm’s Cup, featuring house made Pimm’s with a gin base, lemon, lime, orange, cucumber and mint.
Address: 108 W. 2nd Street, #101, Los Angeles, CA
This cozy cocktail den is tucked beneath The Bachelor Farmer, a popular eco-conscious café that serves Nordic-influenced dishes using locally sourced ingredients. The menu utilizes unique ingredients including vinegar, habanero, licorice root, and pickle brine, but start with their classic drink The Gimlet: Martin Miller Westbourne Strength gin, lime and simple syrup are the three key ingredients for this signature drink.
Address: 50 N 2nd Ave, Minneapolis, MN
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.