There’s no longer a need to hit up dive bars and watering holes for your whiskey fix. Bourbon is back, and with it, a slew of new made-to-order cocktails and swanky sipping lounges. Here are four spots we love:
TenOak Bourbon House + Lounge; Austin, Texas
Offering the city’s largest selection of small-batch bourbons, this place is packed with patrons clamoring for its signature drinks — like the candy-rimmed Pop-Rock-Tini . For the ultimate experience, slip into one of the 17 plush booths and pair your sipper with a fried Drunken Twinkie.
Bourbon & Branch; San Francisco
Don’t even think of ordering a cosmo at this speakeasy-style lounge (an actual speakeasy operated here in the 1920s), which serves real-fruit cocktails and award-winning whiskeys like Noah’s Mill, handmade in the hills of Kentucky. The main room is for dining, but a secret password (see the website) gets you into the Library, where spirits prevail.
The Patterson House; Nashville, Tenn.
At the dark-wood bar, choose from 50 artisan cocktails poured over one of eight types of ice, including a sphere that takes three minutes to mold. Expect classic cocktails as well as innovative offerings like the Bacon Old Fashioned. “It’s like breakfast in a glass of booze,” says one satisfied customer.
Pope House Bourbon Lounge; Portland, Ore.
A lengthy list of dark libations features Irish, Tennessee and Canadian varieties. Join crowds on the outdoor deck or slip inside for baked brie and pulled-pork sandwiches.