While few will admit to planning an entire trip around a visit to an influential watering hole known for high-quality spirits, unique ingredients and skilled mixologists, the craft cocktail craze that has been trending for the last decade has birthed quite a few establishments that are travel-itinerary worthy. Craft cocktail bars have been popping up all over the United States, run by cocktail connoisseurs with deep knowledge of the flavors and variations of spirits, along with the history and culture of the alcohol they use daily. Here are some notable cocktail bars in a few of the country’s top travel destinations. 

Imbibing in NYC

If you’re traveling to New York City, there’s no shortage of craft cocktail bars. From Queens to Manhattan to Brooklyn, each bar offers a unique flavor with signature drinks. Blueprint and Featherweight are two highly regarded bars in Brooklyn where they serve the classics along with their signature cocktails. Blueprint offers The Kickstarter – a fusion of rum and coffee bitters, accented with a lemony twist – while Featherweight mixes up a mean Witch’s Brew, which includes jujube-infused gin, Gran Classico and lemon.

Windy City sips

Chicago is another great city with lavish bars on quiet neighborhood streets. Logan Square is home to a few bars known for their mixed drinks, including one with an island breeze-y feeling. Estereo is an all-day bar where you can leave your worries at the door. its rotating selection of seasonal drinks is organized by spirits, and most often include a fruity touch. Lost Lake is another bar in Logan Square/Avondale with a tiki bar vibe. Created by famed bartender Paul McGee, who previously ran Three Dots and a Dash, this oasis is filled with tropical décor, Hawaiian print and cold, fruity drinks.

West Coast watering holes

Food & Wine suggests a few West Coast bars to check out if you’re in Portland, Seattle or Los Angeles. If exclusivity is what you’re after, the bartenders at the Teardrop Cocktail Lounge in Portland make their own tonic water and specialty liqueurs for drinks. A little farther north, Seattle’s Sun Liquor Bar & Distillery is a must-see. It’s one of the few places in the country you can sit and sip house-distilled boozes, including two rums, two gins and a vodka.

Harlowe in Los Angeles gives off that old Hollywood vibe with vintage fixtures and classic cocktails. In addition to the well-stirred cocktails and cool ambiance, the bar offers great brunch and dinner menus, with a few sweet treats for dessert. Any bar that offers an adult root beer float is good in our book!

Wherever your travels take you, rest assured, a bar serving craft cocktails is likely within reach. Check out this list of cocktail bars to see if there’s a cool one to check out during your next vacation. If you have a favorite cocktail bar or drink recipe, let us in on it.