The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Right Now
Where to sip the city's finest cocktails right this second.
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Lucky Campbell's new cocktail den was definitely worth the wait. Dimly lit and sexy with a friendly, welcoming vibe, the huge cocktail menu has something for everyone, whether you want a flawlessly executed Ramos Gin Fizz or a $27 Japanese whisky drink made with deer antler extract and five-spice bitters.
Proof + Pantry
This newish One Arts Plaza venture from Misery Loves Co. (aka Sal Jafar II and Michael Martensen) is, unsurprisingly, serving up some of the best damn drinks in town. Start off gently with a "low proof" drink based around sherry, then move onto something "high proof," like the I'm Rich, a simple but delicious concoction of white rum, housemade lime curd, and grenadine (made in-house, of course).
The Joule's long-awaited new drinking den is a sight to behold, decked out in a funky retro-glam style with flashy drinks to match. Try the Savory Hunter, a concoction of lemongrass and kaffir lime-infused gin, coconut, cilantro, and Thai chiles served over a mountain of Sonic-style crushed ice, and don't miss the $6 Pho-King Champ shot.
This vintage clothing shop-turned-cocktail bar is packing in the Uptown crowds for some seriously good cocktails. There's no menu to speak of, so just relay your preferences to the bartender on duty and prepare for something custom and delicious, made with fresh fruits, juices, and herbs. Fair warning: It is tiny, so expect your personal space to be invaded (or go on a slightly slower night during the week).
This spacious cocktail bar-slash-restaurant is proving to be a popular date night spot. Go classic with a Corpse Reviver or try one of the original creations like the very autumnal Uncle Johnny, made with hard cider, pumpkin, and a shot of cinnamon whiskey.
John Tesar's Knife is a twist on the traditional steakhouse, and similarly, the Michael Martensen-designed bar program offers twists on much-maligned cocktails from the "dark ages": think Long Island Iced Tea and Sex on the Beach, reimagined with fresh ingredients and better technique. (The olive oil-infused martini is worth a try, too.)
Walking spirits encyclopedia Rocco Milano always has something new up his sleeve, making frequent trips to Barter highly recommended. Try something on draft like the crowd-pleasing vodka-based Basil & Lime, or throw down a $50 bill and let him craft you a custom "High Roller" drink.
Thanks to FT33's talented team of cocktail wizards, the drinks are just as forward-thinking as Matt McCallister's food. Expect housemade tinctures and oleosacrums (ask one of the friendly bartenders to explain the latter), a veritable garden of fresh ingredients and garnishes, and a dynamic barrel-aging program.
Whether you're a fan of long-time menu staples like the Passionfruit Gimlet or Pepper Smash or want to try a new creation (replete with unusual ingredients like celery, curry, and miso), the Victor Tangos cocktail menu has something tasty to offer.
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The Blind Butcher
The Blind Butcher gets no shortage of attention for its meat-focused menu, but it is a bar after all, and the cocktails are worthy of your attention. Try the Dovetail (mezcal, housemade grapefruit cordial, soda) or The Notary, concocted with your choice of Herman Marshall rye or Waterloo gin, Chartreuse, cointreau, bitters, and singed-to-order orange peel.
For a tasty drink before (or after) a show at the Granada or just a laid-back night of cocktails and bocce ball, hit up Vagabond. Jameson fans will be pleased to find an entire category of cocktails tailor-made for them, including the ginger beer and Angostura bitters-spiked Irish Necktie.
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