Los Angeles, US
Cocktailians Sasha Petraske, Cedd Moses and Eric Alperin opened Los Angeles cocktail bar The Varnish in a former storage room at Cole's French Dip saloon in 2009, helping usher in a new era for cocktails in the City of Angels. The Prohibition-inspired, speakeasy-style bar has served as a bastion of reliable quality since. The distinguished, romantic space is small but civilised – first-come, first-served, no large parties, lit largely by flickering candles, and cocktail attire is "admired, not required". Classics are the specialty of the house, with a limited seasonal menu and a robust dealer's choice programme. Live jazz is the icing on the cake: cosied up in one of the bar's wood-clad booths with a perfect Manhattan and crooning piano setting the mood, if you close your eyes you might forget it's the 21st century.
118 E 6th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, 90014