The second edition of North America’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier, was revealed at a live awards ceremony in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico on Thursday 4th May.
This year, the biggest annual celebration for bars in the continent includes a substantial 15 new entries. Browse the ranking, with photos, from number 50 down to the venue named The Best Bar in North America 2023.
No.50 Milady’s – New Entry
New York City
This Soho neighbourhood institution was revived in 2022 by a team led by cocktail heavyweight Julie Reiner. The upbeat drinks list bounces from cheeky Blue Hawaiian jello shots (called jigglers), mini Daiquiris and Martinis and simple whiskey highballs to classy NYC throwbacks like the Little Italy.
No.49 Youngblood – New Entry
Opened in 2021, with a kitschy a lá refrigerator entrance, this small 16-seat bar is designed with the opulence of The Great Gatsby, offering a 90-minute curated journey of three bespoke cocktails and a welcome glass of Champagne (no menu). Reservations only.
No.48 Platform 18 – New Entry
Platform 18 represents one of the most unique concepts on North America’s 50 Best Bars list, complete with one of the best whisk(e)y collections in the country. Stepping out of Phoenix’s arid desert heat, guests are transported to a Louisiana train platform. This classic bar offers nearly 1,000 different whiskeys from around the world including dozens of private barrels.
No.47 Brujas – New Entry
Brujas is an alternative oasis: led by bar manager Gabriela Lozada, the all-female ‘coven’ of mixologists spread warmth via impeccable service. The menu is inspired by witchcraft and women and salutes authors and activists through an array of herbal and floral libations.
No.46 Clover Club
New York City
Clover Club, a masterpiece created by Julie Reiner and Susan Federoff, embodies classic style with leather chairs, dark woods, exposed-brick walls, pressed-tin ceilings and classic cocktails. The titular Clover Club (gin, dry vermouth, lemon, raspberry syrup and egg white) leads a menu of historic drinks, while modern classics round out the list.
No.45 Allegory – New Entry
Allegory is an inclusive tribute to civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, featuring mid-century modern design and striking murals by Erik Thor Sandberg. The bar's cocktail list is driven by diverse flavours and minority-owned distillers, with whimsical drinks created using molecular magic. Winner of the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu 2023, Allegory is a space that's both transportive and real.
No.44 The Dead Rabbit
New York City
Named The World’s Best Bar in 2016, this NYC institution offers ground-breaking cocktails in a jovial atmosphere. With a Taproom on the street level and The Parlor upstairs, it serves classic cocktails split into two sections: Éire (Ireland) and Domhan (World).
No.43 Bar Mordecai
A cool space with a vintage hotel lobby design and a reputation for community-building, Mordecai also boasts a fun cocktail menu with drinks like the Gold Dust Woman and Tame Impala. Bartender-owner Christina Veira won the Roku Industry Icon Award last year for raising thousands of dollars for important causes
No.42 Yacht Club – New Entry
Denver’s Yacht Club is a casual, eco-friendly bar and winner of the Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award 2023. Owners Mary Allison Wright and McLain Hedges combined different styles types of drinking joints to create the ultimate hangout. The menu mixes high and low drinks, including nautical-themed quickie combinations, as well as a few alcohol-free options.
No.41 Bar Leather Apron
Founded in 2015, the vision was to create a world-class bar inspired by international travels – and that ambition was realised. Fusing hallmark Hawaiian hospitality with technique-driven cocktails, Leather Apron has put Honolulu on the map as an international haven for cocktail lovers.
No.40 Aruba Day Drink – New Entry
Hidden away from the tourist strips of Tijuana, one can find the welcoming Arub Day Drink. An airy and bright space, befitting a cafe in a beachside town, it attracts a healthy mix of cheerful visitors and local devotees.
No.39 Maison Premiere – New Entry
New York City
The Brooklyn bar space evokes the Crescent City with ceiling fans, a large marble bar and a replica of a historic Bourbon Street absinthe fountain. The menu sticks to the theme featuring interpretations of New Orleans classics like the Roffignac as well as many of the southern city’s adopted Caribbean classics.
No.38 Milk Room – New Entry
Milk Room in the Chicago Athletic Association is an eight-seat bar where vintage spirits and liqueurs are transformed into contemporary cocktails. The 1930s space is beautifully restored and features an array of weathered, hard-to-find bottles.
Created way ahead of the current wave of intrigue in all things fermented, this bar offers both maternal cosiness and funk-injected flavour. Mother has been soulfully building on concepts of family, human connection and childhood memories with thematic menus that explore the diverse backgrounds and experiences of its staff.
No.36 Cure – New Entry
Cure revived the cocktail culture in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and led the restoration of Freret Street. Its extensive backbar and skilled bartenders continue to draw destination drinkers and regulars alike, more than a decade since opening.
Cloakroom is a speakeasy-style bar with a sophisticated and clandestine atmosphere reminiscent of the Kingsman films. It is a no-reservations, no-menu establishment, where the bartender creates bespoke cocktails tailored to guests’ preferences.
No.34 Sweet Liberty
Sweet Liberty’s commitment to happiness is evident not only in its drinks but also in its atmosphere. The bright space is adorned with greenery and vintage décor, creating a welcoming and super-relaxed vibe. The bar has also become a hub for Miami’s creative community.
No.33 Service Bar
Founded in 2016, Service Bar is the go-to local in The District for three great reasons: the famous fried chicken, the lively, unpretentious ambience and the outstanding cocktails. Easy-going drink combos with quirky names keep things light and fun while staying conspicuously delicious.
No.32 Atwater Cocktail Club – New Entry
At the dead end of a graffiti-lined alleyway, an industrial red light marks the entrance to Atwater Cocktail Club, one of Montreal’s most charismatic cocktail bars. Inside, dark walls set a dramatic stage for glam details like shiny silver banquettes and glass ceilings, accompanying a creative programme of elegant drinks made with high-quality ingredients.
If one were to distil and bottle the essence of Oaxaca, it would taste like a Selva cocktail. The bar’s mid-century modern decor is offset by selva and agave plants – outside and painted onto the stucco walls. The menu celebrates different markets, plants and communities found within the Mexican region.
No.30 Death & Co
Refined cocktails in a speakeasy setting drive the stellar reputation of this bar. Its menu features more than 25 pours and is tailored to serve any customer’s mood of the moment from ‘Light & Playful’ to ‘Boozy & Honest’.
No. 29 Martiny’s – New Entry
New York City
Takuma Wantanabe opened Martiny’s as an homage to the drinking cultures of his Tokyo birthplace as well as his Manhattan home. The experience is driven by omotenashi, the Japanese concept of hospitality and the menu emphasises variations of Golden Age classics kicked up with premium spirits and immaculate presentation.
No.28 Pacific Cocktail Haven – New Entry
Now settled into its new location after a fire closed the original iteration, Pacific Cocktail Haven is back with double the capacity but no less charm. Kevin Deidrich’s flavourful ode to Asian Pacific tangs is a destination bar for Bay Area dwellers and cocktail tourists alike.
No.27 Herbs & Rye
Herbs & Rye feels like a bespoke getaway for its relaxed speakeasy interior with dark wood panels and old-timey, red, button-tufted booths. Its menu pays tribute to bygone historic cocktail eras, from Prohibition to the Golden Age and Rat Pack heyday.
No.26 Kaito del Valle
Drawing inspiration from Japan’s fabled ‘kaito’ or female pearl divers, bar manager Claudia Cabrera’s all-woman bar team mixes up one-of-a-kind Japanese inflected cocktails. Apart from the amazing sake collection, creative signature drinks like Godzilla and Pikachu are not to be missed.
No.25 Café de Nadie
Mix a group of veterans from celebrated restaurant Pujol with vinyl aficionados and then add a dash of history and you have created one of Mexico City’s newest must-visit attractions. Don’t forget the original drinks menu inspired by different songs (of course).
No.24 La Factoría
La Factoría is once again named The Best Bar in the Caribbean, sponsored by Scrappy's Bitters. The building houses a surprising labyrinth of six drinking dens in total, each with different menus and themes ranging from wines and cocktails to a dance-friendly space, satisfying guests looking for a slightly different experience.
Arca is surrounded by a natural paradise formed from century-old trees and young sweeping flora, carved from the heart jungle on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Quintana Roo. The drinks menu includes an excellent mezcal selection, and the charming crew has the skills to explain the spirit’s expressions and mix the agave distillate into standout libations.
No.22 Sabina Sabe
Named for the mythical Mazatec medicine woman, María Sabina, Sabina Sabe is sure to provide a tonic for whatever ails you. The bar features a warren of rooms, each providing an intimate area for the cosmopolitan crowd that flocks any night of the week. Sabina Sabe touts one of the largest libraries of mezcal in the world.
No.21 El Gallo Altanero
The very spirit of Jalisco feels manifest in this 13-seat bar with rooster-themed murals and artwork. First, one must pass through the Cafe Fitzroy into the adobe and plaster-walled courtyard. Then, climb a set of stairs and perched atop a small balcony, you will find this agave mecca – quite literally glowing like a beacon.
No.20 Hanky Panky
With a cocktail programme that showcases the team’s deep knowledge of Golden Era mixology, like the namesake cocktail, this bar boasts luxurious decor and masterful drinks. Hidden in the fashionably artsy Roma neighbourhood of Mexico City, Hanky Panky allows guests to relax while the staff takes care of the rest.
No.19 Botanist Bar – New Entry
With seasonal cocktails and a superlative service programme, Botanist Bar is the winner of the Michter’s Art of Hospitality Award 2023. The tight-knit bar team, led by Grant Sceney and Jeff Savage, draws inspiration from the natural bounty of the Pacific Northwest, sourcing and foraging local ingredients to mix into drinks that are equal parts showpiece and storytelling.
New York City
Founded by Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom fame along with rock star French bartender Nico de Soto, Mace is an ode to cocktail culture with an emphasis on herbs and spices in downtown Manhattan. The menu is an exercise in meticulous design to the point that last year it was awarded with the Siete Misterios Best Cocktail Menu.
No.17 Rayo – New Entry
Rayo takes inspiration from the Mayahuel, a pre-Columbian goddess associated with agave. Mayahuel’s fabled lightning bolts are sculpted in neon fixtures, casting a blue hue over the sleek, multilevel interior. As a bar that has opened in the last 18 months and enters the list at the highest ranking, Rayo earns the title of the London Essence Best New Opening Award.
No.16 Baltra Bar
On any given Tuesday night, one can find most of Mexico City’s craft cocktail community gathered at Baltra Bar for Martinis. The bartenders’ seal of approval is warranted: Baltra’s space creates the feel of a neighbourhood café coupled with a cosmopolitan drinks menu.
No.15 Bar Pompette – New Entry
Ironically located in the Little Italy neighborhood of Toronto, Bar Pompette promises vibes that echo the look and feel of France’s most sophisticated cafés. With a vintage decor, welcoming and knowledgeable staff, and a modern/classic cocktail menu, this bar has entered the 50 Best list in the highest spot, winning the Disaronno Highest New Entry Award 2023.
No.14 Employees Only
New York City
Opened in 2004, Employees Only retains the magic charm that has since inspired so many other bars. Walking past the tarot card reader in the foyer, one emerges into a buzzing dinner club, teleported from the 1920s. Perfectly mixed Manhattans and Martinis are part of their array of signature cocktails.
New York City
A bar with an unmarked entrance and no menu, all the drinks are custom-tailored for the guest after a brief conversation with the bar team; they might well include modern classics such as the Penicillin or Paper Plane. In 2022, Attaboy bagged the title of The Best Bar in North America in the inaugural annual ranking.
No.12 Civil Liberties
The pineapple at the door and the deeply knowledgeable but authentically friendly staf, are the two characteristics that best represent Civil Liberties, winner of The Best Bar in Canada 2023 title, sponsored by Tia Maria. A draft ale or a canned lager are as welcome as inquiries about the quirky, unexpected selections on the back bar.
No.11 Zapote Bar
Playa del Carmen
In Mayan culture, the fruit of the Zapote tree, mamey, is a symbol of hospitality. Nestled in Yucatan’s tropical Rosewood Mayakoboa resort, the Zapote Bar is true to its name. The emphasis on comfort is evident from the welcome cocktail to the warren of private rooms for agave tasting, wine dinners and cigar appreciation.
Named The Best Bar in West USA 2023, sponsored by Naked Malt, Thunderbolt is a destination that offers a deliciously approachable drinks list and Southern-inspired food menu. Canned cocktails, at least one frozen cocktail selection and an extensive by-the-bottle offer, including a vast selection of Madeira, feature in the Thunderbolt mix.
No.9 Café La Trova
The celebrated ambassador for Cuban culture in the cocktail world, Julio Cabrera, opened Café La Trova in 2019 as a virtual embassy for his native island’s culinary culture. Thanks to his lifelong contribution to the bar sector, it’s no surprise that Cabrera is named Roku Industry Icon in 2023.
Infused with owner Julia Momosé’s attention to detail, Kumiko is a sophisticated cocktail bar that blends Japanese and American influences with style and finesse. The seasonal drink menu includes a thoughtful collection of sake, shochu and Japanese whisky.
New York City
Overstory combines a majestic jazz-age, art deco design with the unparalleled view of the 64th floor of a FiDi skyscraper. Bar director Harrison Ginsberg’s cocktails utilise rare ingredients and complex methods, yet when presented to the guest, they offer a simple, accessible love note to the city. Climbing a mammoth 20 positions this year, this lofty bar earns the title of Nikka Highest Climber.
Unremarkable from the outside, step inside and you’ll quickly realise why Dante was named The World’s Best Bar in 2019. This much-loved Greenwich Village establishment is credited with revitalising the Negroni’s popularity in the US as well as introducing a generation to the Garibaldi, a refreshing mix of Campari and fluffy orange juice, squeezed to order.
No.5 Jewel of the South
A temple to New Orleans culture and the exquisite cocktail skills of its co-founder, Southern cocktail pioneer Chris Hannah, this bar’s superb drinks programme and ambience offer the opportunity to soak in the Crescent City’s past while simultaneously sipping on the future. Jewel of the South is named The Best Bar in South USA 2023, sponsored by Torres Brandy.
No.4 Licorería Limantour
Mexico City’s celebrated craft cocktail scene started with Licorería Limantour in 2011. Founder Benjamin Padrón and bar manager José Luis León crafted a menu to celebrate their home city with highlights like the Mezcal Stalk (mezcal, orange liqueur, pineapple juice, agave honey, rimmed with worm salt) and the beloved Margarita al Pastor (tequila, orange liqueur, taco mix and lime).
No.3 Katana Kitten
Characterised by upbeat music and a décor of 80s US blockbuster posters, Katana Kitten utilises Japanese techniques and ingredients to produce familiar cocktails that you’ve never tasted before. The menu is divided between highballs, boilermakers and signature cocktails along with a healthy assortment of sake, beer and wine.
No.2 Handshake Speakeasy
Hidden behind an enigmatic door in Colonia Juarez, whose only sign is the number '13', one finds Handshake Speakeasy. Awarded The Best Bar in Mexico 2023 title, sponsored by Bareksten, the magic of this bar is evident in the latest touch of genius, its Banana Split cocktail. A banana-flavoured drink with utterly perfect balance, it mixes bourbon, banana liqueur and a blend of sherries to sumptuous effect.
No.1 Double Chicken Please
New York City
Double Chicken Please is crowned The Best Bar in North America 2023, sponsored by Perrier, as well as The Best Bar in Northeast USA. The bar that started as a pop-up cocktail minibus in 2017 has been on a meteoric ascent to the top of the world’s cocktail scene ever since.
The front room offers a soda shop vibe serving outstanding cocktails on tap and the eponymous chicken sandwiches. In the backroom, things get funky, with each libation designed to represent a drinkable meal. Consider the French Toast (vodka, roasted barley, brioche, coconut milk, maple syrup egg) or Japanese Cold Noodle (white rum, pineapple, cucumber, coconut, lime, sesame oil) – and tuck in.
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North America’s 50 Best Bars 2023, sponsored by Perrier, was announced at a live awards ceremony in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, on Thursday 4th May 2023. Browse the website to browse the full ranking and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to stay up to date with all the news and announcements.