Booze You Can Use

GQ Names Best Cocktail Bars, Shafts Sasha Petraske

A julep and a daisy at Clover Club.
A julep and a daisy at Clover Club. Photo: Zach Desart/GQ

Somebody at GQ (possibly writer Kevin Sintumuang) clearly isn’t a fan of Sasha Petraske or the game-changing cocktail bars he opened in NYC a decade ago (Milk and Honey, Little Branch). The mag’s highly subjective new list of the country’s Top 25 Cocktail Bars omits them all, as well as the most Petraske-esque imitator in San Francisco, the five-year-old Bourbon & Branch, which has appeared on Esquire’s best bars list several years running.

Boston, Chicago, Philly, and L.A. all get nods (with Petraske’s L.A. outpost The Varnish getting a mention, with nary a word about Petraske, and calling it Cole’s, the sandwich shop in which The Varnish lives), but the list is dominated by New York and San Francisco venues — appropriately so for kicking off the left-coast-versus-east-coast rivalry at this week’s Le Grand Fooding — with Brooklyn’s Clover Club (#4), S.F.’s Alembic (#5), New York’s PDT and Pegu Club (#7 and #22), and the three-month-old Comstock Saloon in S.F., which they say “feels like it’s been here since the gold rush.”

They acknowledge that the current cocktail renaissance started ten years ago, but don’t offer Petraske a single mention. “Today’s bartenders don’t just pour drinks,” they write. “They make their own tinctures and bitters. They scour eBay for out-of-print recipe books and antique glassware. They are alchemists and madmen.”

Below, the list, as they see it:

1: Zig Zag Café - Seattle
2: Angel’s Share - New York
3: The Violet Hour - Chicago
4: Clover Club - Brooklyn
5: The Alembic - San Francisco
6: Death & Co - New York
7: PDT - New York
8: PX - Alexandria, VA
9: Comstock Saloon - San Francisco
10: Holeman & Finch - Atlanta
11: Tiki-ti - Los Angeles
12: The Patterson House - Nashville
13: Eastern Standard - Boston
14: Rickhouse - San Francisco
15: Anvil - Houston
16: Arnaud’s French 75 - New Orleans
17: Elixir - San Francisco
18: Columbia Room - Washington, D.C.
19: Cole’s (The Varnish)- Los Angeles
20: The Whistler - Chicago
21: Drink - Boston
22: Pegu Club - New York
23: The Edison - Los Angeles
24: The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. - Philadelphia
25: Needle and Thread - Seattle

The 25 Best Cocktail Bars In America [GQ, Slideshow]
Earlier: West Coast Mag Thinks East Coast Has More Important Cocktail People [Grub Street]

GQ Names Best Cocktail Bars, Shafts Sasha Petraske