10 of the best bars in the USA for gin lovers

The USA’s love affair with gin is a long (and tempestuous) one. However, in recent years the craft gin cocktail scene has gone from strength to strength. It’s incredibly hard to pick a shortlist of the best!

However, after much research, we’ve whittled it down to 10 of our favourite cocktail bars around North America that are we recommend you try the next time you find yourself in one of these holiday hot-spots and looking for a gin and tonic that’s head and shoulders above the rest.

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Los Angeles: Genever

Boasting gorgeous art nouveau-inspired interiors, a gin-heavy menu to die for and with an emphasis on local produce and house-made syrups and shrubs, this LA-based cocktail bar is the stuff of Hollywood dreams.

Our pick from the menu:
‘Spring has Sprung’. Plymouth Gin, Pernod, lemon, thyme, honey, orange blossom, rose, egg white.


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NEW YORK: Oscar Wilde

Of course, gin-lovers are spoiled for choice in the home of cocktail bars, and it’s true that there are some bars that are more strictly gin specialists than this one. However, this extraordinary historic bar’s extravagantly ornate decor, rich history and fabulous cocktail menu all earn it a place on our list. Not to mention that it’s home to New York’s longest bar, at a remarkable 118.5 feet.

Our pick from the menu:
‘Gutter & Stars’. Gin, elderflower liqueur, lavender bitters, sparkling wine.


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MIAMI: Minnow Bar

Minnow Bar describes itself as a “reimagined gin house”; it’s essentially a chic South Beach hotel bar specialising in herb-infused craft cocktails featuring both gin and other spirits. There’s a very stylish interior, but we love the look of the sun-splashed, palm-fringed terrace for supping on cocktails at sunset. Or, you know, any time of day.

Our pick from the menu:
‘Jasmine’. Tanqueray gin, Campari, Cointreau and lemon.


NEW ORLEANS: Carousel Bar

As with some of the other picks on our list, the Carousel Bar is not, strictly spearking, a gin-specialist venue. It is, however, surely the most unique bar in New Orleans: the ornately gilded fairground-style circular bar actually gently rotates as you sip on your cocktail!

If that’s not enough to tempt you in for a gin cocktail or two, consider the bar’s impressive literary legacy: legendary authors Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner wove the Carousel into their stories and world-renowned writers Tennessee Williams, Richard Ford and Truman Capote were apparently regular guests, the latter claiming he was in fact born at the Hotel Monteleone, where the bar resides.

Our pick from the menu:
‘Fleur de Lis’. Gin, elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, cucumber, ginger ale, club soda.


Photo: Jude Goergen Scofflaw

Photo: Jude Goergen Scofflaw

CHICAGO: Scofflaw

We’re completely in love with both the craft cocktail menu and the cosy, elegant decor at this Chicago-based gin joint. Oh, and apparently there’s also warm, freshly baked cookies available at midnight. Seriously, what’s not to love?

If we haven’t convinced you yet, maybe GQ magazine can: “(Scofflaw is) a first-class bar without an ounce of pretension… of all the gin joints in all the world, the best one is here.”

Our pick from the menu:
‘Morty’. London Dry Gin, plum sake, creme de cacao, manzanilla sherry, malort and cucumber.

Image: mgmresorts.com

Image: mgmresorts.com

LAS VEGAS: Juniper Cocktail Lounge

Based inside the swanky Park MGM Las Vegas hotel and casino, the Juniper Cocktail Lounge claims to house the largest collection of gin in Las Vegas. Sit back one of the plush velvet sofas and it’s not too hard to imagine Sinatra and the boys sipping their cocktails alongside you.

Our pick from the menu:
‘Little Birdie’. Sipsmith gin, strawberry, dry vermouth, fresh Lemon.


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WASHINGTON DC: Columbia Room

Awarded the gong for ‘Best Bar in DC’ by the prestigious Washington Post in both 2016 and 2017, the Columbia Room went on to win the Readers’ Choice award for Best Bar from the Washingtonian in 2018, too. There’s an elegant private tasting room, an elegant, comfortable ‘Spirits Library’ inside, and the ‘Punch Garden’ is a relaxed, fairy-lit outdoor terrace.

It’s a laid-back atmosphere, but don’t let that fool you; the bartenders here know their stuff. Here’s how Esquire magazine described the cocktails in its list of the best bars in America in 2017: “erudite, theatrical, state-of-the-art, and uncomplicatedly delicious”. Sold.

Our pick from the menu:
’Prose Punch’. Gin, Fino, White Vermouth, Pear, Roses, Whey


LOS ANGELES: Bibo Ergo Sum

“I drink, therefore I am”. Thus translates the name of this West Hollywood cocktail bar, and frankly, if it weren’t already taken, Craft Gin Club would snap up the idea as a motto!

Upon opening, this fabulous art deco-esque bar quickly earned itself a place on Thrillist’s list of the 21 Best Bars in the Country 2018, with a rave review praising it as “the most gorgeous new bar in L.A.” More accolades followed, including Time Out LA’s award for ‘Best Cocktail in the City’.

The menu is divided into three parts: ‘Old Style’, for classic cocktails with a little twist; ‘Neon’, an homage to the disco and pop era through the medium of cocktails; and ‘Present and Beyond’, where the bar showcases their own innovations, which they hope will go on to become classics.

Our pick from the menu:
’Palermo Blush’. Beefeater gin, Bertoux brandy, red grape pressed Campari, whipped orange and ginger, fresh lemon juice


Image: Zack Benson

Image: Zack Benson

SAN DIEGO: Polite Provisions

Fitted out like a vintage apothecary or drug store offering local “elixirs” and “cures,” Polite Provisions in San Diego welcomes guests with black and white tiled floors, a marble counter, old street lamps lining the bar, and spirits and cocktails on tap. Yes - on tap! There’s a huge cocktail menu featuring everything from classics to unconventional innovations.

Our pick from the menu:
’Hyde Park Punch’. London dry gin, cucumber, lime, pear, honey, sparkling wine


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SAN FRANCISCO: Whitechapel

San Francisco’s Whitechapel is dedicated exclusively to the pursuit of educating the masses about gin’s huge versatility and potential for deliciousness, and showing them a good time while they’re at it.

Consequently, guests can cosy up at one of the red velvet-lined booths or perch themselves at the Victorian-style tiled bar and tuck into a massive choice of gin-based cocktails - with over 120 to choose from, and more than 400 different gins to boot, you could be in there a while… well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?

Our pick from the menu:
’Nude descending a staircase’: Hendrick’s gin, Hayman’s sloe gin, almond milk, earl grey tea, rose flower, egg white, lemon.