Is a dive bar defined by smell alone?
'bars' on Serious Eats
I'd arrived at Barrelhouse Flat around 4 p.m. that afternoon. Owner Stephen Cole had graciously granted my request to shadow the staff during their prep, service, and closing, with the goal of coming away with an unfettered look at what makes the place tick.
I drink an Old Fashioned at Clover Club in Brooklyn, and drink Coronas while eating $1 tacos on the porch at The Sire in Riverside, California. I love both places for very different reasons; the only thing they have in common is that they have successfully crossed the boundary that separates places that merely sell drinks from what can generally be termed a good bar.
The dustup comes down to this: many customers wouldn't even dream of walking into a white-tablecloth restaurant and ordering something safe and pedestrian off-menu—such as a hot dog or cheeseburger—but the same customers might venture into a bar with a creative cocktail menu and order a Jack and Coke.
While the "speakeasy" trend in new bars has been going on for so long in New York that some establishments are sliding into "speak-cheesy" territory, it's still a relative novelty in most of the country.
In the May issue of Esquire, the editors present the third annual collection of the Best Bars in America. The list covers the full range of drinking establishments, which are added to a growing compilation from past years of the nation's best spots to bend an elbow.
It wasn't until the 1920s, when the owners of then-illegal watering holes were less picky about who they let through the door, that a female presence started to become a somewhat regular occurrence in bars across the country.
What's prompting restaurants such as Per Se in New York and The Foundry in Los Angeles to expand their bar offering, of course, has less to do with a sudden desire to promote bibulous artistry than with the simple need to survive during catastrophic economic times.
If the bartender is simply opening a beer or pouring a glass of Scotch, $1 a drink may still make sense. But what about those bars where ordering a drink is more along the lines of ordering an entrée in a restaurant?
When it comes to living an environmentally friendly lifestyle, the consumption of spirits & cocktails is a definite bump in the road. But there are a few bars and bartenders who are trying to step lightly when wielding the cocktail shaker.
In Sunday’s New York Times, Alex Williams wades into a modern minefield of a topic: parents who bring their children into bars. Williams’ article, “Look Who’s Getting Rolled Out of the Bar,” takes a look at parents who like to...