Chefs Share Their Favorite Bars

What Chefs Drink

Hey Chef, what's in your glass?


Sean Temple of Paulée in Dundee, Oregon

When it's time to unwind after work, chefs don't necessarily want to make their own drinks. The closest spot to the restaurant often becomes a favorite, but most also have a soft spot for a good dive bar or anywhere with tasty tiki drinks.

We asked chefs from around the country about their favorite places to go out to drink. Here's what they had to say.

New York


Michael Ferraro of Delicatessen in NYC

"La Esquina has been a favorite of mine for years. It's conveniently down the street from Delicatessen, and I like to head over there after work for a cocktail and a snack." —Michael Ferraro (Delicatessen)

"Daddy O's in the West Village. It is open late, has a really good burger, and is well kept. It is also a place where you can easily run into chefs from the neighborhood as they finish service, which is always fun." —Harold Dieterle (Perilla, Kin Shop, The Marrow)

"My favorite bar is Apotheke NYC. The ambiance is cozy and comfortable, and it also has creative cocktails." —Eddy Thretipthuangsin (PakPao Thai)

"My favorite bar is McSorley's in NYC. It's the city's oldest pub and only serves dark or light beer—plus, you can buy them 5 at a time..." —Marc Marrone (LAVO Italian Restaurant, TAO Asian Bistro)

"Favorite bar is Maison Premiere [in Brooklyn]. I love the oysters, and their drinks are light enough that you can have several without falling off the stool. Their drinks pair really well with the food." —Erik Niel (Easy Bistro & Bar)

"Evelyn on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It is a rustic space, they have a really well rounded menu, and the bartender knows his stuff." —Shaun Hergatt (Juni)

"The Subway Inn on E. 60th Street. It's a quintessential dive bar and has been around forever." —Michael Psilakis (Kefi, FishTag, MP Taverna)



Gregory Ellis of 2 Sparrows in Chicago

"Right now, I think my favorite bar would have to be Billy Sunday. I like it for the craft cocktails, atmosphere, their extensive collection of fernet and house made tonics." —Gregory Ellis (2 Sparrows)

"I have come to a point in my life where I'm not really out at bars on any regular basis—two kids and two restaurants doesn't allow for a lot of end-of-the-night bar time. That said, given the opportunity to head out for a drink, I'm going straight to Bar Deville, as it's my neighborhood haunt, and they serve fine drinks." —Chris Pandel (The Bristol, Balena)

"I really like Aviary in Chicago. The drinks are interesting and fun, and it's a completely different contrast when you go to the office downstairs. I really like places where I can explain to the bartender or mixologist what I'm looking to drink and let them be creative. Plus, the hospitality there is warm and welcoming; really great people there." —Ryan Poli (Tavernita)

"Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar in Bridgeport." —Bill Kim (bellyQ)

"My favorite bar is Jake Melnick's Corner Tap on Superior. I lived upstairs from it, so it became my place to go after a long day at work. Great beer selection and great food. Berkshire Room is also great. I walk by it on my way home. My old friend Scott Weiner is one of the owners. They have a great selection of drinks." —James O'Donnell (Michael Jordan's Steakhouse)

San Francisco Bay Area


Nick Balla of Bar Tartine

"Amnesia [on Valencia] is the best place to unwind, hear some good tunes and enjoy the good vibes from the staff and the guests."—Nick Balla (Bar Tartine)

"My favorite bar would have to be The Page. It was right around the corner from my first apartment in the city in the Lower Haight. It's where I would always hang out after work on my way home with my cook and chef buddies. We would talk about how we were going to change the world and how things would be different some day when we were in charge. The formative years. I like that there is always a shot and a beer special for $8 and it's never too crowded. Even on amateurs' night (Fri and Sat)."——Chris Thompson (A16)

"For a nice retro repast, you may find us at the lounge at Emeryville's Trader Vic's, circa 1960 something. The Old Way Mai Tai developed by Vic Bergeron in 1944 is still hand crafted: freshly squeezed lime, orgeat, proper light and dark rums, curacao and lots of fresh mint. Also the Scorpion cocktail is seductive with a gardenia float. The pupus, Indian fire-fueled ovens and Polynesian old world feel comforts and refreshes, a worthy 60 minute escape, with views of the bay and sunsets year round."—Gayle Pirie and John Clark (Foreign Cinema)

"Bloodhound at Folsom and 7th. Friendly bartenders, balanced unpretentious cocktails. It has a very laid back vibe midweek, and they are dog friendly. I can go home after work, grab my 2 dogs and walk over a drink. They also have Old Speckled Hen on draft which is one of my favorite beers, my dog Guanciale is a fan too."—Matt Gandin (Comal)

Southern California


Hank Costello of Andina

"Dargan's Pub & Restaurant in Santa Barbara, CA. It is an old Irish pub with great pool tables and friendly bartenders. It is off the strip, so not a lot of tourists get there. They make the best Bloody Mary I have ever had. In a rocks glass. This is not a glorified glass of tomato juice. It is a DRINK. Mainly, it has the "Cheers" feeling. You can get a little crazy, and there is no judgement the next time you come in." —Hank Costello (Andina)

"Tiki Ti is one of my personal favorites. I love tiki drinks. Love the vibe." —Vinny Dotolo (Animal)

"Father's Office in Santa Monica. I love unique beer, and I love great food. This place has it all. They are known for their burger, but I have had some of the best mussels, lamb, and scallops here. The beer selection is better than anything I can find in Dallas (I'm sad to say)." —Braden Wages (Malai Kitchen)

"Shamrock in Newport Beach. It's a friendly local bar where everyone knows your name. I've been going there for a little too long now. They pour the best Guinness in town." —Justin Miller (Pizzeria Ortica)



Brian Zenner of Belly & Trumpet in Dallas

"My favorite bar in Dallas has to be the Stoneleigh P. They have PBR on tap, and there is rarely a wait at the bar. Ween in the jukebox helps." —Brian Zenner (Belly & Trumpet)

"The Meddlesome Moth, right across the street from Oak. It's a great bar with about 30 beers on tap and a really nice selection of rare beers." —Richard Gras (Oak)


"My favorite bar is Monk's Café in Philadelphia because they have 1998 Guigal la Turque." —Adam Leonti (Vetri Ristorante)

New Orleans

"I like the bar Brothers Three on Magazine Street [in New Orleans]. It's divey, and old men hang out there. I also really like Pal's Lounge in Mid-City. I have been going there for years." —Justin Deviller (La Petite Grocery)

Portland, OR


Gabe Rucker of Le Pigeon [Photo: David Reamer]

"My favorite bar is the B Side. It's right down the street from Le Pigeon, but I don't make it there very often with two kids." —Gabe Rucker (Le Pigeon)

"I love going to Barwares for a drink and a snack after work. It's in the Beaumont neighborhood of Northeast Portland and about a ten minute drive from our house . Not only do we adore the bartenders there, but Chef Johanna Ware kicks ass, and it's rare in this town that you can get such great food late night, alongside delicious cocktails AND raucous banter." —Gabrielle Quinonez Denton (Ox)

"Bink's on NE Alberta and 28th. Great dive bar with super friendly bartenders and a great pool table." —Jasper Shen (Aviary)

"On most nights, The Standard in Portland. The great staff is the number one reason, followed by the extremely pocket-friendly gentlemen pours of whatever your flavor may be that evening. Plus, if you're hungry for some bar food, every once in a while they will have a Cuban sandwich on special, which is just killer." —Sean Temple (Paulee)

"I really like Rum Club—good people and good drinks. I also ran the kitchen there for the first year while I was still the chef at Beaker and Flask." —Ben Bettinger (Imperial)

And Beyond...


Michael Kornick of DMK County Barbecue in Chicago

"Lots of favorites. I love the wine bar adjacent to Osteria Alle Testiere in Venice. I love the Mixology at Artesian at the Langham Hotel in London, which was voted Europe's best bar and best bartender. I think I agree. The Bamboo bar at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. Angel's Share in NYC. Il Foyer at the Four Seasons Milan. B.B. King's Blues Bar in Nashville. Frankie and Johnny's in New Orleans." —Michael Kornick (DMK County Barbeque, DMK Burger Bar)

"I like the bar Seelbach in Louisville, Kentucky because it has a lot of history, and it's in my hometown. I also like Rusty Knot in New York City because they serve pretzel hot dogs with extremely hot mustard, and all the sweet drinks are surprisingly good even though I don't usually like sweet drinks." —Akhtar Nawab (La Cenita)

"My favorite bar is Hollywood Alley in Tempe. I grew up in Arizona, and it's a total dive bar, old school, and totally me." —Brett Vibber (Roka Akor)

"'The tiki hut' on the beach in St. Thomas. It has stunningly beautiful views right on the beach and the best house infused cucumber and spice gin and tonic I've ever had." —Peter Coenen (The Gage)

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