There may not be an award for it in our annual World’s Best survey, but at Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards, a panel of expert judges gathers every year in New Orleans for the equivalent of the Oscars for the cocktail industry.
Nominees are leaders in the field recognized for their dedication and pursuit of excellence. Far from the average watering hole, these are the bars worth traveling for—where you know you’ll be served a top-notch cocktail in a rarified setting, with excellent service.
Without further ado, this year’s World’s Best Bar is the Dead Rabbit in New York City. Housed in a landmarked 19th century building in the Financial District, the Dead Rabbit’s looks belie the depth of its menu. On the ground floor, a rowdy neighborhood taproom draws investment bankers from the surrounding offices. Upstairs, in the cozy seating-room-only cocktail parlor, aficionados from all corners of the globe swig punches served in teacups and other creative libations.
The Dead Rabbit also took home the award for World’s Best Cocktail Menu and anyone who’s been there can understand why. Far from the average list, the menu here is a proper book with over sixty drinks to choose from, surrounded by illustrations that tell the story of Lewis M. Pease, a Five Points Missionary who became a social reformer in 19th-century lower Manhattan. Partners Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry drew inspiration from the area’s history as well as their experience at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, which was named World’s Best Cocktail Bar in 2010. Along with co-founder and head bartender Jillian Vose, they created their ideal vision of a sophisticated cocktail bar combined with the design and hospitality of an Irish tavern.
Some of our other favorite bars honored in the Spirited Awards include Employees Only in New York (Best American Bar Team and Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar), the Broken Shaker in Miami (Best American Hotel Bar), Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston (Best American Restaurant Bar), and ABV in San Francisco (Best New American Cocktail Bar). See the full list of winners here.
Laura Itzkowitz is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure. She likes her gin shaken, not stirred. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lauraitzkowitz.