The 25 best bars in the U.S. for a mint julep
A mint julep may not be your go-to drink on a typical Friday night, but when the Kentucky Derby gallops into Louisville each year, it becomes the only acceptable cocktail to sip — preferably while wearing a big hat and cheering your horse into the winner’s circle.
The drink, a refreshing combination of bourbon, mint, simple syrup, and crushed ice, has been the Derby’s official drink since 1938. And even revelers who won’t be in Kentucky for the big race will be downing them in solidarity across the country this weekend.
By now we know you’re ready to get in on the fun, but if you don’t want to make your own mint julep, where can you get a good one?
Yelp put together a list of the top 25 spots across the U.S. to find the perfect one, based on volume of reviews mentioning the drink, and the highest ratings. A maximum of two establishments were included per state to ensure geographic diversity. You know what that means: At least one of these places might be in partying distance, if you’re lucky.
25. Maxie’s — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Southern comfort food is the name of the game at Maxie’s, and nothing lightens up a heavy meal of shrimp and grits and barbecue ribs quite like an icy mint julep. One Yelp reviewer called them “boozy adult slushies (aka heaven).”
24. Crook's Corner — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The mint julep at Crook's Corner is a dessert as much as it is a drink — it comes frozen with a scoop of mint sorbet. As one Yelp reviewer put it: “Absolutely divine!”
23. Rex 1516 — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The mint juleps at Rex 1516 are strong and tasty, according to Yelp reviewers, and made by knowledgeable bartenders. And if you’re not in the mood for a cocktail, it also comes in dessert form, as a mint chocolate pot de creme with a macaroon on the side.
22. Hattie’s — Saratoga Springs, New York
Saratoga Springs knows all things horse racing, so it’s no surprise the upstate New York city has a spot on this list. The ice cold mint juleps with fresh mint will cool your mouth down after biting into the hot peppers on your table at Hattie's.
21. Eastern Standard — Boston, Massachusetts
The bartenders at Eastern Standard know their cocktails, and while they like to inspire you to try something new, according to Yelp reviewers, the mint juleps remain an old favorite. If you want mint julep vibes with a twist, try the Whiskey Smash, which one reviewer described as a mix between a julep and an old fashioned.
20. The Rarebit — Charleston, South Carolina
The mint juleps at Rarebit are served in traditional silver cups overflowing with ice and fresh mint. Pair one with their chicken and waffles and you’re ready to party, southern style.
19. Yardbird Southern Table & Bar — Miami Beach, Florida
The bourbon’s always flowing at Yardbird Southern Table in South Beach, where bartenders grind the mint juleps’ ice by hand for an extra chilled treat after a hot day in the sun. As one rather poetic Yelp reviewer wrote, “you can practically hear the thunder of hooves with your first sip.”
18. Toulouse Petit — Seattle, Washington
The cajun-creole spot Toulouse Petit serves up mint juleps with a kick, so slurp one down and then forgo the second in favor of a New Orleans beer. Before long, you’ll forget you’re in Seattle.
17. Julep — Houston, Texas
Julep tends to get packed, but grab a seat on the outdoor patio if you can and sip their namesake drink slowly — it blends two types of bourbon.
16. Moonshine Patio — Austin, Texas
Moonshine Patio serves complimentary cornbread that’s perfect for soaking up the bourbon in your stomach after you’ve put back a few too many mint juleps.
15. Kickin’ Boot Whiskey Kitchen — Seattle, Washington
Wash down your barbecue at Kickin' Boot with a refreshing mint julep that looks more like a snow cone, piled high with crushed ice.
14. Little Branch — New York, NY
A dark basement bar in Manhattan might not be what comes to mind when dreaming of a mint julep, but Little Branch serves up a great one that gets points for presentation and generosity of pour, according to Yelp reviewers.
13. Doc Crow’s — Louisville, Kentucky
If you’re not drinking a mint julep, are you even really in Louisville? The classic comes with a perfect summertime twist at Doc Crow’s, where they make a popular mint julep lemonade.
12. The Silver Dollar — Louisville, Kentucky
The top Louisville spot on the list, The Silver Dollar has a long list of bourbons and traditional mint juleps that don’t disappoint. The string light-adorned outdoor patio is the perfect spot for sipping one on a hot summer night.
11. Round Robin Bar — Washington, D.C.
Legend has it Kentucky’s Henry Clay introduced our nation’s capital to the mint julep at this very bar. So grab a seat and take a sip, because it’s not every day your cocktail comes with a side of history.
10. Green Dot Stables — Detroit, Michigan
A mint julep at Green Dot Stables will cost you just $3 — matching the price of the inventive list of sliders you can munch on along with it.
9. Chicago Q — Chicago, Illinois
Before tucking into some tried and true barbecue, start your meal with homemade chips, pickles, and a stiff mint julep. Just be careful: As one Yelp reviewer put it, “They give new meaning to ‘Hello, I’m Drunk.’”
8. Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf — Chicago, Illinois
One Yelp reviewer called the mint julep at Bavette’s both strong and gentle: “It was as if a big tough guy gave you a big massage before kicking you in the throat.” What more could you want in a cocktail?
7. Screen Door — Portland, Oregon
The mint julep at Screen Door combines Bulleit bourbon, muddled mint, and cane sugar, and the simplicity compliments the fried food you’ll be eating, from fried oysters to fried okra to fried buttermilk-battered chicken.
6. Khyber Pass Pub — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Come for happy hour and sip on a $5 frozen mint julep while snacking on their addicting bacon fat popcorn.
5. Oak Alley Plantation Restaurant — Vacherie, Louisiana
The mint juleps here come with variety: you can opt for a flight and try three flavors. Yelp reviewers recommend the frozen blackberry most of all.
4. Drink — Boston, Massachusetts
At Drink, there is no cocktail menu. Just tell the bartenders what you like and they’ll concoct something special for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t order an old classic — the carefully-crafted mint juleps are a go-to.
3. Cafe Orleans — Anaheim, California
Next time you’re at Disneyland, take a break from the kids and indulge in beignets and free refills on mint juleps at Cafe Orleans in the park’s festive New Orleans Square.
2. Lüke — New Orleans, Louisiana
Come to this flavorful New Orleans spot for the oyster happy hour, and stay for the mint juleps. If you just can’t tear yourself away from the sweet, minty treat, you can even take one to go.
1. Seven Grand — Los Angeles, California
The julep feels both exotic and familiar at the whiskey-centric Seven Grand. Made with Suntory Toki Blended Japanese Whiskey, simple syrup, and mint, it’s served with a traditional metallic cup and mint garnish.