California’s best places to drink can be found everywhere from the coast to the desert. From famous hotspots to hidden hideaways, from casual to classy, there are bars in every corner of California, some specializing in liquor, others offering creative cocktails or local brews. Here are our 10 favorites.
The 1833 bar in Monterey is a historical landmark that pays tribute to its history with a series of different rooms. It’s a great spot to try absinthe, with numerous bottles available and even tableside preparations sure to light you up.
A dive bar with an airspace theme, the Aero Club is off the beaten path but the bright neon sign will lead you in the right direction. Hundreds of bottles of whiskey are offered behind the bar. There are also really amazing prices.
If you can squeeze into the super tiny Black Horse London Pub, you’re in for a treat. The smallest bar in the city doesn’t have a traditional liquor license, but you can find bottled beers in an ice-filled claw foot tub as well as the same type of décor usually found in pubs of more average size.
Skip the disco and celebrate Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, a 70s-style bar. Kind of like a big backyard party, you can chill on a patio and grab a drink from the trailer as you groove to the sounds of the BeeGees.
The Prizefighter in Emeryville isn’t just one of the best bars in California, it has even been named one of the best bars in the country by Food & Wine magazine. Simple cocktails, local beers and even pitchers are made even better by reasonable prices.
Bosscat Kitchen and Libations is not only a great place to grab a gourmet burger, it’s also a great spot to drink. Head to the Whiskey Room, which houses hundreds of whiskies, bourbon and scotch options. Each month features a different cocktail and choice of libation and there are regular whiskey tastings.
Since the 1950s, Casa Bar has been a cozy place to grab a cocktail. Get in your casual best and head over for a drink and to state at Orange County’s finest locals. Enjoy a carefully crafted cocktail and live music as you enjoy excellent people watching.
Head to The Whiskey House in San Diego’s Gaslamp District to enjoy your choice of whiskey from a selection of over 600 bottles, along with a vast variety of beers and creative and classic cocktails. And housemade charcuterie, cheeses, snacks and more help soak up the alcohol.
Live music, low prices and an American Southern inspired menu make the Shady Lady Saloon a spot to stop. Head into a quiet corner and toss back an Old-Fashioned, the most popular drink.
Smuggler’s Cove is big on the tiki trend. Or maybe they just never got over it. Either way, Smuggler’s Cove is a great spot to drink rum because they have a lot of it. Enjoy it in one of the 70 different cocktails on the menu or try just rum, because they have over 400 types. In fact, there’s more rum than room as the place is pretty small.