13 Whiskey Bars In America Known For Their Rare Bottles

As one of the most beloved and popular spirits in the world, whiskey offers a world of discovery. Flavors, production methods, age, and production regions are a cause of fascination among whiskey fans, and its popularity keeps growing. In 2021, 76 million 9-liter cases of whiskey were sold in the United States, a number that has increased every year since 2010, as per Statista.

So what makes whiskey so exciting? For starters, there are a few technicalities to know. According to Britannica, whiskey is made with a fermented mash of cereal grains, such as rye, wheat, barley, and corn, and aged in wooden barrels (usually oak). It's usually the variations in the type of grain and the production region that set different types of whiskey apart. As for the (sometimes confusing) spelling? The United States and Ireland generally spell whiskey with an e, whereas Scotland and Canada will drop it and spell it "whisky."

There are endless facts and nuances to learn, like the difference between whiskey and bourbon (answer: a bourbon mash must contain at least 51% corn, and it has to be produced in the United States to qualify as such), but there is no better way to dive into them than at a whiskey bar. The U.S. has plenty of fantastic spots, and we've rounded up several that stand out because of their spectacular bottle selection, including rare bottles that may be hard to find anywhere else.

The Whisky Bar in Seattle

Born in 2001 as a local hangout, The Whisky Bar has gained a solid reputation over the years thanks to its ever-growing whiskey collection, which now has more than 500 bottles. While the number may sound intimidating, bottles are classified by region on the menu, allowing guests to navigate it calmly and ask all kinds of questions to the knowledgeable staff. The Scotch section itself shows bottles by region, too, like the Highlands and Campbeltown. From Speyside, you'll find jewels from The Macallan, such as its Editions #5 and #6. Head to Islay for interesting finds from Bruichladdich, like its Black Art 7.1 and 9.1 editions.

Irish, Canadian, and Japanese whiskys also make an appearance at this bar. Lovers of Japanese whisky will be delighted to find treasures like a Mars Komagatake 2018 Single Malt and a Suntory Yamazaki 18-year. When it comes to American whiskey, there is a great selection that includes bourbon and rye. In fact, a visit to The Whisky Bar is the perfect opportunity to try local creations, such as Woodinville rye whiskey and Chambers Bay bourbon.

The bar's flights are an excellent way to explore its offerings. Choose the theme that inspires you most, from a Local Flight, with regional whiskeys, to a World Flight, which may feature whiskeys from India or Wales. Another way to go? Cocktails. The Earl's Old Fashioned (with Earl Grey-infused Elijah Craig bourbon, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and lemon bitters) is perfect for a rainy Seattle evening.

Bluegrass Tavern in Lexington

With more than 1,200 different bourbons, The Bluegrass Tavern is a veritable temple of bourbon, with what is quite possibly the largest bourbon collection in the state of Kentucky, according to owner Sean Ebbitt. Its long bar, relaxed vibe, and approachable staff make this an ideal place for taking a deep dive into the world of this spirit, whether you're a hard-core fan or a beginner learning about the different types of whiskey. You can start your exploration with one of the bar's custom flights, or even book a private tasting for you and your friends.

Those looking for rare bottles will be fascinated to hunt for treasures at The Bluegrass Tavern. Highlights include an EH Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving, a 1983 Eagle Rare, a Heaven Hill 27-year, and a Rittenhouse Rye 23-year. And if it's cocktails you're into, rumor has it that you'll find the best Old Fashioned in town here. The bar also offers 16 craft beers on tap, plus spirits like vodka, rum, and tequila.

Longman & Eagle in Chicago

Ruled by an "Eat, Sleep, Whiskey" philosophy, Longman & Eagle puts a modern twist on the classic Chicago inn experience. This Logan Square spot features six cozy rooms with cool, urban decor, as well as a restaurant focused on local and regional ingredients. The menu offers delights such as pork neck meatballs, strip steak, and peanut butter pie.

But let's talk about whiskey. Longman & Eagle, beloved for its rowdy yet low-key atmosphere, is home to a 900-bottle collection, featuring Scotch, bourbon, and rye, plus whiskeys and whiskys from Japan, Ireland, and Canada. House treasures include Heaven Hill 27-year, Old Forester '79, Old Forester Barrel Reserve '96 Olympic edition, and Very Old Fitzgerald BiB 8-year '58.

Treat yourself to one of their flights, like the Rye like an Eagle or the Just Barrely, or ask the friendly bar staff about the team's daily whiskey selection. There are currently 24 bottles available at $3 per shot. Need more convincing? Longman & Eagle is a constant presence in the Michelin Bib Gourmand list.

The Silver Dollar in Louisville

In the mid-1930s, California's Central Valley welcomed a large Southern population who moved West in search of a better life. The Dust Bowl migration brought people from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas to the Golden State, who bonded together in this new home. One of the cultural results of this migration was Bakersfield Sound country music, which sounded best when played in a honky-tonk. It's this period in time, this music, and these people who inspire The Silver Dollar.

This Louisville bar boasts more than 400 expressions of bourbon. In the beginning, it was dedicated entirely to Kentucky whiskey, bourbon, and rye, but today, guests can find bourbon from outside Kentucky as well. According to owner Shawn Cantley, the bar may have the world's largest collection of house-selected single-barrel bourbons. Bourbon darlings like Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey, and Elijah Craig are part of this selection.

In keeping with the bar's "Southerners-in-Southern-California" spirit, the bar also boasts a large collection of agave spirits, including a house single-barrel reposado tequila aged in a bourbon barrel. Southern specialties like Texas-style chili and a catfish sandwich grace the food menu, while the speakers play Bakersfield sound country music on vinyl.

Village Whiskey in Philadelphia

When chef José Garcés opened Village Whiskey, he wanted to create a place where he and his team could hang out and relax after their shift. He also wanted to pay tribute to whiskey, his favorite spirit. The result is a casual, welcoming spot that boasts more than 200 different whiskey bottles on its menu, including American bourbon and rye, Scotch, Irish, and Japanese whiskys, plus small-batch and reserve labels. Exciting highlights include Chicken Cock Bourbon and Rye (the original Cotton Club's house whiskey during Prohibition), The Macallan Rare Cask, and Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

The menu's Once It's Gone section is perfect for those on the hunt for rarities, as it highlights bottles that might not be available anywhere else — and might run dry soon. A variety of whiskey flights also offer the chance to explore the house selection, like the single malt-themed For Peat's Sake, or the Rye Not, featuring three different ryes.

A visit to Village Whiskey isn't complete without trying one of its burgers, considered by many to be the best in Philly. The Village Burger, the Smash Burger, or the ever-popular Burger of the Month will make for a very comforting pairing with your whiskey of choice.

Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas

The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino is home to Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse, which honors the iconic New Orleans restaurant with its name and the Creole touches on its menu. Diners come to Delmonico for the spectacular steak offerings, featuring Creekstone Farm cuts that are dry-aged in-house and Japanese Wagyu. It's one of the best steakhouses in Las Vegas. But there's another major reason to visit Emeril's elegant Vegas outpost, and that's the restaurant's impressive wine program — a winner of Wine Spectator's Grand Award — and whiskey collection. With more than 700 whiskeys, Delmonico boasts one of the largest collections in the entire country.

Delmonico's fantastic selection offers a variety of whiskeys, presented by region, and some precious finds such as a Pappy Van Winkle 13-year Rye, a Talker 30-year, a Jura 35-year, a Chivas Regal 62 Gun Salute, and an Ardberg Supernova. The restaurant's spirit collection also boasts premium tequilas and mezcals.

The Flatiron Room in New York City

Many places in New York claim to be classics. The Flatiron Room can confidently boast this status, a bar both beloved and respected since it opened in 2012 — particularly by whiskey lovers. Over the past few years, the bar has won several accolades, including Best Whiskey Bar in America in 2021 by Whisky Magazine.

The space is infused with glamour yet allows for fun and lively nights, thanks to live music performances and friendly staff that is glad to guide you along your whiskey journey. And it is a journey, indeed. The bar stocks around 1,000 different whiskey expressions, and boasts rare bottles such as The Macallan 30-year, The Glenlivet 1964 Cellar Collection, Knappogue Castle 1951, Glenmorangie Pride 1978, and rare bottlings from closed distilleries. Cocktail lovers will find plenty to love at The Flatiron Room, home to one of the best Boulevardiers in town.

Frequent guests who fall in love with a particular bottle can purchase it and store it at the bar by becoming members of the Bottle Keep program. This program allows guests to enjoy their bottles, and then leave them safely tagged and stored, waiting for their next visit. The bar also offers Spirits classes in the private tasting room, where curious drinkers can learn about everything from the basics of whiskey to the ideal whiskey and chocolate pairings for Valentine's Day.

Saloon in Somerville

With its hand-carved mahogany details, leather banquettes, and Tiffany chandeliers, the pre-Prohibition vibes are strong at this speakeasy, which you can access by crossing through 17th-century cathedral doors. Its whiskey selection, featuring more than 120 varieties, makes it an excellent spot for exploring and tasting, whether it's by trying its rotating flights, or perhaps by trying one of its cocktails. Recent creations include the Hemingway on Rye (rye, Allspice Dram, coconut, fig, and lime), and you can always count on the friendly bartenders to whip up something that fits your taste, including excellent Old Fashioned and Manhattans.

Some of the rare bottles found at Saloon include Jefferson's Ocean Aged at Sea Bourbon — which is aged inside traveling ships — and a BenRiach 2001 cask strength only found in the state. Bar snacks and small plates, like salmon tartare, oysters, and buttermilk fried chicken, make this friendly spot a favorite for dates and group hangouts. The bar also offers a selection of wine and beer. Adventurous drinkers will love Saloon's shot roulette: let the bartender choose your shot, and you choose the beer to chase it with.

Delilah's in Chicago

A Chicago staple since 1993, Delilah's is a musical and artistic hub, hosting art openings and DJ nights. It is also home to an amazing whiskey collection, made up of more than 800 whiskeys from 15 countries around the world. The selection features whiskey and whisky from Canada, India, Japan, and the U.K., as well as American craft whiskeys, bourbons from all styles and eras, and a wide variety of ryes. When it comes to Scotch, you will find whisky from every region and style available, with more than 70 distilleries represented. Most excitingly, the bar boasts its own bourbon, Scotch, and rye, which you can only drink by visiting Delilah's.

Beer is another big deal here, with more than 200 beer and cider varieties, plus seasonal options throughout the year. Delilah's is also a beloved spot for Buffalo Bills fans, who get together on Sundays at the bar to cheer for their team. The bar is one of around 400 Bills Backers chapters nationwide, becoming a home-away-from-home for Buffalo ex-pats or traveling Bills fans.

Seven Grand in Los Angeles

Born from its founding team's love for whiskey, Seven Grand arrived on the Los Angeles scene more than a decade ago. Its impressive whiskey collection — one of the largest on the West Coast — offers bottles from all around the world, including Australia, Taiwan, and Oregon. Collection highlights include Ardbeg 25-year, Hibiki 30-year, Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel, and Old Forester Birthday bourbon. Pool tables, live music, and attentive staff create a lively atmosphere, perfect for a night out with friends. Whiskey-based cocktails, like Old Fashioneds and whiskey sours, are a definitive highlight.

Serious whiskey aficionados will love to learn that Seven Grand is home to the Whiskey Society program, which gives members access to tastings with Master Distillers and Brand Ambassadors. And there's more. The bar actually hides a Japanese-style speakeasy within, called Bar Jackalope. This low-lit, intimate bar welcomes 18 guests and boasts 120 whiskey varieties.

Seven Grand has three more locations, in Austin, Denver, and San Diego.

Canon in Seattle

You might have a hard time deciding where to look when you visit Canon. The bar's walls are lined with shelves, which in turn are stocked with more than 4,000 labels (and counting), making Canon the proud owner of the largest selection of spirits on the planet. And how does one approach this world of possibilities? Well, by browsing their impressive 184-page spirits menu, of course. Out of these, 130 pages are dedicated only to whiskey, and more than 12 focus on the bar's vintage collection, which actually has more bottles than the bourbon museum in Kentucky. Other beauties you'll encounter at Canon include pours from the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society Collection, which are single-cask, single-malt bottlings.

With a collection like this, it makes sense that the bar has won numerous awards, including World's Best Spirit Selection at Tales of the Cocktail in 2015 and 2017, No. 6 on The World's 50 Best Bars in 2014, and one of the Best Cocktail Bars in the USA by Tasting Table in 2014. Need another cool reason to go? Every single piece of wood on its bar boasts stains of Angostura bitters.

Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library in Portland, OR

Exposed brick walls, leather sofas, and tables with vintage banker's lamps set the mood for not-so-serious learning at the Multnomah Whisk(e)y Library. This impressive space holds more than 1,200 bottles on its walls, which bartenders reach using ladders, just like at an old-school library. It is estimated that 1,200 of these bottles are whiskeys, hailing from different regions of the world, although the bar's collection is in constant evolution, thanks to the addition of new items or the discontinuation of others. Some of the most unique offerings you can find here are the Pappy Van Winkle line and other Buffalo Trace Antique Collection items, plus rare bottles such as The Macallan M, Double Eagle Very Rare, and A.H. Hirsch Reserve 16-year.

In keeping with the library spirit, this bar is membership-based. However, non-members and walk-in guests are always welcome to pop by. Bar culture fans will appreciate the roving bar carts used to carry their flights and stirred cocktails right to their table.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, D.C.

With the largest whiskey collection in the Western Hemisphere, Jack Rose Dining Saloon boasts more than 2,700 different bottles from around the world. In fact, you head to their website and check out where the number is currently at. This means that there are countless options for exploring, from an impressive selection of single-malt Scotch to international bottles hailing from Canada, Ireland, and Japan, plus lesser-known yet intriguing labels from South Korea and Mexico.

Rarities found at Jack Rose include vintage Willett Family Estate single barrel bourbons, as well as Jack Rose's exclusive in-house single barrel picks, which you can only try at the bar. These include more than five dozen of the bar's hand-picked, branded private barrels, featuring bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, and even absinthe. Jack Rose is also one of the few "Society Spots" in the United States, meaning they pour exclusive expressions from the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society.

Guests can explore these marvels through tasting flights, like the Dram Around the World, which features a selection of international pours. Cocktails are perfect for tasting, too. There is even a selection of cocktails made with Jack Rose Single Barrel whiskeys, like a Sazerac with Stellum Rye Jack & Rose Ace Beverage Single Barrel Rye. To round up the experience, Jack Rose boasts solid bar food and dinner offerings, including favorites like fried mac and cheese and deviled eggs.