15 Best Bourbon Bars In The US

Things come and go, but the bourbon craze just seems to get hotter with no signs of slowing down. Bourbon whiskey in America has a long history that is often disputed. There is no doubt that it originated in Kentucky. Still, some say it was called "Kentucky whiskey" rather than bourbon until the Tarascon brothers from France, who settled in Louisville, Kentucky, in the 19th century, tasted it and brought it to New Orleans. According to this story, the bars on Bourbon Street in New Orleans started serving unique-tasting whiskey, and customers would ask for "bourbon street whiskey." Eventually, we would have the permanent name, bourbon whiskey, with Kentucky being the number one place to distill it. However, others say bourbon got its name from where it's distilled in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Either way, you should tip your hat to Kentucky for the creation of bourbon whiskey. 

Today, bourbon is served in just about every bar in the form of an old fashioned, on the rocks, or neat. As with many things in life, some bars stand out among the rest. There are many kinds of whiskeys, but true connoisseurs search high and low for bars and bartenders who understand their passion and enthusiasm for rare and excellent bourbons. The following list is a sample of some of the best bourbon bars in the US. Happy sipping.

Delilah's, Chicago

Come for the music and stay for the bourbon at Delilah's in Chicago. Delilah's draws fans not only for its impressive bourbon list but for its generous music offerings as well. Nearly every night of the week, you can enjoy their nightly "spins", including punk rock music, Deliliah's rock-n-roll jukebox, metal, rockabilly, and more, all put on by DJs. If you need a little encouragement to get on the dance floor, Delilah's has you covered.

Located in the sought-after Lincoln Park area of the city, the bar has a list of whiskeys boasting over 800 different bottles. You won't see any type of whiskey missing, either. Scotch, Irish, Japanese, Canadian, UK, and of course, bourbon are all available. Delilah's has stood the test of time, opening in 1933, and has remained stellar ever since.

Proof, Omaha

With hundreds of bourbon choices, there is something for everyone at Proof Whiskey Bar in Omaha. From the moment you walk in, you are taken back to a time of the speakeasy and prohibition, although a password isn't required. Somehow Proof pulls off a nostalgic vibe with the realization that you're in an urban, upscale bar that knows how to make a cocktail, whether it's the latest trend or something that has been on drink menus since before you and maybe even your grandparents were born. 

Bourbons are priced at 2 ounces and range from $7 for Cooper's Chase to $44 for 2 ounces of Jim Beam Masterpiece PX Finish and everything in between. With nearly 140 bourbon choices, you'll be satisfied, and if you bring a friend who wants something other than bourbon, they'll be impressed as well by Proof's extensive drink menus.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon, Washington D.C.

Prepare to stare in awe as you are surrounded by bourbon when you walk into the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, DC. The atmosphere is sophisticated, with dark cherry wood all around and walls of spirits, namely whiskey. They don't offer a whiskey menu; instead, Jack Rose Dining Saloon offers what they call their "whiskey book." It'll be the best book you've ever read with 67 pages...yes 67 pages of Scotch, American whiskey, International whiskey, Rye, bourbon, and rare bottles. 

The rare bottlings include Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23-year, Colonel E.H Taylor Warehouse C Limited Release, and A.H. Hirsch, just to give you a small sampling of the kind of experience you'll find at this fine establishment. Not to worry if you can't afford $800 for a 2-ounce taste of a lifetime. Jack Rose's has possibly one of the largest whiskey offerings you'll ever see, and there is something in every price range. Plus, their food menu is just as impressive, with things like steak tartare, lamb Bolognese, and a bison ribeye.

Canon, Seattle

Canon in Seattle has impressively been voted one of the best restaurants and one of the best bars in the US, several times over. The accolades are too many to list and include recognition from Travel and Leisure, James Beard awards, Food and Wine, and Drinks International. It's one thing to be known as one of the country's best bourbon bars and but to be known for outstanding food as well is quite an achievement. 

The scene at Canon's bar is nothing short of stunning. Whiskey bottles tend to hold their own when it comes to creating ambiance and beauty, and Canon knows how to take advantage of that with floor-to-ceiling bar shelves full of whiskey and other fine spirits. The tin ceiling and ladder behind the bar used to reach top-shelf bottles create a vibe that makes you dream of the old west when the bartender would slide your bourbon down the bar right to you (feel free to ask). After an excellent bourbon to kick off an evening at Canon, try to resist the dinner menu, which makes clear why they were a James Beard semi-finalist from 2013-2017.

Miller House, Owensboro

The Miller House is rich in history, just like the tiny town in which it resides, Owensboro, Kentucky. Located in Owensboro's historic district, the Miller house is truly an old house that serves up southern-style food and houses a bourbon-focused bar. As the story goes, the old house was built by Elmer and Lizzy Miller in 1905, and supposedly, Elmer built part of it using molds he ordered from the Sears, Roebuck, and Company, which he then filled with sand straight from the Ohio River to create fake stones for the house. 

Inside, enjoy the charm of southern hospitality as you dine in rooms that used to be a dining room or sitting area. When you arrive, you'll be swept back to the antebellum era with the home's sprawling front porch and gorgeous old architecture. Enjoy a meal and then head to a lower level where the bourbon-focused bar carries over 600 different bourbons.

Barrell Proof, New Orleans

Barrel Proof calls itself a neighborhood joint, and that describes them perfectly. As soon as you enter, you'll feel at home, thanks to the casual, "come as you are" vibe. Old, worn wood floors, cowhide rugs, and burnt wood paneling all beckon you to relax. Even the barstools are a traditional, vintage style, and sit at a gorgeous bar that boasts who knows how many whiskies since they admit that they stopped counting at 390 bottles. Who can blame them? 

You won't find the full whiskey list online; however, when you take a seat at the bar, you are welcome to peruse the entire thing, which promises to carry some of the smoothest bourbons of all time. Barrel Proof continually varies its stock with new, limited editions, single barrel picks, baller whiskies, and even the occasional surprise like a Pappy Van Winkle. They are also known for making a damn good cocktail and carry plenty of craft beers for your beer-drinking buddies.

The Century Bar, Dayton

The word "century" suits this classic bourbon bar located in Dayton, Ohio that will take you back in time. Dark stained wood and Tiffany-style lighting make The Century Bar the perfect place for a romantic evening out or a quiet place to hide away from it all. Best of all, The Century is known for its extensive bourbon offerings. They are continually updating and adding more bottles of whiskey, including Scotch, bourbon, American whiskey, international whiskey, and rye. 

Recently, The Century Bar added an upstairs area that is designated as a venue space, and the design is beautiful with mahogany wood and what they call "blank canvas" walls so customers can create the atmosphere they desire when using the space. The Century's vibe is sophisticated, hip, and vintage, all rolled into one fabulous bourbon bar.

The Copper Still, New York City

The Copper Still in New York City combines a family-friendly atmosphere with one of the best bourbon collections in the US. The goal when the Copper Still opened was to create a family-style Irish pub with an excellent whiskey collection, and they did just that. The three owners all live in New York but are originally from Ireland, so they know a thing or two about Irish pubs. The food menu offers traditional yet upscale bar-style food as well as yummy family-favorite Irish dishes like shepherd's pie.

With over 300 whiskies, you won't have any trouble finding your favorite bourbon or trying something new, and The Copper Still is known for having some fun surprises like a hard-to-get bourbon (hello, Pappy Van Winkle).

Twisted Spoke, Chicago

At first, you won't notice when walking by the Twisted Spoke in Chicago that this bar has one of the best bourbon collections you can find in the city. From the outside, it looks innocent enough, like your basic biker bar, but when you step in, you'll immediately see that the owner takes bourbon seriously. The bar is lined with bottles, and because of the way it's designed, no matter where you sit in the bar area, you can have some fun scouring through the labels to see what there is.

The Twisted Spoke is a rare Chicago find with a rooftop area in the summer, and besides the city's largest whiskey collection, they also have the third largest beer collection that boasts about 190 choices. The food menu is a ton of fun with items like biscuits and heart attack gray and popcorn with bacon, which includes popcorn, bacon, and a bourbon glaze. You don't go to Twisted Spoke to encourage your diet; however, you go for a good time, great food, and the ultimate in bourbon choices.

Bluegrass Tavern, Lexington

Bluegrass and bourbon go hand in hand, and where better to find both than in Lexington, Kentucky? Bluegrass Tavern isn't just one of the best bourbon bars in the US, but they're a whiskey bar known for carrying rare bourbons, and have been a bourbon bar from the beginning, unlike many bars that converted to bourbon after the spirit started to boom.

Bluegrass Tavern just so happens to have the largest bourbon collection in Kentucky, and that's saying a lot for the bourbon state. Besides its incredible collection of fine bourbons, the bar has a classic style with the bottles of whiskey taking center stage, although they pride themselves in making sure there is something for everyone, not just bourbon. Beer, whiskey, and other drinks are listed on chalkboards behind the bar. Bluegrass is also proud of its staff, consisting of servers who know and understand the bourbon industry and are happy to help guests find the best one to suit their palate.

Merle's Whiskey Kitchen, Louisville

Once in Louisville, you'll be in the mood for bourbon as you're surrounded by world-renowned distilleries such as Angel's Envy and Old Forester. It isn't tough to find a watering hole downtown; however, Merle's Whiskey Kitchen is one to not be missed as it's one of the best bourbon bars in Louisville and conveniently on the official bourbon trail. Their accolades are many and include being certified by the Stave & Thief Society, which shows in the knowledge of bourbon the staff has at Merle's. 

If you're walking or driving by, you can't help but be drawn to the classic look of Merle's with its white-painted brick exterior and sharp black columns at the entrance. Once inside, you'll know you're in a special building that has its share of stories, just like most places in Louisville. The exposed brick walls, black bar stools, and dark wood bar remind you of an old western, which isn't surprising since Merle's calls itself an old whiskey hall, not just a bar. Their bourbon list is extensive, and the food menu full of southern comfort dishes is well worth it even if you aren't into bourbon (you will be after a day in Louisville). If you dig live music, Merle's has its share of that as well, with booked gigs every weekend so customers can dance, sing, enjoy bourbon and plenty of other drinks, and feel right at home no matter where they're from.

Amsden Bourbon Bar, Versailles

The Amsden Bourbon Bar is more than a bar and is highly respected for their incredible food menu as well as an impressive list of bourbons, wine, and other spirits. The bar is located in lovely, historical Versailles, Kentucky, a town that makes you feel like you've time traveled to Mayberry, USA. Once inside Amsden, you are welcomed with smiling faces and comfy surroundings of the old Amsden building, which was originally the site of an old tavern called Watkin's Tavern, and today remains one of the oldest downtown buildings in Versailles.

If you happen to be in town on a Tuesday, Amsden regularly has "Tasting Tuesdays," where you might try a bourbon you have a hard time finding at your local liquor store, such as Blanton's Gold or Buffalo Trace. On any night of the week, stop in and enjoy a traditional old fashioned or one of their specials, like a gingerbread old fashioned around the holidays and "Galentine's" drinks in February.

The Blind Barbour, Raleigh

If you're looking to chill out, The Blind Barbour in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the place to do it. It's not quiet and boring by any means, but super casual and just an easy place to kick back. You're surrounded by warm wood all around the bar, and a gorgeous antique mirror hangs behind the hundreds of bottles of bourbon, setting them off as not just something to drink, but works of art.

The bourbon list is long, and they, of course, offer any kind of cocktail you desire. The Blind Barbour is one of those unexpected hidden gems, tucked away in a shopping center; it's easy to miss if you don't know it's there. Thankfully, their reputation precedes them, and the Blind Barbour is now known as one of the country's best bourbon bars, making it tough to hide.

Seven Grand, Denver

Seven Grand is a class act and a newer whiskey bar at about 16 years old. Located in hip Denver, they began with the goal of wanting to attract not only seasoned whiskey drinkers but newbies as well, and also those who simply want to enjoy a great cocktail. You can tell that every decision made by the owners at Seven Grand is based on quality. That's why they offer membership in the "Whiskey Society," which gives members the opportunity to attend unique tastings where they hear from Master Distillers and other notable members of the liquor community. Whiskey education is important at Seven Grand, and you'll notice it in the staff of knowledgeable servers who can steer you in the right direction when selecting a bourbon or any other drink.

But don't worry; it's not all about learning and tasting. Music and bourbon go well together, and there is plenty of live music at Seven Grand, as well as pool tables to help you unwind after a long week.

The Quiet Few, Boston

Big things come in small packages, and The Quiet Few in Boston proves that to be true. The place is packed on the weekend because of its impressive whiskey menu, which includes plenty of bourbons from Angel's Envy to Woodford, as well as Scotch whisky, Rye, Irish whiskey, and Japanese whisky. And it's not just the whiskey bringing people in. The Quiet Few feels like a local pub because it is, but you may feel like an outsider if you live in Boston. The staff is friendly, and so is the regular crowd.

If you get hungry or need to fill your stomach so you can taste more bourbon, you'll find the usual pub food, which is a step above most pubs. For starters, the burgers aren't just burgers — they're smash burgers that are well-seasoned and marinated in bourbon before cooking. They also offer poutine fries, grilled pickles, and too many other mouthwatering dishes to mention. The Quiet Few has combined upscale whiskey with downhome comfort food, and customers couldn't be happier.