Drinks

Wild Turkeys

Where to drink on Thanksgiving Eve, the busiest bar night of the year
Photo: Courtesy of GreenRiver
Stirred Cocktails at GreenRiver

It's once again time to bust out your turkey-carving skills, gorge on stuffing and pie, and be thankful for your family and loved ones.. But the unsung hero of Thanksgiving that we should really be thankful for is the bar we get to drink at the night before.

Thanksgiving Eve is the busiest bar night of the year. Whether you're catching up with old friends or trying to escape some of your more abrasive relatives, heading to the bar supports both, and there's no work the next day (except for the host who starts prepping at dawn). Not to mention, Thanksgiving dinner happens to be some of the best hangover food that ever existed.

So here are a few bars you should belly up to this Thanksgiving Eve, broken down by preferred holiday poison.

New York City

For the cocktail snob:
The Ship
From the owners of Little Branch, this hidden-in-plain-sight speakeasy on Lafayette Street serves classic and experimental cocktails in a nautical-themed basement bar. Its concealed entrance and large floorplan mean there's a good chance of getting a seat, with table service to boot.

For the wino:
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
Sommelier Fabien Suquet and the creators of Experimental Cocktail Club bring us this cozy Centre Street wine bar. Offering 500-plus wines, about 70 percent of which are from France, the dark Nolita outpost has a vibe that is a mix between a Parisian wine bar and a neighborhood gem—a welcome respite from the sometimes-hectic nature of its Soho neighbors. Sit at the bar and try one of its 16 on-tap wines poured out of two stainless-steel-and-glass enomatic machines and try a small plate like rabbit leg confit with beets and sherry sabayon.

For the beer geek:
TØRST
Chef Daniel Burns and Danish brewmaster Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø's Greenpoint beer bar is a beer lover's playground, complete with a Flux Capacitor tap system and brews from both Bjergsø brothers' breweries (Evil Twin and Mikkeller). If you're already feeling hungry thinking about Thanksgiving dinner, slip through the back door into chef Burns' 26-seat restaurant, Luksus, for a unique tasting menu that offers a beer pairing.

Beer and the flux capacitor at Torst | Photos: Tasting Table

Chicago

For the cocktail snob:
GreenRiver
The talent behind NYC's Dead Rabbit brings their cocktail mixing to Chicago in this Irish-American-inspired bar. Grab a cocktail that will put you in the holiday mood, like the Lake Whiskey, made with rye whiskey, cranberry, cinnamon and port.

For the wino:
Seven Lions
Alpana Singh of The Boarding House has opened her second restaurant across from the Art Institute, and it boasts a wine list of more than 200 bottles, predominantly from the United States. Most of her by-the-bottle selections are under $100, with many great options from producers like Au Bon Climat and Cristom ringing in around the $60 price point.

For the beer geek:
Haymarket Pub & Brewery
With seasonally rotating taps like the spiced Belgian Wit, there's something sure to get you in the holiday spirit. If the drafts aren't sparking your interest, the pub offers an impressive bottle list with more than 80 brews, both domestic and imported.

Los Angeles

For the cocktail snob:
The Chestnut Club
Sometimes the best remedy for holiday stress is a glass of straight whiskey, and, luckily, this Santa Monica bar sports a brown-spirits list that reads like a novel. If straight booze feels like you're jumping the gun a little, its cocktail program has a solid list of subtly skewed classics sure to loosen up your relative-related woes.

For the wino:
Bar Bandini
This new Echo Park bar caters to those who love funky, natural wines, with a rotating selection of eight on tap.

For the beer geek:
Beachwood BBQ (Long Beach)
This award-winning brewpub has an intimidating draft list that's all operated through owner Gabe Gordon's intricate Flux Capacitor tap system. While you're sampling your way through the massive selection, you can also stuff your face with baby back ribs and fried green tomatoes, because, you know, you need to stretch your stomach for the marathon of eating you plan to do Thursday, right?

RELATED   The 20 Best Openings Around the U.S. »

San Francisco

For the cocktail snob:
Coqueta
Michael Chiarello's Spanish restaurant on Pier 5 has a little sister: an adjacent no-reservation cocktail bar that mixes up some of the tastiest libations around the Bay. Gather a few of your old friends and order a porron of sherry-based punch, served in a 500-milliliter traditional Spanish vessel made to pass around a group.

For the wino:
RN74
RN74 has nearly 2,000 selections with strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux and California. With an impressive selection of verticals, this is a place for splurging—especially if you're a collector. But there are plenty of options under $100, too, from the restaurant's hand-selected Fall Market section of the wine list.

For the beer geek:
Mikkeller Bar
So far, it's the only stateside brick-and-mortar location from brewmaster Mikkel Borg Bjergsø's, and it's worth a visit to try one of his always-interesting experiments. On Wednesday, you'll be just in time to sample the just-tapped, limited-release Mission Chinese Food beer, brewed with Sichuan peppercorns.

Photo: Courtesy of Mikkeller Bar SF

Washington D.C.

For the cocktail snob:
Stanton & Greene
Head to Capitol Hill to try one of Erik Holzherr's 1930s-inspired cocktails like a Rusty Nail or a white bourbon punch.

For the wino:
Nopa Kitchen + Bar
This Penn Quarter brasserie has put together a seriously fun, very affordable list with categories like Austria, Alsace, Germany and Those Aroused. It has an affordable and extensive by-the-glass program, too, split pretty evenly between Old and New World selections.

For the beer geek:
ChurchKey
Sitting atop Logan Circle restaurant Birch & Barley, this beloved beer bar boasts a list of 555 brews. And with four-ounce sample sizes available, you can knock out a big chunk of that list while stretching out your time away from your sister-in-law.

Houston

For the cocktail snob:
Spare Key
The owners of Midtown's celebrated Cook & Collins restaurant along with mixologist Chris Frankel have opened this dark cocktail nook located on top of the restaurant. The pared-down list takes simple approaches to classics and also offers a "tell us how you're feeling and we'll turn that into a drink" approach to making cocktails.

For the wino:
Public Services
We already know that beverage director Justin Vann loves sherry (and it's reflected on the list here), but Public Services also a has formidable selection of Madeiras and ports. On the nonfortified side, he has a primarily Old World selection, with many bottles ringing in at less than $60. In the mood for an Italian red? Grab a bottle from sommelier favorite ArPePe.

For the beer geek:
Flying Saucer
This Southern landmark has long been one of the forerunners of leading beer bars throughout Texas and its outlying neighbors. Offering close to 100 beers on draft with a constantly rotating selection, there's something for the most astute beer nerd to the patron who just needs some holiday cheer in a relaxed pub.

Austin

For the cocktail snob:
Geraldine's
Located on the fourth floor of Hotel Van Zandt, the Davis Street restaurant offers seasonally focused cocktails alongside views of Lady Bird Lake and live music most nights.

For the wino:
Finn & Porter
Situated inside the Hilton downtown, the restaurant has a selection for the beginner to easily navigate, as it's listed in order of intensity, moving from light and breezy sparklers to robust and concentrated reds. You can find many bottles (mostly New World) around the $40 to $50 mark.

For the beer geek:
Banger's Sausage House & Beer Garden
Claiming to have the largest tap wall in Austin, the Rainey Street District beer garden has more than 100 beers on tap. It offers a menu of house-made sausages that even includes links for your dog, so feel free to take your faithful four-legged friend along.

Photo: Courtesy of Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden

Miami

For the cocktail snob:
Repour
Located in the lobby of South Beach's Albion Hotel, Isaac Grillo's cocktail bar uses ingredients grown in the hotel's garden to create unexpected infusions and seasonal cocktails. The drinks are listed on a big chalkboard and organized by the rooms of a home, such as the Smoked Almond from the sitting room, which uses chicory pecan bitters and house-made almond syrup.

For the wino:
The Dutch
James Beard Award winner Andrew Carmellini's new American restaurant has a worldly wine list that covers all territories and price ranges. Since it's a time for celebration, treat yourself to one of the many grower Champagnes or a selection off the Fine and Rare By the Glass section that includes 1er Cru White Burgundy, 2009 Chateau Margaux and 2003 Penfolds Grange Bin 95–from magnum.

For the beer geek:
Boxelder Craft Beer Market
This husband-and-wife-owned craft beer market in Miami's Wynwood District is part bottle shop, part taproom. While 20 rotating taps are reserved specifically for Florida beers, you can pick from a vast bottle selection and drink them on premise, then take a six-pack back home to pair with your dinner on Thursday.

LET’S DISCUSS:

Get the Tasting Table newsletter for adventurous eaters everywhere
X Share on FB →

Around the Web