Food + Drinks

Fall Preview: The Best New Cocktail Bars Opening in 2014

Where to drink in San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Vegas, Miami, New York, and New Orleans.

Below we round up the season's most anticipated bars whether they veer tropical, classical, casual, or clever. Listed in alphabetical order—because who knows when they'll really open?

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Beachbum Berry's Latitude 29, New Orleans
Opening: Mid-October

This new bar/restaurant is the first brick-and-mortar operation from the world's leading tiki historian and author Beachbum Berry. It's located in NOLA's French Quarter at the historic Bienville House Hotel. The food will be tiki-meets-Texas and the drinks will, of course, be tropical. The menu will include a mix of Berry's original recipes as well as "lost" vintage tiki recipes that he's rediscovered over the past 20 years. Bartender Steve Yamada (Tivoli & Lee, Restaurant R'evolution) will make sure everything runs smoothly. In keeping with the tiki traditions, the space will be filled with oceanic flotsam and jetsam including antique carvings from Easter Island, carved poles from Trader Vic's, vintage chairs from Florida's Mai Kai, and a 200-pound statue of Pele (the deity, not the soccer star).

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Bellwoods Social House, Atlanta
Opened: August 28

Beverage manager Arianne Fielder (Seven Lamps, Article 14) takes control of the "neighborhood craft" cocktail bar program at this casual, patio-surrounded restaurant. The drink menu is half-serious, with everything from girly warm-weather libations like the 75 South (honeysuckle vodka, strawberries, lemon, sparkling wine) to whiskey-forward drinks to a section of beer-and-shot combos called Boot Kicker shots. Try the Purpatrator, which is a shot of toasted coconut-infused rum with Fanta grape soda back.

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Boilermaker, New York
Opening: Early September

The short-lived 1970s-themed cocktail bar Golden Cadillac has been rebuilt from the ground up. The new incarnation strives to be a simpler neighborhood bar with wood and metal accents and a deco-industrial design. For the drink program they've brought in Erick Castro (Rickhouse in San Francisco, Polite Provisions in San Diego) as Managing Partner. He will oversee the 16 taps (twelve for American beer, four for cocktails) and a twenty-drink menu of "simple, clean, classic-inspired cocktails" like the Piña Verde—a Piña Colada with Green Chartreuse instead of rum. There will, of course, be a section of Boilermakers (shot and beer combos) including some unique pairings like Victory King Stout with shot of Ramazotti.

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Devil's Acre, San Francisco
Opening: Mid-October

In a former live jazz club in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood comes the latest bar from the crew behind Bourbon & Branch, Rickhouse, Tradition, and several other noteworthy cocktail bars. They'll play tribute in the drink program to SF's Barbary Coast era of the 1850s to the early 1900s (aka "the early glory days of cocktails") with old-style drinks including cobblers and crustas. There will also be an underlying apothecary theme and a few soda-fountain drinks like phosphates. The main room will retain the same shape as the former jazz club, with the tables and chairs used for general seating rather than facing the stage (though there will be live music on occasion). They've also removed the downstairs kitchen and replaced it with a smaller bar area for busy nights and hosting private parties.

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Finn's Manor, Denver
Opening date: Mid-December

A cocktail bar in a food-truck park: Let the good times roll. Finn's Manor will be located in a partially covered, auto-parts salvage shop property and will host a half-dozen or so food trucks that change daily. The bar, located in a former house, will have a "vagabond Americana" theme and pay special tribute to New Orleans with classics from that city including the Vieux Carre and Sazerac. Whisky brand ambassador Robert Sickler's cocktail menu features those classics, along with a pretty huge selection of boozy snowcones (they were hoping to be open this summer) and originals like the Bloody Skye—made with Scotch whisky, heirloom tomato water, and lemon pepper bitters with smoked sea salt and cayenne pepper rim, and garnished with a smoked salmon pinwheel.

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Franklin, Las Vegas
Opened: September 1

Franklin is the lobby lounge inside of the Delano hotel and resort, which is inside the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino. The interior design features gold lighting and statement navy sheers that drape from ceiling to floor. Drinks focus on high-end and special spirits including a house Glen Moray Scotch, a Woodford Reserve Double Oaked, and a private stash of Mt. Gay Black Barrel Rum. They're also partnering with Oregon's Rogue Spirits on a barrel-aging program to produce cocktails like the Pink Gin Negroni that will be aged in a former Pinot Noir barrel.

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The Happiest Hour, New York
Opening: Late September

This bi-level project in Greenwich Village comes from restaurateur Jon Neidich of ACME, along with bartender Jim Kearns, who previously worked the bar at the NoMad Hotel, Pegu Club, and Mayahuel. The concept is a casual restaurant on the main floor inspired by the 1960s and 1970s with a horseshoe-shaped bar, and a fancier 1950s Mad Men-style cocktail lounge downstairs complete with an old-fashioned jukebox filled with vintage rock 'n' roll records.

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Proof + Pantry, Dallas
Opened: September 1

Co-founded by Michael Martensen (Cedars Social Club and Smyth) and located in Dallas' One Arts Plaza District, this new bar will feature food and drink specials inspired by performances from nearby Arts District theater houses. The cocktail menu is divided into No Proof (fancy sodas), Low Proof (sherry and vermouth-based drinks), and High Proof (boozy goodness). And the award for most interesting sounding drink goes to the Pickled Cobbler (sherry, gin, pickling juice, agave nectar, rhubarb, cherries) followed by the Cards on the Table (strawberry cardamom tequila, lemon juice, agave nectar, black pepper).

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The Spotted Owl, Cleveland
Opening: Early September

Coming soon to West Cleveland in a pre-Civil War apartment complex that was at various times a college, medical hospital, and hymnal printing shop, The Spotted Owl boasts brick walls with concrete ceilings and an overall "rustic-Colonial" look—including tables built from 200-year-old lumber. A modern Japanese ice machine balances the new with the old. Proprietor Will Hollingsworth describes the cocktail program as "simple and elegant, without pomp." Among the more original cocktails are the Quick Fix No. 2 (vodka smoked with burnt orange peel, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ginger beer, topped with vanilla bitters) and a Fish House Punch on draft. Don't worry; there aren't actual fish in the drink.

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Sweet Liberty Drink and Supply Company, Miami
Opening: Mid-December

Superstar bartender John Lermayer (Florida Room, Regent Cocktail Club) has partnered with restaurateur David Martinez (Sra. Martinez, Crumb on Parchment) to launch an American bar called Sweet Liberty Drink and Supply Company in the heart of South Beach. The design is vintage industrial with an urban twist ("Think Benjamin Franklin as the fourth Beastie Boy," says Lermayer). The focus is on classic American cocktails as well as trendy tipples like bottled cocktails, house made sodas, and wine-based drinks. On the food menu: Expect to see adaptations of classic American bites like a Maine lobster roll and a New Orleans oyster po' boy. The entrance of the bar will double as a cocktail supply shop (thanks to a partnership with Cocktail Kingdom) where patrons can purchase bar tools, bitters, books, and local art and music.

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Also on Details.com:
The Secret Ingredient in Your Cocktail: Salt
13 New Gins Bartenders Are Raving About
Is The Best Whisky Now Being Made Outside Of Scotland And The USA?

Photos courtesy of TK
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