Food & Drink

Six of The Best Bourbon Bars

September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, so honor America’s native spirit at one of these six standouts

illustration: Tim Bower


  • The Bar at Husk

    Nashville, Tennessee

    Just a few blocks south of Broadway, Sean Brock’s Nashville outpost is lauded for its locally sourced interpretations of Lowcountry standards. But the bourbon-soaked bar downstairs is equally buzzworthy. It has more than a hundred options, including such hard-to-find antique bourbons as Stizel Weller’s David Nicholson 1843 from Brock’s personal collection, along with offerings from local distilleries Corsair, Prichard’s, and Belle Meade. husknashville.com

  • The Blackheart

    Austin, Texas

    Housed in a renovated Victorian on Rainey Street with a shaded patio, picnic tables, and regular live music, the Blackheart features a thoughtfully curated selection of more than a hundred high-end bourbons, including all of the Pappy Van Winkles and such Lone Star brands as Garrison Brothers and Swift. Sip a house old-fashioned (or two)out back. blackheartbar.com

  • Bluegrass Tavern

    Lexington, Kentucky

    This place is hallowed ground for bourbon-country natives. Among the 450-plus collection—nearly all of them Kentucky bourbons—aficionados will find rare bottles of Four Roses Single Barrel, George T. Stagg, and A. H. Hirsch Reserve 16-year-old. Need a guide? Ask one of the whiskey-savvy bartenders for a recommendation. bluegrasstavern.com

  • The Crunkleton

    Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    The name alone makes this narrow, inviting bar on Franklin Street worth a visit. But then there’s the gregarious Gary Crunkleton—owner, bartender, entertainer. Not to mention a stellar bourbon list that’s more than a hundred strong, including the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. The staff knows exactly what to do with every bottle—whether building a cocktail around it or pairing a patron with the perfect pour. thecrunkleton.com

  • Haymarket Whiskey Bar

    Louisville, Kentucky

    Behind the bar at this Louisville dive, housed in a nineteenth-century building on old Whiskey Row, more than 150 bourbons await along with live music, vintage pinball games, and a beer vending machine. It’s also home to the only late-night package store downtown—just in case you need a bottle to go. haymarketwhiskeybar.com

  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon

    Washington, D.C.

    You’ll find more whiskey on the wall here than at any other bar in the Western Hemisphere. The current tally of 2,100 bottles includes nearly 600 bourbons—from Jack Rose–exclusive Willett single barrel to 1964 Black Bowmore first edition. Enjoy a snifter in the classic dark–wood saloon, on the breezy open-air terrace, or in the basement whiskey cellar. jackrosediningsaloon.com

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