Food & Drink

A Taste 
of the South

Five bars around the country 
that do Dixie right

Photo: Cedric Angeles

The well-stocked shelves at Cure.

Cowboy Country Saloon in Long Beach, CA
Once upon a time, honky-tonks thrived in Southern California. Now this 15,000-square-foot dance hall and drinking spot (complete with mechanical bull) is the last holdout among the growing crop of cocktail clubs and surf bars.


The Southern in Chicago, IL
Chef Cary Taylor is a Georgia boy, and he restricts his menu to iconic Southern dishes paired with an outstanding selection of bourbon, rye, and Scotch, plus some of Dixie’s most obscure microbrews (Southern Star Bombshell Blonde…in a can!).


Sunny’s Bar in Brooklyn, NY
With its limited hours, cash-only policy, and lack of draft beers and specialty cocktails, Sunny’s is pretty much the most inconvenient bar in New York City. But no one goes to this 120-year-old saloon for convenience. They go for the atmosphere—live bluegrass jams, weathered dockworkers, and, if you’re lucky, Sunny Balzano, its wildly charismatic seventy-seven-year-old proprietor.


The Twisted Tail in Philadelphia, PA
Last summer, bartender George Reilly, whose family once owned a whiskey distillery in Scotland, opened this Southern-style blues and juke joint. Loaner instruments hang on the wall for those who feel like jamming, but on Sunday nights, it’s BYO slide guitar.


The Woodsman Tavern in Portland, OR
At Stumptown Coffee Roasters founder Duane Sorenson’s months-old tavern, a menu of Drinking Snacks—deviled eggs, pork rinds—and a ham stand stocked with the South’s best swine provide insulation for inventive cocktails like the Hunting Vest
(rye, dry vermouth, cedar-steeped Campari) and the Kentucky Special (overproof bourbon, Lapsang Souchong cherry Heering, Angostura bitters).