The South's Best Bars 2017
Ask a Southerner to name their favorite bar, and you might get more than you bargained for. If we could be so bold, we may understand the nuances of bars better than our fellow Americans. You see, there’s no such thing as a “bar” in the South; we have dives, cocktail labs, historic lobby lounges, juke joints, globally ranked wine rooms, zydecos, bourbon-exclusive bistros, taverns as old as this country, drive-through daiquiri spots, rowdy saloons, legion halls, and mixology destinations. Our friend Julia Reed even has a more genre-specific list of her favorite carpeted bars (Southern Nights in Greenville, Mississippi, if you were wondering).
It’s also the reason why our best bars competition was so contentious, but in the end it illustrates what we love about Southern bars so much: they’re full of the character and traditions that you won’t find anywhere else. Just think about it, from the green jacketed servers at New Orleans’ Pat O’Brien’s where they popularized the Hurricane into a cocktail phenomenon to the Bar at Husk, a carriage house hideaway where you can sample some of the best bourbons, and quite possibly the best burger, from the South. There’s the Crunkleton, where college students and cocktail enthusiasts flock to see Gary Crunkleton’s bartending prowess, and Johnny’s Hideaway in Atlanta where regulars have been coming to drink and dance on their disco ball awned floor for decades. Then there’s the Hotel Monteleone, where you can sit on an actual moving carousel with your sazerac, a spot frequented by writers like William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.
But our winner, Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, Alabama illustrates and excels at what Southern hospitality is all about. Whether you live across the street or you’re a tourist from Italy, you feel at home, comfortable, and welcomed. Regular or not, these bars all have that in common.
1. Callaghan’s Irish Social Club
3. The Carousel Bar & Lounge in Hotel Monteleone
New Orleans, Louisiana
4. Sloppy Joe’s
Key West, Florida
5. Pat O’Brien’s
New Orleans, Louisiana
6. The Esso Club
Clemson, South Carolina
7. Johnny’s Hideaway
The South's 10 Best Breweries
An incredible beer can make a long road trip to a new place completely worth it. In our region, we have some amazing craft beers that use all sorts of ingredients, like coffee, maple syrup, and fruit. Whether you're looking for a dark ale, a white ale, or an IPA, there's a brewery in almost every city that'll treat you to a crisp, fresh pour. We've found some exceptional drinking holes across the South, and the people have voted – here are ten breweries that you've got to try.
10. Coast Brewing Co.; Charleston, SC
This family-owned spot uses local ingredients and is located on an old Navy base.
9. Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, FL
The beer here reflects Tampa’s cultural roots, like ‘Florida Cracker’ white ale and Wiregrass ‘post-Prohibition’ ale.
8. Strangeways Brewing; Richmond, VA
This taproom has a Room 237 Bière d’Hiver that took “a little less than five miserable months to contrive” inspired by The Shining.
7. Jester King Brewery; Austin, TX
Come for the 70 varieties of beer, and stay for the views of the Texas Hill Country.
6. Starr Hill Brewery; Crozet, VA
Founder Mark Thompson used his biology degree to perfect the brewing process.
5. Abita Brewing Company; Covington, LA
Abita’s seasonal Strawberry Harvest Lager can cause chaotic grocery runs when shipments arrive.
4. Good People Brewing Co.; Birmingham, AL
A local favorite, Good People offers year-round and seasonal brews as well as a “Happy Hour Yoga” class.
3. Creature Comforts Brewing Co.; Athens, GA
Founded by home brewers, Creature Comforts’ ‘Athena Berliner Weisse’ beer is the brewery’s salute to its home city.
2. Tennessee Brew Works; Nashville, TN
This brewery has one of the South’s cleanest brewing processes by using less water, raw materials, and energy than traditional methods.
1. Wicked Weed Brewing; Asheville, NC
Wicked Weed specializes in sour beers, using ingredients from fruit to coffee, with an aggressive wild yeast called ‘brettanomyces’.
8. The Bar at Husk
Charleston, South Carolina
9. The Roosevelt
10. The Crunkleton
Chapel Hill, North Carolina