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50 Best Bars In America

Posted: 12/16/11 12:08 PM ET

By Food & Wine

From a lounge in a renovated Las Vegas wedding chapel to a 19th-century-style saloon, America's best bars celebrate the handmade, the historical and the locally sourced.

Slideshow: 50 Best Bars in America

San Francisco's 4,000-square-foot Bar Agricole is deeply dedicated to the farm-to-shaker movement: Bitters, syrups and sodas are house-made, often with ingredients from the garden. The best drinks tweak the classics, like the rum Agricole Mule.

In Chicago, the 16-page drinks menu at Hotel Palomar's Sable Kitchen & Bar quotes Jean-Jacques Rousseau, lists cocktails like the Chuck Yeager (rum with cinnamon-bark syrup) and boasts one of the city's largest amber spirits collections.

New York City bars are often fashioned after speakeasies, but Dutch Kills in Long Island City embraces the pre-Prohibition era. Modeled after an 1890s saloon, this bar serves classic cocktails made with hand-cut ice. Live jazz and ragtime bands play throughout the week.

As a fun nod to the lure of Las Vegas, the spacious and mellow Downtown Cocktail Room has opened there in a renovated wedding chapel. Inside, you can order cool drinks like the Cat's Pajamas: gin, Campari, orange juice, Chartreuse and maple syrup.

For home bartenders taking inspiration from the country's best mixologists for a holiday party, F&W contributing editor Jim Meehan (author of the excellent new PDT Cocktail Book) has some advice: "Cocktail party guests often bring their favorite spirits -- rum, vodka, whiskey. By stocking up on mixers like vermouths, liqueurs, bitters, natural sodas and fresh citrus juices, you'll always be able to make drinks everyone will love."

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