The 16 Best Drinking Neighborhoods in The Country

The writers at Thrillist were under the daunting challenge of finding 16 of the best drinking neighborhoods in America. They began wondering what differentiates your average drinking neighborhood from the “truly special”. While on this mission, the writers took into account the quality, quantity, and variety of bars. Whatever neighborhood it may be, they knew they needed to leave knowing they could not have had that experience anywhere else. So, with that being said, Philadelphia should be proud to know that Fishtown made it as number 8 on to the list of best drinking neighborhoods in America. So, who’s taking the next train out to Fishtown with me?


In theory, ANY neighborhood can be a drinking neighborhood provided you have a few bucks and a flask and/or paper bag. But what separates the truly special, worthy of capitalization Drinking Neighborhoods from the neighborhoods in which you just happen to be drinking? Sheer quantity of bars? The overall quality of said bars? The ability to waltz from a palm-draped Tiki bar to a tap-laden brewpub to an iconic dive bar while your Fitbit barely even notices that you’ve moved?

In the end, while taking quality, quantity, and variety into account, what really sets the best drinking ‘hoods apart is that feeling that you’re having an imbibing experience that you couldn’t quite be having anyplace else. In 2015, you can absolutely find that feeling in these 16 neighborhoods.

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Photo Credit: Thrillist


New York City, NY
New York City’s incredible number of bars makes this a tough choice, but as much as we loved the glory days of the East Village, and look forward to Greenpoint reaching critical mass, our NYC nod has to go to the best 20-something playground in the world: Williamsburg. Whine if you will that it’s sold out and bro’d out, but few places in the country can compare to the staggering density of truly amazing imbibing establishments.

Union Pool is the place for a regrettable make-out session with one of those beautiful young “creatives,” Radegast has your outdoor day-drinking sessions covered, and Baby’s All Right actually offers decent drinks in addition to a chance to rub elbows with the Pitchfork crowd. If you like your absinthe paired with oysters (we do!) Maison Premiere is the move (especially on dollar shell Sundays), and even the most high-nosed dark spirit snob will be impressed by the 400 whiskeys on the shelves at Noorman’s Kil. For those looking for the cheap seats, The Drink‘s $5 punches are solid, as are just about anything paired with the honky-tonk vibes of Skinny Dennis. And since NY is the best place to see DJs in the country, we’d be remiss not to mention the monstrous Funktion-One sound system at Output (escape to the rooftop if it’s too loud), or Questlove’s now-legendary residency at Brooklyn Bowl.


Logan Square

Chicago, IL
For a neighborhood whose bar scene has transitioned from “on the upswing” to “exploding” in recent years, you’d be hard pressed to find a better army of cocktail destinations in such a compact area than Logan Square. In fact, many cities should aspire to have a quintet of bars as fine as Billy SundayScofflawThe WhistlerAnalogue, and Lost Lake (the latter from Tiki visionary Paul McGee, who returned to the neighborhood he helped put on the map when he opened The Whistler).

But you’d be foolish to limit yourself to high-end cocktails here. Revolution Brewing is easily on the shortlist of the city’s best brewpubs, The Radler is a blessedly unpretentious take on a German beer hall, and The Owl delivers a damn fine beer list later into the evening than it probably should (open until 5am on Saturdays). Despite all the high-profile openings, Logan has been fortunate to retain a hefty proportion of its grittier dive bar standbys like Whirlaway LoungeBob Inn, and Two Way Lounge. The ‘hood excels across all levels of the boozy spectrum.


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