This season’s bar openings offer a glimpse not only into the next chapters for some of the industry’s biggest names, but also the larger drinking trends they embody. Two legendary New York bar owners—Jim Meehan and Dushan Zaric—are making their mark in new cities, gypsy brewers are settling down and one of the country’s most celebrated bars is expanding. Among the more unexpected openings this season are a subterranean homage to a vinyl-spinning Japanese izakaya in New York’s West Village and a Texas honky-tonk from master sommelier David Keck featuring local wine on tap. Here, our picks for the most notable new and forthcoming bar openings in America from September through December 2017.
What: An aperitivo bar from the duo behind Via Carota.
Who: Jody Williams and Rita Sodi
Where: West Village
Why it’s important: Sodi and Williams have a sixth sense when it comes to what makes a great bar and restaurant. Drawing inspiration from classic Italian bars like Caffè Florian in Venice and Caffè Mulassano in Turin, this has all the makings of hit, and is further proof that the New York embrace of Italy’s aperitivo culture shows no signs of loosening.
What: A celebrity meadery (really).
Who: Brewmaster Dylan Sprouse, better known for his role as Zack Martin on Disney’s The Suite Life Of Zack & Cody
Where: The William Vale Hotel, Williamsburg
Why it’s important: With mead selections available both on tap and by the bottle, All-Wise will be churning out a number of locally made honey wines in addition to those from producers across the country.
What: The much-anticipated second outpost of America’s premier modernist cocktail bar.
Who: Nick Kokonas, Grant Achatz and beverage director Micah Melton
Where: Top floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Why it’s important: The experimental cocktail bar is nothing short of an institution in Chicago. This next chapter will test whether the bar’s boundary-pushing drinks can find an audience outside of their hometown. Kokonas also told Eater this summer that this is likely part of a larger expansion plan for the Aviary and the Office, the group’s classics-focused speakeasy within the Aviary.
The Lost Lady
What: A nautical-themed neighborhood bar serving agave- and rum-based cocktails.
Who: Robert Ceraso and Jason Mendenhall, owners of The Wayland, Goodnight Sonny and The Wild Son
Where: Alphabet City
Why it’s important: With a more relaxed menu (tacos, bottled beer, frozen drinks) and overall vibe (shuffleboard, a CD jukebox) than the duo’s other bars, The Lost Lady is poised to become a neighborhood hangout for Alphabet City dwellers—and hopefully a much-needed overflow space for The Wayland.
What: A 20-barrel brewhouse, taproom and restaurant that will serve as the New York headquarters for the brand.
Who: Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Kristian Keller, plus Jim Raras Jr., formerly of Hill Farmstead Brewery
Where: Citi Field
Why it’s important: The first East Coast outpost for the gypsy brewers, who opened their first U.S. brewery in San Diego last year.
Vini e Fritti
What: The aperitivo bar spin-off of Marta specializing in (yes) fried snacks and low-ABV cocktails, with a wine list focused almost entirely on Italian sparkling wine and Champagne.
Who: Joe Tarasco (food), Jessica Weiss (pastry) and Katie Morton (beverage)
Where: The Redbury Hotel
Why it’s important: With an all-star team and a gorgeous Turin-inspired space designed by Home Studios, it’s the most ambitious embrace of aperitivo culture we’ve seen in New York.
Playboy Club New York
What: The (hopefully less sexist) revival of the historic Playboy Club.
Where: The Cachet Boutique New York hotel
When: Late fall
Why it’s important: The club closed its doors a little over 30 years ago and seeks to reopen them in a very different era. The question is how they will present, and whether they will find an audience, in a very different New York.
Tokyo Record Bar
What: A subterranean homage to a vinyl-spinning Japanese izakaya, equipped with 16 seats, low-ABV cocktails and plenty of sake.
Who: Ariel Arce, owner of Air’s Champagne Parlor (located upstairs) and the former wine director of Riddling Widow and Birds & Bubbles
Where: Greenwich Village
Why it’s important: In a nod to the growing popularity of low-ABV cocktails, all drinks here are built on either sake or shochu (traditional spirits are notably absent). Showmanship is on display here, too; all drinks are made and served via an antique, rolling bar cart that works its way around the room nightly, offering tableside service during two nightly seatings, and a la carte options after 10:30 p.m.
What: A rum-focused bar from Thad Vogler, the owner of acclaimed bars Trou Normand and Bar Agricole.
Who: Thad Vogler
Why it’s important: Vogler is going all-in on his longtime love of rum with a Mission bar dedicated to it and named after his onetime address in Havana. Details are still scant, but Obispo will serve food, and there will be, surely, a strong list of of carefully curated rums.
Villon and Charmaine’s at San Francisco Proper Hotel
What: An all-day restaurant (Villon) and rooftop lounge (Charmaine’s) in the San Francisco Proper Hotel.
Who: Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of BV Hospitality (Trick Dog, The Bon Vivants) and chef Jason Franey
When: Villon: September; Charmaine’s: October
Why it’s important: With the creative team in place and a menu inspired by San Francisco (broken into seven sections with seven cocktails each—a play on San Francisco’s seven-by-seven mile radius—it features drinks made famous or invented in the Bay Area), this is a foolproof entry into our must-stop list.
Dio Wine Bar
What: A female-owned, 900-square-foot wine bar focused on natural wine.
Who: Stacey Khoury-Diaz
Where: H Street Corridor
Why it’s important: Inspired by the likes of New York’s The Four Horsemen and The Ten Bells, Dio is D.C.’s first wine bar devoted to natural wines; it will also offer a small selection of cocktails, beer and cider.
What: A cozy, covert, subterranean cocktail den with a tasting menu of themed cocktails, small plates and signature sweets from Sugar Shack Donuts above.
Who: Captain Gregory’s vets Brandon McDermott and Kyle Knox
When: Late September
Why it’s important: The 17-seat bar wants to be where patrons start or end their evenings, rather than a dining destination. Look for flights with multiple expressions of the same drink in three-quarter pours, “after dark” donuts and prix-fixe menu options.
What: A cocktail bar inspired by the “organic architecture” philosophy of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School.
Who: Heisler Hospitality (Bad Hunter, Pub Royale) and Jim Meehan (PDT)
Where: Fulton Market
Why it’s important: A decade after opening New York’s pioneering PDT, Jim Meehan opts for a minimal approach to drink-making with a focus on seasonal, diligently sourced ingredients and Japanese highballs dispensed from a dedicated Hoshizaki tap.
What: The Los Angeles outpost of the highly celebrated Miami bar.
Who: Gabriel Orta and Elad Zvi (Bar Lab)
Where: Freehand LA, Downtown
When: September 2017
Why it’s important: After expanding to Chicago from Miami in 2015, the award-winning bar is making its mark in LA on the rooftop of the downtown Freehand Hotel, which is perfectly suited to their brand of tropical escapism.
What: The reopening of the historic 1926 hotel in downtown Los Angeles, featuring four new bars.
Who: Dushan Zaric (Employee’s Only), Dan Sabo (Ace Hotel)
Why it’s important: The sheer number of bars opening under the expertise of Dushan Zaric promises to make Hotel Figueroa one of downtown LA’s most compelling drinking destinations. In addition to a traditional hotel lobby bar (Bar Figueroa) and the poolside Veranda, Rick’s will highlight of roster of coastal-inspired classics, while Bar Atla will offer an intimate drinking experience centered on bespoke cocktails served from custom tableside carts.
What: A self-described Texas “honky-tonk” bar with a jukebox, dance floor and live country and bluegrass on weekends, all from a master sommelier.
Who: Master Sommelier David Keck, formerly of Camerata
When: Late October
Why it’s important: For this project, Keck shifts his focus from wine to beer and whiskey, plus simple cocktails (stirred, not shaken) and wine on tap.
What: A 5,000 square foot cocktail bar that is just one of three new concepts coming to 1201 St. Emanuel Street.
Who: Agricole Hospitality
Where: East Downtown
When: Late fall
Why it’s important: The next installment from the group behind Eight Row Flint and Coltivare, the multi-space compound will make for a notable addition to EaDo’s burgeoning food and drink scene.
What: A new ten-seat bar inside Brookline’s Sichuan Garden that will serve as a sister bar to the Woburn location. According to the site, the menu “will focus on pairing comforting flavors with unique ingredients.”
Who: Ran Duan of Baldwin Bar
Why it’s important: At Baldwin Bar, Duan converted two floors of his family’s old-school Sichuan restaurant into high-concept cocktail bars. The Brookline restaurant is being remodeled and presumably getting similar treatment; while details are scarce, the bar’s Instagram account promises tropical vibes and agave cocktails.
Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.
What: A standalone brewery and restaurant from the team behind Edmund’s Oast.
Who: Scott Shor, Rich Carley and brewing director Cameron Read
Where: Pacific Box & Crate
Why it’s important: The co-owners of the beloved gastropub Edmund’s Oast finally have a dedicated space for producing new brews, helmed by Cameron Read, who formerly produced beers for the restaurant.
What: A whiskey-focused bar-restaurant from a team of bar heavyweights.
Who: Sean Kenyon (Williams and Graham, The Occidental); Justin Anthony and Lisa Vedovelli (Matchbox)
Where: River North Arts District
Why it’s important: Lauded bartender Sean Kenyon and the folks behind RiNo pioneer Matchbox have joined forces to bring American Bonded to life. The drink menu will offer beer, wine and cocktails, but the main focus, as the name implies, will be whiskey.
What: An avant-garde cocktail bar within one of Detroit’s biggest hotel openings of the year.
Who: Dorothy Elizabeth, formerly of Standby
Where: The forthcoming Siren Hotel
Why it’s important: One of Detroit’s most notable bartenders is behind the wheel of a concept that indulges her interest in chemistry and taste for molecular mixology-driven drinks.