The Most Notable New Bars in America, Spring/Summer 2019

From historic revamps to hidden bars-within-bars, this season brings a crop of new openings across the country. Here, our picks for the most notable new bars of spring and summer.

This year, the change in seasons is accompanied by a bevy of noteworthy new bar openings across the country. In New York, David Chang and Danny Meyers’ empires continue to expand with new properties in Hudson Yards, while aperitivo culture thrives in new all-day drinking destinations like Pisellino and Abraço. Elsewhere, the classic cocktail canon re-takes center stage, winning out over the more outré concepts of years past. In New Orleans, the Martini and its various iterations receive their proper attention at the re-opening of The Franklin in the Marigny, while the Brandy Crusta finds a new home at the Jewel of the South. And, lastly, in Chicago, Lazy Bird’s static menu of 52 timeless classics signals a welcome shift back to basics. Here are our picks for the most notable new and forthcoming bar openings this season.

New York

Pisellino 

What: An all-day cafe from the team behind Buvette, I Sodi and Via Carota.
Who: Jodi Williams, Rita Sodi, Jon Mullen
Where: West Village
When: May
Why It’s Important: For owners Rita Sodi and Jody Williams, Pisellino is a concept rooted in Italian nostalgia. Situated across from its sister restaurant Via Carota, Pisellino will function as an all-day community-centered spot serving coffee, snacks and cocktails reminiscent of traditional Italian cafes. The drinks will be crafted by Jon Mullen, formerly of Metta and Maison Premiere.

Jungle Bird

What: A cocktail bar from a veteran bartender formerly of Gramercy Tavern and The Wren.
Who: Krissy Harris
Where: Chelsea
When: May
Why It’s Important: Krissy Harris brings more than 20 years of experience to the menu at the forthcoming Jungle Bird, where easy-drinking, yet thoughtful drinks seem to be the theme. The bar’s namesake cocktail will be served on tap alongside a calamansi Daiquiri variation and a tropical-minded spritz featuring papaya, lime, Aperol and sparkling wine.

Kāwi

What: The latest Momofuku outpost at Hudson Yards.
Who: David Chang, Eunjo Park, Isabella Fitzgerald, Lucas Swallows
Where: Hudson Yards
When: April
Why It’s Important: Part of David Chang’s expanding empire, food comes first at Kāwi, but Momofuku bar director, Lucas Swallows, has created a menu of cocktails designed to pair with chef Eunjo Park’s Korean-leaning menu, featuring everything from yuzu marmalade to ginger-infused sherry. On the wine side, Isabella Fitzgerald has curated a small sake menu along with a more robust wine selection divided into “French” and “not French” sections.

Public Records

What: A lush, plant-filled vegan cafe by day, record bar and state-of-the-art music venue by night.
Who: Francis Harris, Shane Davis, Erik VanderWal, Henry Rich (Rucola)
Where: Gowanus, Brooklyn
When: April
Why It’s Important: Public Records hopes to draw a crowd to an area largely devoid of a nightlife scene, with weekly jazz performances, visiting artists and a different vinyl DJ every night of the week. The drinks menu is as yet undisclosed, but with an emphasis on a state-of-the-art sound system and a curated schedule of record collectors passing through, the space feels like a Tokyo record bar by way of Gowanus.

Cedric’s at the Shed

What: An all-day bar and restaurant by Union Square Hospitality Group at the Shed, a nonprofit cultural arts center.
Who: Danny Meyer
Where: Hudson Yards
When: April
Why It’s Important: Located in the lobby of the Shed, Cedric’s 3,000-square-foot space serves cocktails, beer and wine on tap.

Altar

What: A neighborhood bar, serving cocktails, wine, beer and small plates.
Who: Phil Ward, Arturo Leonar
Where: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
When: May
Why It’s Important: The new project from veteran barman Phil Ward, co-founder of the pioneering agave bar Mayahuel, which closed in 2017, will offer a focused, tightly curated list of a dozen or so drinks in a renovated space located alongside Franklin Avenue mainstay, Chavela’s. Drawing on a broad range of spirits and styles, the menu is designed to be approachable, first and foremost, but will offer the same signature twists that you’d expect from one of the bar world’s most idiosyncratic players.

Chicago

Bar Politan

What: A craft cocktail bar inside of the new food hall from the owners of New Orleans’ St. Roch Market.
Who: Sophie Burton, Politan Group
Where: West Loop
When: May
Why It’s Important: Sophie Burton (formerly of Chicago’s Dove’s, Cindy’s and Big Star) has been tapped to run the drinks program at Bar Politan, which will serve as the hub of the new marketplace that also includes a beer garden called Perle and multiple chef-driven food stalls.Best New Bars 2019 Lazy Bird

Cocktails at Lazy Bird | Photos: Huge Galdones

Lazy Bird

What: A cocktail lounge with live music at the Hoxton Hotel.
Who: Lee Zaremba, Boka Restaurant Group
Where: Fulton Market District
When: April
Why It’s Important: The AvroKo-designed basement bar within Chicago’s brand-new Hoxton Hotel offers a foil to the bright, rooftop restaurant, Cabra, helmed by Stephanie Izard. With a menu of 52 classics curated and crafted by beverage director Lee Zaremba (formerly of Billy Sunday), the space will also feature weekly live music performances.

Philadelphia

Bloomsday Café

What: A cafe and bottle shop by day, natural wine bar by night.
Who:
Kelsey Bush, Zach Morris, Tim Kweeder
Where:
Headhouse Square
When:
April
Why It’s Important:
Tim Kweeder, one of the city’s most outspoken voices in natural wine and formerly of Petruce Et Al, will act as beverage director and sommelier of the new all-day cafe and wine bar.

Separatist Beer Project

What: The first brick and mortar location within the city limits for the Easton, Pennsylvania, brewery.
Who:
Joe and Laura Fay
Where:
South Philadelphia
When:
April
Why It’s Important: 
Sole Artisan Ales has rebranded as Separatist Beer Project and opened a new brick-and-mortar space featuring a 15-seat bar and capacity of up to 70.

Washington, D.C.

Reveler’s Hour

What: A casual bar and restaurant from the team behind fine dining destination Tail Up Goat.
Who: Bill Jensen, Jon Sybert, Jill Tyler
Where: Adams Morgan
When:
Summer
Why It’s Important: From the team at Tail Up Goat, known for inventive pastas and poetry-laden wine lists, comes this freewheeling bar named for a line of Greek poetry. Reveler’s Hour, across from The Line Hotel, will be more casual than Tail Up Goat and feature craft beers, vermouth cocktails and a freeform wine list by beverage director Bill Jensen.

Charlotte, NC

Billy Sunday

What: The first outpost of the Chicago institution of the same name.
Who: Matthias Merges, Stephanie Andrews
Where:
Optimist Park
When:
Summer
Why It’s Important: 
Stephanie Andrews, the creative director of Chicago’s Billy Sunday, will work her magic at the first outpost outside the Logan Square original. The bar, which will offer both vintage and modern amari-focused cocktails, is set to open within Optimist Hall, a forthcoming food hall located in a former turn-of-the-century mill.

Columbus, OH

Law Bird

What: A wine and cocktail bar focusing on unconventional ingredients.
Who: Annie Williams Pierce and Luke Pierce
Where: Brewery District

When:
TBD
Why It’s Important:
The forthcoming bar from husband and wife duo Annie Williams Pierce and Luke Pierce will feature a selection of natural wine alongside an array of cocktails crafted by Williams Pierce, a former Curio bartender.

New Orleans

Belle Epoque

What: An absinthe cocktail bar behind the Old Absinthe House serving French-influenced food.
Who: Laura Belluci, Hayley Vanvleet
Where: French Quarter

When:
TBD
Why It’s Important: Two NOLA heavyweights, Laura Belluci (formerly of SoBou) and chef Hayley Vanvleet (formerly of Curio, Pêche and Cochon Butcher), are teaming up to open a small restaurant and absinthe-focused bar connected to the iconic Old Absinthe House. Expect everything from classic absinthe drinks to those that channel tiki in unexpected ways.

Jewel of the South NOLA

Jewel of the South | Photos: Randy P. Schmidt

Jewel of the South

What: A restaurant and bar situated in an old Creole home that pays homage to a 19th-century bar of the same name.
Who: Chris Hannah, Nick Detrich
Where:
French Quarter
When:
March
Why It’s Important: Two of the city’s most important bartenders take on one of its most important classic drinks, the Brandy Crusta, while channeling the era in which is was born. Consider it their homage to 19th-century New Orleans. Hannah (formerly French 75 Bar) and Detrich (formerly Cane & Table) also own a Cuban-inspired bar called Manolito, also in the French Quarter.

The Franklin

What: A revamp of a Marigny neighborhood bistro focusing on natural wine and Martinis, courtesy of Cure and Barrel Proof alums.  
Who: Ken Jackson, Dane Harris, Evan Wolf, Matt LoFink, Jason Sorbet
Where: Marigny

When:
April
Why It’s Important: An all-star team of bartenders and a menu focused on the Martini and its variants, plus an extensive list of natural wines—what more do you need to know?

Houston

Squable

What: A restaurant with a focus on local Texas ingredients and a beverage program highlighting natural wines and Martinis.
Who: Bobby Heugel, Justin Yu, Steve Flippo, Terry Williams, Anna Wilkins, Justin Vann, Mark Clayton, Drew Gimma
Where: Houston Heights

When:
TBD
Why It’s Important: It’s a dream team of Houston’s top food and drink minds, all in one spot. Justin Vann, one of the country’s top sommeliers, is on wine, and the bar teams behind Anvil, Better Luck Tomorrow, Tongue-Cut Sparrow and more will be in charge of the hard stuff. If they can’t turn this into a hit, no one can.

Best New Bars 2019 Squable

Squable | Photo: Jenn Duncan

Rosie Cannonball

What: A casual Mediterranean eatery serving pizzas and breads alongside an affordable wine list.
Who: David Keck, Felipe Riccio, Peter McCarthy
Where:
Montrose
When:
TBD
Why It’s Important: Goodnight Hospitality (Goodnight Charlie’s) has welcomed master sommelier June Rodil from Austin who will help open several concepts including Rosie, and the forthcoming March and Montrose Cheese and Wine. A bright space with a long bar, Rosie Cannonball’s wine concept is expected to focus on the Loire and New World, while food will be geared toward pizza and carbs.

Atlanta

Hazel Jane’s Wine Bar & Coffee

What: An all-day cafe and wine shop with an emphasis on natural and biodynamic wines.
Who: Melissa Davis, Brad Morris
Where: Old Fourth Ward

When:
May/June
Why It’s Important: Melissa Davis, the sommelier behind Atlanta’s beloved Staplehouse, is bringing her global POV to a more casual, no-reservations-required concept that will also feature a strong selection of vermouth and amari. The fact that you can grab a bottle to-go is icing on the cake.

The Deer and the Dove and Side Bar

What: A new American restaurant and a wine and coffee bar next door.
Who: Chef Terry Koval and Jenn Koval
Where: Decatur

When:
TBD
Why It’s Important: From the chef of Wrecking Bar Brewpub comes The Deer and the Dove, a neighborhood restaurant focused on seasonal food, and a sister venue, Side Bar. By day, Side Bar will be a fast-casual café serving a small, low-key menu, and will transform into an overflow space for The Deer and the Dove and wine bar with small plates by evening.

Detroit

The Brakeman

What: Beer hall at the Shinola Hotel.
Who: Andrew Carmellini’s NoHo Hospitality Group
Where:
Downtown
When:
March
Why It’s Important: For $7 a piece, this casual drinking venue at the Shinola hotel hands patrons a token that can be exchanged for a draft craft beer, while a second bar is dedicated to serving frozen and classic cocktails. There are also serve-your-own beer tables that can be reserved ahead of time, where guests can pour their own drinks (there’s a limit per person) for an hourly rate. Next door, fried chicken can be ordered from Penny Red’s—whose recipe hails from chef Carmellini’s The Dutch in New York) and brought in.

Best New Bars 2019 Brakeman

The Brakeman | Photos: Noah Fecks Photography

Kansas City, MO

J. Rieger & Co. Distillery

What: A three-floor distillery space that includes a tasting room, two cocktail bars an ice-cutting room, a private room and an event space.
Who: Ryan Maybee, Steve Olsen, Andy Rieger
Where: Electric Park

When:
July
Why It’s Important: This massive space will relocate the J. Rieger & Co. operations to Electric Park, where the new distillery will double as public space. An all-day venue called The Monogram Lounge will serve coffee and food and transition into a cocktail bar at night, while the Hey! Hey! Club will be a dedicated 48-seat underground cocktail bar, both of which will feature drink programs by Andrew Olsen.

Denver

Noble Riot

What: A natural wine bar in the former Rebel restaurant space, serving small plates, meats and cheeses
Who: Scott and Nicole Mattson (Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club), Troy Bowen, Joel Kampfe
Where: River North Art District
When: April
Why It’s Important: Focusing on natural wines from small producers—with some offerings exclusive to the bar—Noble Riot offers a mix of affordably priced Old and New World wines. Curated by Troy Bowen, founder of the Colorado Natural Wine Consortium and Joel Kampfe, formerly of the ENO Wine Bar brand, in partnership with Scott and Nicole Mattson, the list showcases a range of top producers including Jolie Laide, Jacques Lassaigne and Peter Lauer, and will soon offer a series of tastings and educational programming dubbed “Fight Club.”

RiNo Yacht Club

What: A new brick-and-mortar outpost of the popular cocktail bar.
Who: Mary Allison Wright, McLain Hedges
Where: TBD
When: Summer
Why It’s Important: Formerly a wrap-around, open-area bar situated within The Source Hotel + Market Hall, RiNo Yacht Club, which first opened in 2014, will re-open in a permanent location this summer.

Run for the Roses

What: An underground cocktail bar at Dairy Block food hall.
Who: Steven Waters
Where: Downtown
When: April
Why It’s Important: Having been in the works since late 2017, the latest project from barman Steven Waters (formerly of the since-shuttered White Lies) is finally slated to open following a series of construction delays. Expect classic cocktails, vintage spirits and elevated bar food served in an intimate, lounge-like setting.

Portland, OR

Scotch Lodge

What: A cocktail bar showcasing Tommy Klus’ personal collection of spirits in the former Biwa space.
Who: Tommy Klus, Aaron Barnett
Where: Southeast Portland
When: April
Why It’s Important: When it opened in 2013, Multnomah Whiskey Library quickly established itself as one of the country’s most buzzed about whiskey destinations, with the lines down the block to prove it. With Scotch Lodge, Multnomah’s bar manager, Tommy Klus, who built the bar’s 1,800-bottle collection, is taking his knowledge and his personal collection, which goes well beyond whiskey, to a more intimate space. Expect craft cocktails, vintage spirits and, yes, Scotch.

Best New Bars 2019 5 and Dime

5 & Dime | Photos: Elizabeth Ledra

5 & Dime

What: A casual neighborhood cocktail bar from two Trifecta Tavern alums.
Who: Colin Carroll, Alex Gesler
Where: Foster-Powell District
When: March
Why It’s Important: From two bartenders, formerly of Ken Forkish’s Trifecta, comes an airy 60-seat cocktail bar that places its attention on warm vibes reflective of the neighborhood and dive bars Carroll and Gesler admire. The launch menu includes a cocktail list inspired by Neil Gaiman’s American Gods plus a hefty list of classics, small plates by Zach Ragghianti (Biwa, Noraneko) and a handful of wines and beers.

Seattle

Hannyatou

What: A 20-seat sake bar and retail store with Japanese bar snacks.
Who: Mutsuko Soma (Kamonegi), Russell King
Where: Fremont
When: March
Why It’s Important: The chef behind one of the city’s best new restaurants is opening a sister sake bar and retail shop, located two doors down. Along with co-owner and fellow sake expert, Russell King, Soma aims to highlight a range of sakes—from classic junmai daiginjo to those made with new rice strains—alongside a list of Japanese craft beers and traditional fermented bar snacks.

Bar Hitchcock

What: An all-day cafe featuring classic and low-proof cocktails from the mini Hitchcock restaurant empire.
Who: Brendan McGill, Erik Hakkinen
Where: Bainbridge Island
When: March
Why It’s Important: The third property from chef Brendan McGill, Bar Hitchcock delivers an all-day concept to Bainbridge Island complete with a classic line-up of sandwiches (OG roast beef, Philly cheese steak) and the requisite avocado toast and grain bowls. Beverages include a handful of thoughtful cocktails, beers, wines and a full coffee program.

Las Vegas

Majordōmo Meat & Fish

What: A Las Vegas-based sister restaurant to Momofuku’s Majordōmo
Who: David Chang and Richard Hargreave
Where: The Palazzo at The Venetian Resort
When: Summer
Why It’s Important: While the menu is currently in development, the Las Vegas outpost of David Chang’s Majordōmo, which currently boasts one of the country’s most exciting wine lists, assembled by wine director Richard Hargreave, will be decidedly larger in scale. For Hargreave, this offers an opportunity to build a more sizeable wine program with a deeper cellar stocked with rare back vintages, along with the chance to champion small producers not commonly seen in Sin City.

Los Angeles

Formosa Café

What: The reopening of iconic West Hollywood lounge.
Who: 1933 Group (Harlowe, Highland Park Bowl, Bigfoot Lodge. Sassafras Saloon)
Where: West Hollywood
When: April/May
Why It’s Important: First opened in 1925, the Formosa Café was located across from the United Artists lot, which eventually became the Warner Brothers lot. The bar hosted everyone from Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner to John Wayne and Brad Pitt. After its sudden closure in 2017, the 1933 Group is reopening the landmark bar aimed to transport patrons back to Old Hollywood with close attention to preserving original details. The cocktail menu will be a collaboration with L.A. historians and will link new traditions with beloved classics.

Best New Bars 2019 Otato

Sake at Ototo | Photo: Wyatt Conlon

Ototo

What: A sake and Japanese beer bar in Echo Park from the team behind Tsubaki.
Who: Courtney Kaplan and Charles Namba
Where: Echo Park
When: May
Why It’s Important: From the owners of tiny izakaya Tsubaki, this casual neighborhood bar will focus on craft Japanese beer and obscure sake and shochu made from biodynamic and heirloom grains, plus small plates.

Damian

What: A nouveau Mexican restaurant.
Who: Chefs Enrique Olvera and Daniela Soto-Innes (Cosme, Atla) and Santiago Perez
Where: Arts District
When: August/September
Why It’s Important: Lauded Mexican City chefs bring nouveau Mexican to L.A., including a modern, mezcal-focused cocktail program that will be driven by sustainability and a no-waste ethos. The restaurant will be next to a second, more casual venture called Ditroit.

Other Notable Openings:

Abraco (New York): The East Village espresso bar has extended its hours and now offers a tight list of aperitivo-style cocktails and bites.

Lost Hours (New York)A 30-seat lounge from the Death & Co. team, which opened in February, hidden in the lobby of Midtown’s Hotel 3232.

No Bar (New York): Angela Dimayuga (Mission Chinese) is behind this queer bar that took over the Narc Bar space in the Standard East Village in February. Head bartender Simone Goldberg overseas the cocktails.

Rouge (Philadelphia)The reopening of a 21-year old bistro with drinks by Lê of Hop Sing Laundromat.

Pizzeria Beddia (Philadelphia): The beloved pizzeria is moving into a bigger location with a liquor license and will offer a selection of natural wine.

Lunar Inn (Philadelphia): A team of industry veterans have combined forces to open this neighborhood bar and bottle shop in Port Richmond.

Oculto 477 (San Diego): A forthcoming bar-within-a-bar tucked behind the agave-focused Tahona.

Bar Shiru (Oakland): The first Japanese-inspired vinyl bar of it’s kind in the Bay Area opened it’s doors in February.

Death & Co. (Los Angeles): Alex Day, David Kaplan and Ravi DeRossi will bring a Los Angeles outpost of their East Village bar to LA’s Arts District.

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