Esquire always has a list of the top bars in America, but I know they haven’t covered the entire turf, especially with some of their lousy picks. Although I too have not yet been everywhere, nor have plans to accomplish anything such, I do have a few bars that are my favorite in a few different places (and sorry not all in America):
1. Le Comptoir General (Paris, France): it is an open warehouse style bar/museum/meeting place that serves up a red cocktail that packs quite a punch. The unique thing about this place is that it is a blast from the past and you can rearrange all the furniture to create a hang out spot with your friends. Located in the 10eme along Canal St. Martin.
2. The Crown & Goose (Knoxville, Tennessee): Built as a mirror image of one of the owner’s favorite bars in England, The Crown & Goose has traditional British food such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, a pie of the day, etc. It also has a wide variety of beers on tap, live music, outdoor seating, and interesting drinks. No, Jack the Ripper is not a guys drink believe it or not. Located in the Old City on South Central Street.
3. Lexington Avenue Brewery (Asheville, North Carolina): Also known as LAB, the brewery is one of the best spots to catch a lively crowd, drink local brew, and enjoy big screen broadcasts during the World Cup. Located on one of Asheville’s most interesting and fun streets in the heart of downtown, it’s a must when you stop by there. If you want to grab a bite to eat, head over to Tupelo Honey’s or the Early Girl Cafe.
4. Cafe Juglar (Vina del Mar, Chile): Located just off the main road calle Alvarez on calle Valparaiso across from where calle Agua Santa dead ends, this hole in the wall is a fun and hopping spot to head to at night to assimilate with the locals, catch some funky tunes and drink terremotos. Not actually earthquakes, terremotos are pitchers of either white wine and pineapple sorbet with whipped cream on top or red wine and raspberry sorbet with whipped cream on top, they come with a spoon and make for one heck of a group drink. If you head there, note the bar owner also happens to be growing peyote cacti up high on the shelves.
5. TIE between Longshanks Billiards and College Hill Sundries(Greensboro, North Carolina): Since I’m biased and a native of Greensboro, you knew one of these would hit this list. I couldn’t decide between the two so I put them both.
Longshanks Billiards is a staple in downtown just off Elm Street and across from the famous Natty Greene’s Brewery. It is a spot where locals of all shapes and sizes, styles and ages venture to play some pool and enjoy a drink. They have quite a selection of micro brews in bottle in the fridge or you can try your luck with a mixed drink. I prefer the scotch, and seem to be one of maybe two people who drink from it. Not every place you head to these days has pay by the hour pool tables, decent cues, and all of the pool balls. Head there to get away from the mainstream nightlife in downtown.
College Hill Sundries is a corner bar located on Spring Garden and Mendenhall near UNC-Greensboro’s campus. It is a college bar but still attracts followers from decades past. My parents went there in their 20’s, and they probably haven’t renovated since. If GQ or Esquire wanted to do a documentary on hipster style, this would be the place to go to see every facial hair type, clothing trend, vintage wear, and wild accessories from the vanished past of yesteryear. If you happen to be in Greensboro on a Monday night, head there and enjoy $1 beers. Can’t beat it.
Thoughts? Did I miss one you really enjoy? Leave a comment and let everyone else know about your great finds and experiences at one of the many watering holes around the world.