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Drink like a local • Bars in North America

Quintessential drinking experiences from LA to NYC – local bars the locals love…

 

© Martha Williams

Chicago • USA

Try: a shot of Jepson’s Malort (and an Old Style) at the Rainbo Club

One thing divides real Chicago drinkers from the posers: the ability to put down a shot of Jepson’s Malort, Chi-Town’s medicinal, locally made booze. (The Old Style, a local beer, is there to cleanse the palate.)

The bittersweet reality of great little dives is that they often lose charm when overrun by masses of clingers-on. Somehow, this Ukrainian Village spot has managed to escape that fate. The Rainbo remains populated by the same mix of art-school students, art-school alums, art-school professors and, um, art-school wannabes, all of whom are in at least one band, and all of whom hold on to terra firma with cans of beer in one hand and a shot in the other, nodding along to everything from Aesop Rock to Black Sabbath.

Of course, sometimes posers do meander in to take a few turns in the photobooth (the pictures can serve as proof later that, no, really, they’re cool!). Here’s an easy way to suss them out: if they can take down a shot of Malort, they’re Chicago enough to stick around. If they can’t, well, there’s a sports bar down the street waiting to serve them a cosmo. Amy Carr, executive editor, Time Out Chicago

1150 N Damen Ave, Ukrainian Village, Chicago, USA. +1 773 489 5999.

Discover Chicago’s hottest bars with Time Out Chicago’s weekly ‘bar chart’

 

© Jakob N Layman/Time Out LA

Los Angeles • USA

Try: a ‘Sazerac Fix’ at Pour Vous

 

The ‘Sazerac’ is thought to be the oldest American cocktail, first blended in the mid-1800s when California was in its infancy. And at Melrose Avenue’s Pour Vous bar, a heady mix of belle epoque Paris and golden-age Hollywood, it’s conjured up using rye whiskey, lemon, bitters, pastis, evaporated cane, classic burlesque and a host of special effects… 

An evening at Pour Vous is an immersion in sepia-toned, jazz-age Parisian salon – it’s also one of the classiest cocktail outings in Tinseltown. Bring a date and grab a seat near the fireplace before 10pm when the place gets packed. It’ll soon be standing room only when unexpectedly a burlesque bewitching hour descends (literally) upon the crowd.

Reservations are encouraged but not necessary for a small group dressed in proper ‘cocktail attire’ which is the only way you’re getting in. Dress code is enforced, the details of which (no T-shirts, hoodies, baseball hats, sneakers) are posted on their site and reiterated on a plaque at the entrance. Inside, blue and amber theatrical lighting illuminate various corners of a parlor-style room. The central fixture is a cozy fireplace that gives way to circular, café seating under a dome that could be construed as a miniature version of the Grand Palais.

An exemplary team of mixologists may surprise you with an aperitif not on the menu, such as ‘Floc de Gascogne’, a vin de liqueur fortified with Armagnac. The cocktail list is simplified to feature tried-and-true staples (including our tip, the classic-with-a-twist ‘Sazerac Fix’ and some ingeniously experimental concoctions. The beautiful and the damned should try ‘Le Samourai’, a deadly mix of Armagnac, framboise, rhubarb and umami. Jonathan Cristaldi, Time Out Los Angeles

Pour Vous 5574 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, USA. +1 323 871 8699.

Discover LA’s best cocktail bars

 

© Martha Williams

Chicago • USA

Try: a shot of Jepson’s Malort (and an Old Style) at the Rainbo Club

One thing divides real Chicago drinkers from the posers: the ability to put down a shot of Jepson’s Malort, Chi-Town’s medicinal, locally made booze. (The Old Style, a local beer, is there to cleanse the palate.)

The bittersweet reality of great little dives is that they often lose charm when overrun by masses of clingers-on. Somehow, this Ukrainian Village spot has managed to escape that fate. The Rainbo remains populated by the same mix of art-school students, art-school alums, art-school professors and, um, art-school wannabes, all of whom are in at least one band, and all of whom hold on to terra firma with cans of beer in one hand and a shot in the other, nodding along to everything from Aesop Rock to Black Sabbath.

Of course, sometimes posers do meander in to take a few turns in the photobooth (the pictures can serve as proof later that, no, really, they’re cool!). Here’s an easy way to suss them out: if they can take down a shot of Malort, they’re Chicago enough to stick around. If they can’t, well, there’s a sports bar down the street waiting to serve them a cosmo. Amy Carr, executive editor, Time Out Chicago

1150 N Damen Ave, Ukrainian Village, Chicago, USA. +1 773 489 5999.

Discover Chicago’s hottest bars with Time Out Chicago’s weekly ‘bar chart’

 


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