Thanks to the current popularity of complex single malts and fancy blends, it’s hard to find a bar that doesn’t stock at least a few Scotches. And there are also now a number of establishments across the country that offer huge whisky selections—we’re talking hundreds of bottles, ranging from the standards to the extremely rare. So check out our eight favorite Scotch bars and then hit the road. Slàinte!
Bern’s Steak House, 1208 South Howard Avenue, Tampa, Fla., 813 251 2421:
We love pairing a perfectly grilled steak with a glass of red wine or Scotch, and this Florida institution has truly epic collections of both. The cellar contains more than half a million bottles, representing some 6,800 vinos, plus hundreds of whiskies and brandies. The Scotches include just about every distillery in existence, as well as plenty of obscure ones, like a Finest Old Special that was distilled in 1884 and bottled in 1905.
The Daily Pint, 2310 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, Calif., 310 450 7631:
Talk about an LA story: This British pub was founded by a London-born hairdresser who used to run a Beverly Hills salon. Luckily, he’s also a whisky fanatic and has assembled Southern California’s finest selection of Scotches with more than 300 bottlings. (There are also whiskies from seven other countries.) If you can’t make it in person, check out the bar’s YouTube channel for video reviews.
Dundee Dell, 5007 Underwood Avenue, Omaha, Neb., 402 553 9501:
Lots of bars claim to have the largest collection of single malts in the US, but this may just be the champ, with 753 choices! Fortunately, the list is organized by distillery, with tasting notes for each. And the bar hosts a tasting the first Sunday of every month, which lets patrons sample a wider variety of drams.
Freakin’ Frog, 4700 South Maryland Parkway, Suite 8, Las Vegas, 702 217 6794:
Vegas is all about excess, and this bar is no exception. While it’s famous for the more than 1,200 bottled beers it offers, we suggest you immediately head upstairs to the Whiskey Attic. There, you’ll find more than 1,000 different whiskies from around the world. The Freakin’ Frog even has its own brand of white whiskey, Freakin’ Lightning.
Molly MacPherson’s, 310 West Congress Street, Savannah, Ga., 912 259 9600:
While you usually find nice bourbon selections in Southern watering holes, this pub actually stocks more than 100 single malts. Don’t miss the authentic Scottish menu of dishes like meat pies, cock-a-leekie soup and neeps and tatties.
Nihon Whisky Lounge, 1779 Folsom Street, San Francisco, 415 552 4400:
Tokyo is famous for its bars specializing in great service and great whisky. But you don’t need to cross the Pacific to get a taste of Japanese hospitality. Instead, head to this San Francisco establishment (pictured above) that has more than 500 Scotches by the pour or by the bottle—buy one and you can store it in a private locker for your next visit—plus some very clever whisky cocktails.
Pints Pub, 221 West 13th Avenue, Denver, 303 534 7543:
The more than 250 Scotches on this watering hole’s 16-page menu are impressive, but even more so is the fact that the list contains loads of obscure spirits from so-called ghost distilleries that are no longer open, like Ben Wyvis, Caperdonich and Glen Esk. Pair your Scotch with a glass of one of the bar’s house-brewed English-style “real ales.”
Whiskey, 347 West Main Street, Durham, N.C., 919 682 6169:
Technically a private club (lifetime membership costs $3), the aptly named Whisky allows smoking, which means you can enjoy a stogie from the walk-in humidor with your drink. There are more than 100 Scotches to choose from, as well as a nice assortment of American and Irish whiskies.
(Photo courtesy Hideki Owa)