Looking for warm-weather travel inspiration? Head to one of these destination-worthy spots with amazing drinks, each located in a southeastern U.S. city with temperate climes, even during polar vortex season. Choose wisely, and the only ice you’ll see will be in your glass.
Located within a lovingly restored 1938 Art Deco Greyhound bus terminal, this downtown restaurant offers multiple cocktailing options, including the Diner Bar in the front, a U-shaped bar in the dining room and a patio out back. Admire the stunning room, and be sure to order plenty from acclaimed chef Mashama Bailey’s wide-ranging menu, which nods to soul food but doesn’t stop there.
This is an oasis for cross-drinkers. As a brewpub, of course it offers plenty for beer devotees. But thoughtful options also abound for cocktail and wine lovers. The Boulevardier-inspired Carpetbagger (made with rye, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, Amaro di Angostura) hits all the right notes. The casual décor includes soaring ceilings, acres of soothing wood paneling and cured meats dangling in every available nook—a reminder to sample the extensive charcuterie program.
Under the watchful, jovial eye of Bob Peters, this swank space within The Ritz-Carlton hotel delights the eye and the palate. Have your camera ready for elaborate Instagram-worthy libations. There’s always a punch, of course, but look for Bob the Bartender’s originals or innovative spins on the classics, such as a Carbonated Aviation. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Sprawling and casual, this relaxed bar offers plenty to do as well as to eat and drink. Look for a bocce court outdoors or six reclaimed wood lanes repurposed from an old Bowl O’ Rama in Indiana. Cocktails and coffee drinks are plentiful. You combine both in a drink like the Southern Limerick, made with coffee, James E. Pepper 1776 rye, Amaro Meletti and heavy cream.
Yes, it’s a bar located inside the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, at Terminal E. But let’s face it: As a major hub, odds are high you’ll have to transfer through this airport, and yes, it’s well worth stopping at what’s likely the best airport bar in the country for a well-made cocktail and a platter of sushi.
Think oysters and Martinis at this nautical-inspired space within the Ace Hotel, which opened in July. The bustling bar downstairs is sleek and spare; a larger room upstairs has a more relaxed feel, with weathered walls and black leather banquettes. Keep an eye out for a special list of low-ABV “session” cocktails by NYC’s Milk & Honey and Grand Banks alum Lauren Schell.