An 1980s-inspired video barcade in the heart of Silicon Valley; a Japanese-Peruvian mashup in NYC’s Greenwich Village; Chicago’s follow-up to a Michelin-kissed superstar—the hits keep coming this season as some of the most anticipated cocktail bars in the country open their doors. These are the four bar openings we’re most excited about this fall.
One symptom of the tech industry’s mighty reign in SIlicon Valley: There’s now a constellation of top-notch cocktail bars worth checking out south of San Francisco. San Jose burst onto the scene in 2014 with Paper Plane, which was preceded by sister bar Original Gravity Public House, a hot spot for craft beer, sausages and duck fat fries.
Dan Phan and Johnny Wang met at UC Irvine, where they shared a love of classic arcade games. MiniBoss, their newest venture with George Lahlouh, also bar manager, is slated to open in November with eight pinball machines and 22 vintage arcade games in a 6,000-plus-square-foot space. There will be a walk-up food counter inside dubbed SuperGood Kitchen, a true California mashup of Asian cuisines, from Indonesian to Korean.
There will also be a main bar and satellite bar, offering 18 craft beers on tap and 14 different cocktails including slushies, tap cocktails and drinks labeled Single Player or Multiplayer. Single Player cocktails include the boozy Orange Julius–meets-Creamsicle vibe of the Thunderdome (made with Nolet's gin, Bols yogurt liqueur, orange-rooibos sherbet, Angostura orange bitters, vanilla and egg), while Multiplayer cocktails serve two to four people.
From the team behind Trick Dog, the long-anticipated next venture of BVHospitality’s Josh Harris and Morgan Schick, Bon Voyage!, is slated to open this fall in the original Slanted Door restaurant space in the Mission District. General manager Kimberly Rosselle (previously the bar manager at Trick Dog), bar manager Elliot Clark (previously a bartender at Trick Dog) and chef Ian Pao (previously of Hitachino Beer & Wagyu and two-Michelin-starred Acquerello) will head up the concept, inspired by vacations to exotic locales around the world.
Asia, Africa and California help inform everything from the food and cocktails to the design and soundtrack. The drinks will lean heavily on the classics: Think a Singapore Sling riff featuring whiskey and nitro coconut milk or a Bamboo variation carbonated with Champagne yeast. With his team of dumpling makers, Pao will craft traditional Chinese dumplings, from shao mai to xiao long bao, combining bold flavors from Macau and NorCal in his dishes.
When it comes to Peruvian food in NYC, few have done more than the restaurant group that includes Brooklyn’s Llama Inn and new Peruvian sandwich shop in the West Village Llamita. This fall, chef Erik Ramirez and the team will open a third spot in Greenwich Village, Llama San.
Fine-dining vet Ramirez and financier turned restaurateur Juan Correa take Llama Inn’s modern Peruvian approach and focus it on Peru’s Nikkei category, the country’s unique style of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines. Expect dishes like wild sturgeon caviar dotted with quinoa tofu, furikake and chancaca (unrefined Peruvian sugar).
Cocktail great Lynnette Marrero will be playing on both Peruvian and Japanese drinking traditions in her menu. Peru’s national spirit, pisco, will be well represented, alongside wines from the Spanish-speaking world. Look forward to concoctions like the Moto Milk Punch (persimmon-infused quebranta pisco, Japanese citrus, clarified soy milk, lemon and orange peels, and pink and Szechuan peppercorns) and the Midori Madre (Japanese shochu, torontel pisco, lime and yuzu juices, aloe vera, shiso leaf and kiwi shrub).
Oriole has been one of Chicago’s most lauded restaurants in recent years. So it’s no small deal to hear that this Michelin-starred great is opening a new cocktail bar. Welcome Kumiko, slated to open just around the corner from Oriole in the West Loop this fall.
Beverage curator Julia Momose, chef Noah Sandoval and his wife, general manager Cara Sandoval, are partners in the project. Momose hails from GreenRiver and The Office at Aviary, known most recently for her elevated booze-free drinks and experimentation.
With 11 to 15 cocktails on the menu, she pulls inspiration from her native Japan. A tightly curated spirits selections will be heavy on Japanese labels, plus lots of sake and shochu and some of Momose’s “spirit-free” drinks. Look forward to cocktails like the Evening Star, made with Nikka Coffey gin, Kalak single-malt Irish vodka, Rhine Hall La Normande pommeau, fresh lemon juice and an apple garnish.
And if you really want to go all-out, secure a spot at the eight-seat bar, where you can experience an omakase-style tasting menu of bites, dishes and drinks.
Mixing your cocktail