Monday, May 21, 2007
Esquire's Best Bars in America 2007
Building a list of the best bars in America is a difficult task. One person's favorite bar is another person's dive. Some love a bar for its atmosphere, some because it has great music, some for the drinks, and still others because it is a great place to meet people. Esquire magazine has come out with its 2007 Best Bars in America. The list does indeed have some great bars, but if you are truly looking for the Best Bars in America I'm not sure this is the place to start.
First, this disclaimer. The Lyke2Drink 100 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die list is likely not much better in many regards than the Esquire effort. After all, these are my picks based on personal experiences and from talking to people who should know: other beer drinkers.
In my opinion, the Esquire list appears to be slanted toward dive locations that are in with the in crowd and a few upscale hipster locations. There are gaps and flaws that trouble me about the list. First of all, there are 12 New York City bars and seven Los Angeles bars, but only one from Chicago. I agree that New York is a great drinking town, but Chicago takes a backseat to no city when it comes to bars worth hitting. Philadelphia, New Orleans, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Miami and Seattle also rated just one bar each -- and not the right ones in my mind. Hey, Cleveland, Denver and Portland, Oregon, did not even get a mention. You can find a number of great places to throw back a few in these cities. Trust me on that.
I applaud Esquire for focusing on the American bar. It is one of our greatest institutions. And, Esquire did not completely ignore fly over country in its listing. Lou's Pub & Package in Birmingham, Ala., Monte's Downtown in Fargo, N.D., Dead Presidents Pub & Eatery in Wilmington, Del., and The Red Key in Indianapolis, Ind.
In the end, for most people the greatest bar in America happens to be the one they are in at the moment. If anything, Esquire has just helped start a few barroom conversations.