You don’t have to venture too far to come across a great bar in the Golden State. We’ve picked some ultra-special hangouts that are a little different to the average all-American bar. Here are some of our favorites.
The Secret One
There’s nothing more satisfying than discovering a secret bar that only the locals know about. Disguised as a vintage-style barbershop, the Barrelhouse in San Luis Obispo is a real gem. To find the underground speakeasy, head straight to the back of Mike’s Barber Shop, located on Chorro Street and down the stairs. You’ll be greeted with 19th Century décor and an awesome selection of libations including the highly sought after Reservado De Robles Barrel-Aged Beers (only available at this taproom). Not just a cozy place for a tipple or two, the Barrelhouse is a venue for a whole host of events from Craft Beer Festivals to Jazz nights.
The Elevated One
Take your beer drinking to new heights at Umbrella Bar at Palisades Tahoe (formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows), North Lake Tahoe. With insane views overlooking the lake, it’s a no brainer to head here after a day exploring the mountains. Ride the scenic cable car to High Camp at an elevation of 8,200 ft. and when you’ve finished the beer, enjoy a long soak in the High Camp pool and hot tub, surrounded by Palisades Tahoe’s legendary granite peaks. If sipping on a pint of the good stuff at one of America’s highest outdoor bars is as high on your California wish list as the place itself, this is the spot for you.
The Sustainable One
When it comes to cocktails The Treasury in San Francisco’s Financial District has a no waste philosophy. Bartender, Ryan Hall takes his eco-responsibility very seriously and creates cocktails with a conscience. One ingredient that Ryan reuses is "aquafaba," the water or juice-like substance found in cans of chickpeas. Why waste an ingredient that when whipped makes for a superb egg white replacement? Perfect for those late night Whiskey Sours.
The Celebrity One
If The Ivy is good enough for the likes of Jennifer Aniston and the Kardashians, it’s good enough for you. Overflowing with Hollywood glamour, there isn’t another bar in L.A. that is as frequented with A-listers as this one. Squeeze past the paparazzi and settle in for some seriously delicious cocktail concoctions, featuring ingredients like fresh kumquats, organic agave nectar and serrano chillies. It’s not the cheapest bar on the list, but can you really put a price on spotting your favorite celeb?
The In-the-Middle-of-Nowhere One
Looking for a booze-soaked oasis in the middle of the desert? Then Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace is totally worth the drive, located close to the entrance of Joshua Tree National Park in a small place named Pioneertown. This charming joint has everything you could want—whiskey, BBQ food and a long history as a once liveable movie set. Despite being out in the desert, top indie bands and world-class musicians have been known to play gigs here alongside Pappy and Harriet’s jam band. If you have a feeling you’re in the wrong place, you’re probably in the right place, but don’t let the rusty exterior deter you from this awesome bar.