Cocktails & Spirits

What Makes for the Perfect Bar? An Excuse to Drink Helps.

There were a legions of lousy bars in my hometown in Washington, D.C., in contrast to the library of great ones in South Florida. "The Perfect Bar" in this month's Garden and Gun notes that the South nurtures them because it encourages so many excuses to drink:

The South has produced such excellent establishments in which to drink

"with somebody" because we have created such a cornucopia of fine,

local, organically grown reasons to drink. Here are a few: Fishing. No

fishing. Summer. Failing summer, Mardi Gras. Weeklong cotillions and/or

"telephone book" weddings. Recovery from weeklong cotillions and/or

"telephone book" weddings. SEC football championship, won. SEC football

championship, lost. Cotton crop, good. Cotton crop, bad... The bars of the South have been designed to cradle and nurture this universe of infinite possibility.

For a bar to be perfect requires some vetting. On the one hand, it may be on the edge of something big. Lorelei in the Keys is cited as an example, the edge of civilization. Perhaps a spot on the ocean or the Intracoastal will do.

Or it's an absolute fire-trap shithole with great music: "Junior's has since burned to the ground as a result of what we might

call terminal juke-joint-ness--meaning, the unholy combination of frayed

1930s wiring in a sharecropper's house and moonshine in the larder."

The common factor is that no one tries too hard. "Junior's effortlessly accomplished that stripped-down thing that often

occurs in great Southern bars: It dove for the low end with such force

and velocity that it punched through the bottom and came out on top."


still exploring from Palm Beach to the Keys and continue to find great

ones, though I haven't yet found mine. Got some

nominees for South Florida's perfect bar? If so, leave them in the comments.

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Contact: Melissa McCart