Feature

The 15 Hottest New Beer Bars in the U.S.

By Zagat Staff  |  March 11, 2015

The country's suds scene is heating up, with craft-beer emporiums and homegrown breweries popping up in cities big and small. Check out 15 of the hottest places to throw back a pint right now.

  of  
  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    U-Bahn in Philadelphia

    Why it’s hot: Descend the stairs to this hip subterranean party spot in Midtown Village for an edgier vibe than sister bar Bru Craft & Wurst (right upstairs), but the same great taste in beer selection by director of operations Alex Bokulich.

    Number of beers on tap: 18

    What to eat: Deviled eggs with pickle relish ($5), “hoagie dip” ($6), BBQ tempeh sandwich ($8).

    1320 Chestnut St.; 215-800-1079

  • Credit: Joel Benjamin

    Bukowski Tavern in Boston

    Why it’s hot: The Cambridge tavern is basically a whole new spot, now under the helm of playful chef Brian Poe. Though the industrial-chic interior has been modernized, unchanged is its commitment to beer and its "Dead Authors Club" that lets regulars secure a displayed personal mug by sampling the full suds selection.

    Number of beers on tap: 36

    What to eat: Head here for a look at some of the unique eats, including unusual meats like the camel burger ($13.95) made with a mix of Middle Eastern and North African spices, then topped with pickled turnips and tahini sauce. 

    1281 Cambridge St., Cambridge; 617-497-7077

  • The Mighty in Miami

    Why it's hot: This tiny, beer-focused gastropub on Coral Way offers suds from around the globe (including some local options) paired with savory eats like house-smoked bacon and charcuterie boards.

    Number of beers on tap: 11

    What to eat: Housemade pork sausage. 

    2224 SW 22nd St.; 305-570-4311

  • Credit: Lori Midson

    Declaration Brewing in Denver

    Why it’s hot: A group of mad beer scientists, all graduates from the Colorado School of Mines, just unveiled this new green-certified brewery and taphouse that, like its name, makes a bold statement, offering a diverse lineup of craft suds (don't miss the unorthodox oatmeal IPA), all brewed on-site and served in a high-design taproom that's gearing up to add a legitimate beer garden showcasing live bands. 

    Number of beers on tap: 10, with the capacity for 40, including a nitro tap line

    What to eat: You can either get a soft pretzel inside, or graze from the fleet of food trucks that park outside.

    2030 S. Cherokee St.; 303-955-7410

  • Credit: Alex Gregg

    The Hay Merchant in Houston

    Why it’s hot: The craft-beer-centric Montrose-area bar takes both its beer and its food seriously: James Beard Award-winning chef Chris Shepherd (Underbelly) is behind the eats.

    Number of beers on tap: 80+

    What to eat: We favor the chicken wings, Cease and Desist Burger (double the meat, double the cheese) and brunch-only katsudon, a hearty rice bowl topped with a crispy pork cutlet, miso corn, pickled cucumber and eggs.

    1100 Westheimer Rd.; 713-528-9805

  • Sauf Haus Bier Hall in Washington, DC

    Why It’s Hot: This beautiful double-decker beer hall in Dupont Circle boasts an open roof deck and keeps things simple with minimal food offerings and beer prices that hover around $8.

    Number of beers on tap: 16

    What to Eat: Soft pretzels; sausages.

    1216 18th St. NW; 202-466-3355

  • Independence Brewing in Austin

    Why it’s hot: A local favorite, the microbrewery just renovated and re-opened its tasting-room doors, serving flights and full-size pints.

    Number of beers on tap: Nine

    What to Eat: No food as of yet.

    3913 Todd Ln., #607; 512-707-0099

  • Credit: Ballast Point

    Ballast Point in San Diego

    Why it’s hot: This is one of two Ballast Point locations with a dedicated kitchen ready to feed hungry beer lovers. Among the most influential breweries in the county, the drink menu doesn't disappoint. Ballast's entire line of brews is available as individual tasters or full-fledged servings alongside satisfying bar grub. Despite the industrial Miramar location, it's quickly become a popular after-work hangout and weekend outing.

    Number of beers on tap: 28

    What to eat: IPA flatbread with roasted garlic and four cheeses.

    9045 Carroll Way; 858-790-6900

  • Dusek’s in Chicago

    Why it’s hot: After some major renovation, historic Thalia Hall makes a comeback with this event space, basement punch lounge and beer-driven restaurant. The team behind Longman & Eagle executes gourmet reinterpretations of classic bar fare, such as wood-roasted stuffed pretzel with beer mustard, beef-fat frites and an infamous Juicy Lucy burger.

    Number of beers on tap: 24

    What to drink: Moody Tongue Thalia Hall Pilsner

    What to eat: General Tso's sweetbreads.

    1227 W. 18th St.; 312-526-3851

  • Chuck's Hop Shop in Seattle

    Why It's got: Part retail wonderland — with thousands of bottles and cans from near and far — and part cheerful community hangout, this is mecca for serious beer geeks, though still not too intimidating for newbies, especially if you're not shy about asking the sharp staff pouring the long, long list of revolving taps. If it's available, go for the Perennial Sump Coffee Stout. Because you're in Seattle, and who doesn't love a little caffeine mixed in? 

    Number of beers on tap: 40+

    What to eat: On the food front, there's usually a truck out front of both locations (the original Chuck's is on 85th), but there's also pretzels and other bar snacks, as well as ice cream from Full Tilt.

    2001 E. Union St.; 206-538-0743

  • Threes Brewing in New York City

    Why it’s hot: This new Gowanus hot spot brews its own beers on-site in its massive former warehouse space and serves them out front, including eight house varieties ranging from toasty porters to citrusy saisons. Proprietary suds are served by the glass, pitcher and growler (either to stay or take home). For non-beer-geeks, there are also several barrel-aged cocktails and four wines on tap.

    Number of beers on tap: 20

    What to eat: Perhaps the coolest part about Threes is the roster of rotating restaurants that come through the kitchen. Past guests have included Mile End and Roberta's; the current resident is Dover/Battersby.

    333 Douglass Ave., Brooklyn; 718-522-2110

  • Hop City Bar in Atlanta

    Why it’s hot: What food hall would be complete without a place for a drink? Krog Street Market's stand-alone bar is an offshoot of the Hop City beer shop. It serves up rotating drafts and bottled selections — wine, ciders and more too, with a focus on local and craft options — from its vantage point in the corner of KSM's communal dining area.

    Number of beers on tap: 60

    What to eat: Stroll through the food hall. You'll find barbecue at Grand Champion, charcuterie at Spotted Trotter, Middle Eastern at Yalla…and much more.

    99 Krog St. NE; 470-355-2534

  • Barrel Head Brewhouse in San Francisco

    Barrel Head’s arrival in Nopa was a long-awaited event…so long awaited that we worried it wouldn’t live up to expectations. Instead, it surpassed them — Barrel Head’s massive space is home to a stunning selection of draft beers; four house brew ranging from a persimmon-laced saison to a bourbon barrel-aged porter; an impressive selection of cocktails; and a mouthwatering menu of creative comfort food. Oh, they do brunch too, should you want to get your beer on early in the day (we know we do).

    Number of beers on tap: 30

    What to eat: Poutine, crispy Brussels salad, burger.

    1785 Fulton St.; 415-416-6989

  • Credit: Eagle Rock Brewery

    Eagle Rock Brewery Public House in Los Angeles

    Why it’s hot: An offshoot of Jeremy Raub and Ting Su’s popular Eagle Rock Brewery, this new restaurant combines elevated eats with craft beers. Set in the former Fatty’s in the heart of Eagle Rock, it’s pretty sleek, capturing the modern gastropub spirit with exposed wood beams overhead, a mix of reclaimed wood, brick and shiny subway tiles on the walls and giant garage-door windows. All ERB beers, of course, are on tap, including Solidarity, Manifesto and Populist IPA, as well as special brews like Molly amber ale and A-Stout.

    Number of beers on tap: Eight

    What to eat: The menu from chef Jerry Su (Son of a Gun), Ting's brother, is full of atypical bar fare like smoked fish dip with Ritz crackers; kale salad with white anchovies and Pantaleo cheese; slices of pink Broadbent country ham with little bite-size cornmeal biscuits; farro and beets with grapefruit and amaranth; and whole branzino with herb salad. Some brewpub snobs might want a simple burger, but Eagle Rock is screaming for this kind of food. Weekend brunch is now served, as well.

    1627 Colorado Blvd.; 323-739-0081

  • Credit: Bret Redman

    The Blind Butcher in Dallas

    Why it’s hot: The Lower Greenville tavern serves up a slew of beers in a casually hip environment, as well as an extensive list of hand-cranked sausages to go with them.

    Number of beers on tap: 24

    What to eat: You’ll never go wrong with any of the locally sourced charcuterie boards or sausages, or snacky items like pastrami egg rolls, fried pig ears and duck-fat fries.

    1919 Greenville Ave.; 214-887-0000