I admit that in the cocktail category, I set the bar pretty low. Much beyond a gin and tonic or a trusty top-shelf margarita, no salt, never frozen, and I'm not terribly adverturesome. I'm a sipper not a drinker. But I do enjoy an appealing bar scene—the kind of place that makes me feel like I'm someplace, not just a lush in a crush of noise and elbows and sweaty, salivating men. My watering hole of choice would have that perfect tonic of being swanky without pretention, homey minus the burlap, class sans attitude, and please, nothing remotely "hip." The good news is that, if you want to buy me a drink, there are three potentially prizewinning options for us, at least according to Food & Wine's latest poll.
In their "People's Best New Bars" award, presented by Roca Patron (a more-than-acceptable tequilla for my marg, mentioned above), Food & Wine will crown (royale) the "most incredible drink destinations in the country." In the Southeast, among the 20 contenders, Charleston ties with Nashville for the most nominations—three each. But given the fact that one of Nashville's candidates is Husk, the little sister to its Charleston homebase headquarters (the enchantingly fabulous bar of which is regretably, and unforgivably, not included), I think we can say the Holy City outpaces Music City as the Drinking City. You know, communion and all.
So, your homework this week is to go sample the wares at Mike Latta's The Ordinary (which gets my vote, hands down, and bottom's up), at Edmond's Oast and at Proof, our three Southeastern Best New Bar nomiees, and then cast your vote.
While you're at it, maybe you'll figure out just what the hell Falernum is.
Front photo from here.