The Best Places to Get an Old Fashioned in 47 Cities According to Primer Readers

The Best Places to Get an Old Fashioned in 47 Cities According to Primer Readers
No matter where you find yourself, you can have a great drink in a place with a great vibe. This classic whiskey cocktail is simple–yet tricky to get right. So I asked the Primer community to nominate their city’s best spot.

Everyone has their travel routines. Some like to find a park or cafe and people-watch. Others seek out the best shopping, restaurants, or museums.

Me? I like to scout out a local cocktail bar and try their version of my favorite drink: the old fashioned. And I’ve found that how a bartender makes an old fashioned is a litmus test of any alcohol-slinging establishment.

See, an old fashioned is a bartender’s staple: just whiskey, sugar, ice, bitters, and an orange peel. (I prefer the cherry and orange wheel-free version that dates back before Prohibition.) It’s kind of like the drink version of a burger or a taco–beautifully simple, and therefore difficult to execute perfectly.

Actually, it’s like a minimalist Getup–the fewer layers and elements you have, the more each individual piece matters. And if the balance isn’t just right, the whole effect gets thrown off.

Proven by my years long home-bar frustrations, it’s all too easy to make an unbalanced old fashioned, as I’ve had ones that are watery. Or full of radioactive red cherries. Too boozy, or too sugary. Served with crushed ice, or topped with soda water. Or all of the above.

Now, I have particular tastes, but I wouldn’t call myself a purist. Every bartender has their way of making an old fashioned, and even riffing on the recipe without utterly changing it. Different bitters, adding a little smoke–there’s room for variety. Again, it's more about that balance of whiskey, sweet, and herbal spice.

But when I'm traveling, it's not just about the cocktail, it's also about the ambiance. It doesn't have to be a bougie mixology place or or an old dive with a masterful bartender. What matters the most is that it has a great mood, whatever that is, with good people, that helps me feel like I'm experiencing a new city doing something that I also love doing.

The frustration when traveling is, if you only have time to schlep to one cocktail spot, there’s nothing worse than being disappointed. Bad drinks or bad vibes. That’s why I recently put a call out on Primer’s Instagram Stories asking for where your favorite old fashioned is in your town. It’s a fantastic list, full of local watering holes and fancy cocktail spots.

Have your own favorite? Keep the list going in the comments!

Here are the bars from our first round of recommendations:

Jump to a city

Ashburn, Virginia

best old fashioned ashburn sense of thai

Sense of Thai St

20413 Exchange St., Ashburn VA 20147

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Jay Roush

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Atlanta, Georgia

red-phone-booth-best-old-fashioned

Red Phone Booth

17 Andrew Young International Blvd NE, Atlanta, GA 30303

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Andrew Snavely

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Austin, Texas

whislers-bar-austin-best-old-fashioned

Whisler's

1816 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78702

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Andrew Snavely

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Baltimore, Maryland

bookmakers baltimore best old fashioned

Bookmakers Cocktail Club

31 E. Cross Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Clifton E. Griffin III

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Bath, United Kingdom

botanist bath united kingdom best old fashioned

The Botanist Bath

The Octagon (No. 25) Part 46A and 28 Milsom Place, Bath BA1 1BZ, United Kingdom

Website / Trip Advisor / Instagram
Recommended by Liam Wenham

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana

hayride scandal best old fashioned

Hayride Scandal

5110 Corporate Blvd B, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Casey

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Bratislava, Slovakia

old fashioned bar bratislava slovakia best old fashioned

Old Fashioned Bar

Laurinská 214/14, 811 01 Bratislava, Slovakia

Website / Trip Advisor / Instagram
Recommended by Samuel Misovych

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Buffalo, New York

lucky day bar new york best old fashioned

Lucky Day Whiskey Bar

320 Pearl St, Buffalo, NY 14202

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Samuel Perry Eckert

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Chapel Hill, North Carolina

the crunkleton bar best old fashioned

The Crunkleton

320 W Franklin St, Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Jonah Robison

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Chicago, Illinois

best intentions bar best old fashioned

Best Intentions

3281 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Taylor Sherman

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Cincinnati, Ohio

sundry and vice cocktail bar best old fashioned

Sundry and Vice

18 W 13th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Alex Miller

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Cleveland, Ohio

spotted owl bar best old fashioned

The Spotted Owl

710 Jefferson Ave, Cleveland, OH 44113

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Kevin Yu

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Columbus, Ohio

service bar columbus ohio best old fashioned

Service Bar

1230 Courtland Ave, Columbus, OH 43201

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Andrew Huffman and Mike Waclo

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Dallas, Texas

jettison away dallas cocktails

Jettison

1878 Sylvan Ave, Dallas, TX 75208

Website / Yelp / Facebook

Recommended by Stephen Perkins

twilite lounge dallas best old fashioned

Twilite Lounge

2640 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Stephen Perkins

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Dayton, Ohio

century bar dayton ohio best old fashioned

The Century Bar

10 S Jefferson St, Dayton, OH 45402

Website / Yelp / Facebook

Recommended by Andrew Doerfler

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Denver, Colorado

green russell bar best old fashioned

Green Russell

1422 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80202

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Jake Freeland and Cody Gault

cruise room oxford hotel best old fashioned

The Cruise Room at The Oxford Hotel

1600 17th St, Denver, CO 80202

Website / Yelp / Instagram
Recommended by Alan Carter

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Detroit, Michigan

Detroit club best old fashioned

The Detroit Club

712 Cass Ave, Detroit, MI 48226

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Ayman Daher

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Dusseldorf, Germany

LiQ bar germany best old fashioned

LiQ Bar

Parkstraße 26, 40477 Düsseldorf, Germany

Website / Facebook / Yelp
Recommended by David dela Cruz

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Houston, Texas

anvil bar and refuge houston best old fashioned

Anvil Bar & Refuge

1424 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77006

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by David Anthony Hernandez III and Trevor Leeson

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Kansas City, Missouri

julep bar missouri best old fashioned

Julep Cocktail Club

4141 Pennsylvania Ave #104, Kansas City, MO 64111

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Derrick J. Evans

monarch cocktail club best old fashioned

The Monarch Cocktail Bar & Lounge

4808 Roanoke Pkwy, Kansas City, MO 64112

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Mike Payne

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Los Angeles, California

normandie-club-best-old-fashioned

The Normandie Club

3612 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Bombolinos

varnish bar los angeles best old fashioned

The Varnish

118 E 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tim Liu

seven grand bar los angeles best old fashioned

Seven Grand

515 W 7th St 2nd Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tim Liu

neat bar los angeles best old fashioned

neat.

11780 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tim Liu

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Louisville, Kentucky

mr-lees-lounge-best-old-fashioned

Mr. Lee's

935 Goss Ave, Louisville, KY 40217

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Conner Mackowiak

lola-butchertown-grocery-best-old-fashioned

Lola at Butchertown Grocery

1076 E Washington St, Louisville, KY 40206

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Conner Mackowiak

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Madison, Wisconsin

the-old-fashioned-bar-madison-wisconsin-the-best-old-fashioned

The Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant

23 N Pinckney St #1, Madison, WI 53703

Website / Facebook / Yelp
Recommended by Justin Gutowski

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Milwaukee, Wisconsin

boone-milwaukee-best-old-fashioned

Boone & Crockett

818 S Water St, Milwaukee, WI 53204

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Jacques Lareau and Rene

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Minneapolis, Minnesota

hewing-hotel-best-old-fashioned

Hewing Hotel

300 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Lynn

spoon-and-stable-best-old-fashioned

Spoon & Stable

211 N 1st St, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Sam Busman

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Nashville, Tennessee

pinewood-social-nashville-best-old-fashioned

Pinewood Social

33 Peabody St, Nashville, TN 37210

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Andrew Snavely

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New York City, New York

angels share new york city best old fashioned

Angel's Share

8 Stuyvesant St, New York, NY 10003 b/t 12th St & 11th St East Village

Facebook / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Stillman Brown

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Seville, Spain

la-cocina-de-mi-suerga-best-old-fashioned

La Cocina De Mi Suegra

Calle Virgen de los Dolores, 19A, 41804 Olivares, Sevilla, Spain

Facebook / Instagram / Trip Advisor

Recommended by Martin Sheridan

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Orlando, Florida

hansons-shoe-repair-best-old-fashioned

Hanson's Shoe Repair

27 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Marc Polk

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Pensacola, Florida

old-hickory-whiskey-bar

Old Hickory Whiskey Bar

123 S Palafox St, Pensacola, FL 32502

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Chris K. Northington

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

fishtown-tavern-best-old-fashioned

Fishtown Tavern

1301 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tyler Smith

charlie-was-a-sinner-best-old-fashioned

Charlie was a sinner.

131 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Eric Larsen

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

butcher-and-the-rye-pittsburgh-best-old-fashioned

Butcher and the Rye

212 6th St, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Nick Guzan

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Portland, Oregon

clyde common bar best old fashioned

Clyde Common

1014 SW Harvey Milk St, Portland, OR 97205

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Chris Gardener

Multnomah-Whiskey-Library-best-old-fashioned

Multnomah Whiskey Library

1124 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Andrew Snavely

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Providence, Rhode Island

the-eddy-providence-best-old-fashioned

The Eddy

95 Eddy St, Providence, RI 02903

Website / Facebook / Yelp
Recommended by Sam Lenz

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Raleigh, North Carolina

foundation-bar-raleigh-best-old-fashioned

Foundation

213 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Kevin G.

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Reno, Nevada

blind-dog-tavern-best-old-fashioned

Blind Dog Tavern

50 N Sierra St Suite 102 1A, Reno, NV 89501

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Derek Thomas

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Salt Lake City, Utah

beer-bar-utah-best-old-fashioned

Bar-X

161 E 200 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Austin Somer

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San Diego, California

polite-provisions-san-diego-best-old-fashioned

Polite Provisions

4696 30th St, San Diego, CA 92116

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Joshua Alcantara

noble-experiment-bar-best-old-fashioned

Noble Experiment

777 G St, San Diego, CA 92101

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Joshua Alcantara

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San Francisco, California

comstock-saloon-best-old-fashioned

Comstock Saloon

155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Barron Cuadro

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San Jose, California

haberdasher-bar-san-jose-best-old-fashioned

Haberdasher

43 W San Salvador St, San Jose, CA 95113

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by An Bui

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Seattle, Washington

the-whiskey-bar-seattle-best-old-fashioned

The Whiskey Bar

2122 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Website / Facebook / Yelp
Recommended by Jordan Brennan

canon-bar-seattle-best-old-fashioned

Canon

928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Ali B. Zagat

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Springfield, Massachusetts

mgm-springfield-lobby-bar-best-old-fashioned

Lobby Bar at MGM Springfield

One MGM Way, Springfield, MA 01103

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Nick D.

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St. Paul, Minnesota

PUBLIC-kitchen-bar-minnesota-best-old-fashioned

PUBLIC kitchen + bar

7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Christopher AM

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Strasbourg, France

le-local-france-best-old-fashioned

Le Local

740 Rue William, Montréal, QC H3C 1P1, Canada

Website / Facebook / Trip Advisor

Recommended by Mathieu Afonso

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Tulsa, Oklahoma

mix co bar best old fashioned

MixCo

3rd and Denver, Tulsa, OK 74103

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tyler Luellen

valkyrie-tulsa-best-old-fashioned

Valkyrie

13 E Mathew B. Brady St, Tulsa, OK 74103

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Stillman Brown

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Washington, D.C.

jack-rose-dining-saloon-best-old-fashioned

Jack Rose Dining Saloon

2007 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tara

barrel-bar-dc-best-old-fashioned

Barrel

613 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tara

crimson-diner-whiskey-bar-dc-best-old-fashioned

Crimson Whiskey Bar

627 H St NW, Washington, DC 20005

Website / Instagram / Yelp
Recommended by Tara

600t-bar-dc-best-old-fashioned

600T

600 T St NW, Washington, DC 20001

Facebook / Yelp

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Where's your favorite place to get an Old Fashioned? Keep the list going in the comments!

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.