The 6 wildest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the US
Finding the perfect place to celebrate New Year’s Eve is always a little stressful. Whether you’re looking to party hard, bring the kids or just chill out, there’s no doubt expectations run high.
To help settle your holiday anxieties, we’ve picked the best places to ring in 2020 around the country. So, make those reservations, mark your calendar, kick back and relax.
New Orleans, LA
Music! Food! Cocktails! Culture! Party it up in this happening southern city, where the weather is mild enough to celebrate al fresco, but there’s plenty to do inside.
Jackson Square is where the big action happens, with the Fleur De Lis drop at midnight, but you can make reservations at music venues like Tipitina’s and the House of Blues if you prefer to boogie down.
Got kids? The Louisiana Children’s Museum does a New Year’s countdown at noon for those with early bedtimes and the Audobon Zoo does a family-centric celebration in the morning. Football fans get an extra-added bonus and you can nab a ticket to the New Year’s Day Allstate Sugar Bowl here.
New York, NY
If you can make it there, you really can make it anywhere, because New Year’s Eve in New York City is a wild ride. If you’re willing to brave the crowds, and the temperatures, you can join the festivities in Times Square, which starts at 6pm and culminates in the Waterford Crystal Ball dropping at midnight. This year, performers include Sting and Christina Aguilera.
Want to stay close but warm? Get your cocktail on, tiki-style, at The Pod Hotels 42’s The Polynesian.
Celebratory fireworks are also part of the NYC NYE and you can watch them explode in downtown Manhattan’s South Street Seaport or Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. For a high-end culinary tour de force, make reservations for the tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park or book a room at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge and nab two tickets to spectacular views of the skyline at Brooklyn Heights Social Club’s Classic NYE Celebration.
Las Vegas, NV
In a town where every night feels like New Year’s Eve, it may be hard to choose how you want to celebrate. Thankfully, the city makes it special by closing the entire strip down for traffic, so there really is dancing in the streets. And, come midnight, you’ll be treated to a stupendous fireworks display coordinated by the casinos.
If you’re looking for something with less than the approximately 300,000 guests on the strip, you can grab tickets for parties Like Nas New Year’s Eve at Tao or the family-friendly party at Hofbrauhaus, which starts at 3pm to celebrate alongside its original beer hall in Munich. If it’s music you’re after, there’s much to choose from, like Calvin Harris at Omnia, Drake at XS Nightclub, Lady Gaga at Park MGM and Maroon 5 at Mandalay Bay.
Dripping with as much southern charm as Spanish moss, pedestrian friendly Savannah is the perfect home base for NYE festivities. Spend the day exploring the 22 different squares, antebellum mansions and cobblestone streets in the Historic district, including Forrest Gump’s infamous bus stop in Chippewa Square. Then head to City Market, where you can grab some grub, walk the market and catch live music all night long. Next, wander down to the hopping River District for a countdown to the Up the Cup ball drop, which is a six-foot to-go cup ringing in 2020.
If you’re looking for something more elegant, you can make reservations at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa for dinner followed by a rocking dance party or keep closer to the festivities with a meal from the four-course tasting menu at Vic’s on the River. Midnight fireworks will explode over River Street as well, but you can also catch them at the city’s Tybee Island beach.
Most people don’t need a reason to visit paradise, but if you’re heading to Honolulu for the holidays, there’s plenty of things to do if you can scrape yourself off the close to perfect beaches. The Party of the Year is in its 10th iteration and though the location and headliner hasn’t yet been announced, you can buy your tickets now.
Tiki’s Waikiki is also hosting a massive blowout Soiree Dinner & Party, with a four-course dinner, flowing cocktails, live bands, a DJ and of course, dancing. For a family-friendly option, check out Moana Surfrider’s around the world-themed celebration, with DJ Baby G, kid’s activities and an oceanfront seat for the massive fireworks show over Waikiki Beach. The Hilton Hawaiian Village will also have its own fireworks over the lagoon.
Want to stay dry and warm this New Year’s? Phoenix is a fine bet. And in addition to having a number of all-inclusive hotels, like the spacious and family-friendly Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, located just east of the city limits, you can also grab a ticket for the Crescent New Year’s Eve 2020 Block party, which gives you access to four of the biggest parties in the downtown area.
If you’d rather stay in one place, check out the arts-and music-heavy Flannel Ball NYE Party and Art Show or book the accompanying Cloth & Flame five-course dinner, all happening at the Roosevelt Row Arts District. Or bring the whole family to the Medieval Times celebration and enjoy a two-hour tournament and a four-course feast as well as music, dancing and of course, admission to the Museum of Torture.
7 Great Destinations for An Affordable Weekend Getaway
The idea of planning a major European jaunt or an exotic island excursion can seem like an overwhelming feat. Long vacations can be extremely pleasurable, but they do come with large price tags and hours on end of planning. These points can easily discourage travelers from going anywhere (can you blame them?). The reality is, anyone with a weekend to spare can visit a variety of great homegrown destinations that are ripe for exploring. These trips can usually be planned or spontaneous and don’t have to break the bank. 1. New York, New York The Big Apple is always going to be a popular destination, whether you live near or far. This whirlwind city has something miraculous to see and do every second of the day and night, from Broadway shows and copious museums to a myriad of restaurants and parks to explore. New York City is packed with things to do – so much you could fill several weekends. New York Hilton Hotels launched a "Weekend Like a Local" package. The 3-night package is ideal for short trips to New York City with travelers saving up to 50% off on Sunday nights, along with many other perks and discounts. 2. Newport, Rhode Island When you live in New England, the hardest part about going on a weekend getaway is deciding on where to visit. There are so many destinations that are less than a tank of gas away. Newport, Rhode Island, coined the crown jewel of The Classic Coast is one spectacular option, known for its grand mansions along the famous Cliff Walk. Just ninety minutes south of Boston and three hours north of New York City, Newport is a drivable destination for more than 30% of US residents – yet, it feels a world away. The year-round destination has an overflow of charm, culture, celebrated restaurants, bucolic trails, iconic mansion walks, a vibrant nightlife and lauded beaches. What are you waiting for? 3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Located within a 90-minute flight of 50% of the US population and a six-hour or less drive from nine states, Pittsburgh is a very accessible city. Have I sold you on this destination yet? The city has reinvented itself from its industrial past and is now the cultural heart of the region. The Warhol Museum, the largest single artist museum in North America, provides seven floors of pop art immersion for less than $20. Just want to hang? Take a tour at Wigle Whiskey distillery and enjoy a cocktail and spirit tasting for $20. Kimpton Hotel Monaco is in walking distance to these activities and has hotel rooms available starting at $149 a night. 4. Temecula, California What if I told you that you could merge the best of Las Vegas and Napa in one affordable trip? Well, you can in Temecula, a burgeoning wine region in Southern California that is home to the largest casino on the west coast called Pechanga Resort Casino. To put it into perspective, the casino floor is even larger than the MGM Grand in Las Vegas! The city is close to the San Diego and Ontario, California, airports, making plane travel a breeze. When you arrive, take your pick at any of the 50 wineries, visit the eclectic Old Town Temecula with restaurants, bars, boutiques or take your pick at outdoor activities such as hiking, hot air ballooning or mountain biking. 5. Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida With 250 kinds of shells, 25 miles of bike paths and 15 mile of beaches, Sanibel and Captiva Islands sound like the perfect dreamy escape for a weekend getaway. And if that doesn’t sway you, the fact that it’s cheaper and closer to home than the Caribbean should do it. Instead of crowded beaches and costly theme park tickets, the two unspoiled islands have an "old Florida" ambiance, with no stoplights, chain restaurants, or buildings higher than a palm tree. Nestled on the tip of Captiva, South Seas Island Resort is a haven for families and nature lovers, situated on 300 acres of protected wildlife with 2 miles of secluded beachfront. Now start hunting for those 250 varieties of shells! 6. Rapid City, South Dakota With direct flights to Rapid City from major cities such as Dallas, Phoenix and Salt Lake City, this metropolis is becoming a weekend getaway destination for its exciting outdoor activities, dynamic art scene and unique culinary options. Looking for a good view? Known for its famous rock formations, travelers can visit Black Hills for diverse rock climbing (or just hiking) opportunities. After your outdoor adventure, check out Art Alley, a passageway of free-form graffiti murals that intermingle with pop art, abstract and cultural works. End your day by pleasing the foodie in your group with a taste of authentic bison entrees such as bison meatloaf or short ribs. 7. Kalispell, Montana Located in the heart of the Flathead Valley, Kalispell is a destination that is easy to get to and has a laid back vibe. For travelers who are dipping their toes back into traveling, a few key elements stand out: no traffic, small city size (23,000 people) and easily navigable. Plus, it's within minutes of some of Montana's most incredible attractions, including Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park. The park is open year-round and the west entrance is a 35-minute drive from Kalispell. Visitors can also explore the quaint downtown area, which is filled with local boutiques, coffee shops, breweries, restaurants and more. It’s the perfect small town adventure for a weekend getaway!
The 10 Best Diners in The US
With a casual atmosphere, familiar greasy spoon fare and a distinctive lingo all their own, roadside diners hold a nostalgic place within the greater scope of American restaurant culture. Whether you’re stopping in for a burger, fries and a milkshake or breakfast all day with a bottomless cup of coffee poured by sassy waitresses who can still get away with calling customers “hon” and “sweetie,” these iconic eateries can always be counted on to deliver a satisfying dining experience. Here are ten of the most quintessential diners to visit across the country. 1. The Roadside Diner – Wall, New Jersey New Jersey bills itself as the diner capital of the world, and the Roadside is about as exemplary as it gets. Housed in a shiny chrome unit that still contains the original 1940s stools and booths, the eatery’s been cooking up omelets, pancakes, burgers and tuna melts since the 1940s. A fun bit of local trivia: the Roadside served as the backdrop for Bon Jovi’s 1994 Crossroad album cover, and also made an appearance in Bruce Springsteen’s “Girls in their Summer Clothes” music video. 2. Tom’s Restaurant – New York City Seinfeld fans will immediately recognize this Morningside Heights corner spot where Jerry, George and Elaine frequently hung out (it also inspired “Tom’s Diner,” Suzanne Vega’s biggest hit), but the family-owned joint has actually been in operation since the 1940s. Hearty lumberjack breakfasts, traditional Greek salads and gravy-drenched hot turkey sandwiches keep loyal customers coming back again and again. 3. Blue Benn Diner – Bennington, Vermont For such a little establishment, the charming Blue Benn Diner boasts a surprisingly big menu that spans breakfast burritos, salmon burgers, open-faced sandwiches, falafel, fried scallops, gyros, vegetarian options and Indian pudding. If you can’t find something to eat here, you’re just too darn picky. The classic 1940s boxcar setting and unpretentious servers only add to the appeal. 4. The Palace Diner – Biddeford, Maine With just 15 seats to work with, it’s safe to expect a wait at this breakfast-and-lunch-only diner. The railcar that houses the restaurant was originally built in 1927, and holds the distinction of being one of just two surviving Pollard cars left in the country. The tuna salad sandwiches and tuna melts here are two of the most in-demand dishes, and good enough to make diners forget all about traditional New England lobster rolls. 5. Brent’s Drugs – Jackson, Mississippi Movie buffs may remember Brent’s Drugs from its star turn in “The Help,” but the historic Fondren district diner/soda fountain inside the pharmacy has actually been in business since 1946. Snag a vintage turquoise vinyl booth or a seat at the counter and order up some classic Southern pimento cheese, biscuit sandwiches with a side of cheese grits, or a signature Brent’s Burger washed down with a classic Coke float. 6. The Oasis Diner – Plainfield Indiana Just a few miles west of Indianapolis, the Oasis moved around a few times before finally settling into its current location on the Old National Road/U.S. 40 in 2014. Originally manufactured in New Jersey and shipped to Indiana by rail in the 1950s, the now-restored diner shines like a new penny. On the menu? Western omelets, biscuits and gravy, patty melts, hand-crafted sodas, slices of pie, and of course, breaded Hoosier pork tenderloins pounded out thin enough to overhang the bun. 7. Rick’s White Light Diner – Frankfort, Kentucky Sitting pretty right next to the “Singing Bridge,” which got its name thanks to the sonorous metal gate flooring, Rick’s ranks as Frankfort’s oldest restaurant, in business since 1943 with memorabilia on the walls that details the history of the beloved local eatery. The diner’s small stature belies a big reputation for Cajun/Creole-inspired breakfast and lunch fare — crawfish pie, chicken and sausage jambalaya, New Orleans-style muffaletta and a handful of tasty Louisiana po boy sandwich variations. 8. Mickey’s Diner – St. Paul, Minnesota Art Deco style is alive and well at this period railcar diner, shipped to the Twin Cities from New Jersey in the 1930s and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The joint never closes, staying open (and busy) 24/7, 365 days a year slinging hash browns, pancakes, eggs, chili, burgers and creamy, hand-dipped milkshakes so thick you’ll probably want to just ditch the straw altogether and use a spoon. 9. Lou Mitchell’s – Chicago, Illinois Nearly a century old and still going strong, Lou Mitchell’s stands directly where the original Route 66 begins in Chicago’s West Loop, making it a long-time landmark for hungry “Mother Road” travelers. As a sweet tradition, Lou’s greets guests with doughnut holes (the kids get Milk Duds!) when they come through the door. The breakfast and lunch menus cover all the expected diner bases, but the ethereally fluffy omelets are the most consistently popular orders. 10. Pann’s Restaurant – Los Angeles, California Los Angeles is full of great hipster retro diners to explore, but Pann’s is required eating on the way to or from LAX. The Googie-style building with slanted roof looks like something out of the Jetsons, and the “Just Wonderful Food” motto doesn’t lie — Pann’s plates up dependably satisfying steak and eggs, buttermilk pancakes, fajita omelets, Dreemburgers and six-slice BLTs. There’s even a champagne brunch option on Saturdays and Sundays.
6 Getaways for Winter Sun in the Southern Hemisphere
As the northern half of the planet settles down for some winter hibernation, the Southern Hemisphere is gearing up for fun in the summer sun, all just a (direct) flight away from many US cities. So forget short days, polar vortexes and post-New Year slumps, and get booking a trip to the other side of the equator to shake off those winter blues. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil If one destination positively shouts sun-filled celebration it’s Rio de Janeiro. If you time it right (Feb 21-26 in 2020), there’s no bigger party on earth than the city’s carnival, but at any time of year it’s easy to see why cariocas (the locals) love the cidade maravilhosa (marvelous city). Iconic beaches like Ipanema and Copacabana are where you can top up your vitamin D levels before scaling the heights of Rio’s many hills – don’t miss Sugarloaf Mountain and the statue of Christ the Redeemer, both offering sublime views across the city. Finally, it would be rude not to indulge in some samba while you’re here, and the Lapa neighborhood is the country’s capital for some all-night, hip-swaying dancing. Getting there: non-stop Houston to Rio from $1100 (also direct flights from New York, Miami and Atlanta). Cape Town, South Africa Previously only accessible with at least one stop en route, Cape Town can now be reached direct from New York (on United Airlines). It’s a vibrant seaside city, dominated by the natural beauty of its setting – not least impressive is Table Mountain, climbing which is a top experience on any visit. Next stroll multi-colored Bo-Kaap, the city’s oldest neighborhood, followed by a boat trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, or head to Boulders Beach where you can observe some 3000 African penguins. Further afield are the big draws of the Winelands and one of the world’s classic drives, the Garden Route. Getting there: non-stop New York to Cape Town $800. Buenos Aires, Argentina An elegant European-like city dropped in the middle of Latin America, Buenos Aires is a unique destination with an infectious buzz to it. A cemetery might not seem an obvious place to begin your visit, but the beautiful and fascinating Cementerio de la Recoleta is a top sight here, its avenues lined with impressive tombs and statues including that of Eva Perón, better known as Evita. Next fill up on some Argentinian steak, washed down with some local wine, and then find a milonga (dance salon) to indulge in the city’s sensual contribution to the world of dance, the tango. Getting there: non-stop Miami to Buenos Aires from $900 (also direct flights from New York, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta). Sydney, Australia Say g’day to Australia’s largest city where famous architecture brushes up against glamorous beaches next to innovative restaurants. Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge before wandering through the Rocks (the original 18th-century settlement) to the Opera House, its roof billowing like sails along the waterfront, and the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden. Bondi Beach gets all the attention but for quieter spots follow the 4-mile coast path south of it, dotted with smaller stretches of sand. Or take a ferry over to Manly and spread your towel on sheltered Shelly Beach. It’s hard to eat badly anywhere in Sydney, but one of the city’s best areas for dining is Surry Hills, home to top restaurants and bars. Getting there: non-stop Los Angeles to Sydney from $900 (also direct flights from San Francisco and Dallas). Lima, Peru A jumping off point for trips to places like spectacular Machu Picchu, the Peruvian capital is a worthy destination in its own right, an enticing melting pot of indigenous and external cultures. Start with the Plaza de Armas and the 16th-century cathedral in the oldest part of Spanish Lima, then explore further back in time at the Museo Larco and Museo de la Nación with their extensive collections of pre-Columbian art (the former has an erotica section that is a guaranteed eyebrow raiser). If all that history has made you hungry, you’re in the right place – Lima has a food scene that, true to its character, is a tasty mix of traditional and modern, local and foreign, with ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juice) the most famous. Getting there: non-stop Miami to Lima $500 (also direct flights from New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale). Auckland, New Zealand New Zealand’s main entry point and largest city has a stunning setting, great museums and restaurants and an abundance of excellent day (or longer) trips on its doorstep. To understand more about local geology (clue: volcanoes feature a lot) and Māori culture, head to the Auckland Museum, then hike up Mount Eden, the city’s highest (and luckily extinct) volcano for views that take in the built-up area and the two harbors beyond. For a day at the beach, venture west to undeveloped, black-sand Karakare or east across the water to Waiheke Island, almost as famous for its wineries as for its beaches. Back in the city, Ponsonby has a tempting array of food and drink options, along with independent shops and art galleries. Getting there: non-stop Los Angeles to Auckland from $1100 (also direct flights from San Francisco, Chicago and Houston).
The 8 Best Whiskey Bars in The US
Once upon a time, whiskey was the currency of cowboys and grandfathers. Then the story changed. Over the past two decades, Scotch, bourbon and Irish whiskey have become some of the fastest growing spirits in the world. In the United States, it has become increasingly easy to find bars specializing in uisce beatha. (That’s Gaelic for “water of life” and the source of the word “whiskey”). Most feature bartenders who work in a sommelier-like capacity to answer questions and offer suggestions that best suit your preferences. Here are some of the best spots to slake your whiskey thirst. And curiosity. Brandy Library: New York, New York There’s a casual elegance that pervades the Brandy Library, which opened in 2004, earning it the badge of first whiskey bar in New York. (As legend has it, owner Flavien Desoblin christened it “Brandy Library” instead of “Whiskey Library” because when he opened the place, whiskey wasn’t a fraction as cool as it is now and he worried it might turn people away.) Brandy Library, in the posh Tribeca neighborhood, is a full-immersion experience. Shelves line several walls in the sepia-toned, living-room-like bar. Add to that copper lighting fixtures inspired by liquor stills and a gorgeous leather-bound menu arranged by region, and you have a Mecca-level destination worth a pilgrimage. The Silver Dollar is located in the heart of Bourbon Country © Liza Weisstuch Silver Dollar: Louisville, Kentucky There are many reasons to visit the Silver Dollar. Architecture junkies will be intrigued by how this 1890 fire house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was transformed into one of Louisville’s hippest hangouts. (Yes, the fire pole is still standing.) Music-lovers will appreciate how it stands as a tribute the Bakersfield Sound, the classic country music style credited to Buck Owens, who, in the 1950s, infused Nashville’s popular swinging country with the strumming Mexican conjunto music he discovered in his local California bars. The fact that bartenders play country music on vinyl only elevates the vintage vibe. Similarly, the southern regional cuisine on the menu has a spicy Mexican accent. And then, of course, there is the American whiskey, which is in no shortage here in the bourbon capital of the world. Inside the Jack Rose © Greg Powers Jack Rose Dining Saloon: Washington, DC The Jack Rose is less whisky bar and more whisky kingdom, of sorts, offering a range of environments for imbibing in Washington, DC’s, vibrant Adam’s Morgan neighborhood. The main bar and dining room is a handsome dark-wood-and-leather affair lightened with soaring ceilings, tall windows, and a marble bar. Those high ceilings are necessary to house the nearly 2700 brands of whiskey, many of which are accessible to the bartenders only by ladder. Not sure what you like? No pressure, you can buy anything as a half-ounce pour here so go on and experiment. Upstairs is a seasonal tiki bar as well as an open-air terrace with a bar of its own featuring a barbecue pit area equipped with heat lamps so you can chill out in the winter. Speaking of barbecue, food here leans southern and hearty, with fried green tomatoes and cornmeal fried oysters playing leading roles on the menu. Julep Cocktail Club: Kansas City, Missouri Art Deco glamour meets mid-century modern simplicity at this classy yet laid-back whiskey bar in Kansas City’s increasingly hip Westport neighborhood. Outside of Chicago, Julep Cocktail Club has the biggest whiskey selection in the region, clocking in at about 500 bottles. The drink list skews American, but Scotch, Irish, Japanese and Canadian are all accounted for, too. Bartenders are knowledgeable and ready to reply to any of your brown-water questions. Flights, which change regularly to showcase a region or a theme, are a popular choice here, as are their outstanding mint juleps, which come in three varieties: vintage, traditional and modern. The food menu is an appealing assortment of pub grub elevated with an Asian twist. The hunting-lodge stylings of Seven Grand in LA © Liza Weisstuch Seven Grand: Los Angeles, California If there’s one thing you should know about Seven Grand, it’s that its whiskey menu is 44 pages long. Yes, 44 pages. You could say that this antique-y, dimly lit hunting-lodge-chic bar, which opened in 2007, is the antithesis of Los Angeles, where so many bars and restaurants are airy and light. Or you could argue that Seven Grand is quintessentially LA, what with its transportive movie-set-like ambiance, complete with details like mounted deer heads and vintage furniture. Regardless, it claims the biggest whiskey collection in the West, making it an attraction for aficionados and the whisky-curious. The whiskey list does soar to super-premium heights, but the vibe here is very down-to-earth. (See: pool tables, live music.) And for those in-the-know, there’s Jackelope, an intimate Japanese-style whiskey bar tucked away in the back. Fiori D’Italia: Anchorage, Alaska When an earthquake struck Anchorage, Alaska, in 2018, many of whiskey bottles from the collection of more than 400 at Fiori d’Italia hit the ground and shattered. Building the collection had been an ongoing pursuit for the young bar manager Ylli Ferati, whose family owns and runs the discreetly tucked-away Italian restaurant. But thanks to his perseverance and vast industry connections, he was able to rebuild the biggest whiskey selection in Alaska. The restaurant, which is owned and run by Ylli’s parents, immigrants from Macedonia, is decidedly old-school Italian, and while they do indeed have a wine list, Ylli encourages exploring whiskey pairings with the food, a fine way to understand the spirit’s universal appeal. The massive collection in the Multnomah Whiskey Library lines the shelves on the wall © Dina AvilaMultnomah Whiskey Library: Portland, Oregon There is a good chance that you’ll stop in your tracks the first time you walk into the Multnomah Whiskey Library in downtown Portland, Oregon, and behold its grandeur. True to its name, it’s set up as like a library reading room, complete with long tables and desktop-style lamps. But don’t expect quiet contemplation here. After all, its shelves are not packed with books, but with about 2,000 bottles of whiskey, plus a healthy assortment of rum, tequila and cognac. If cocktails are your preference, you’re in for a treat: the service here involves a dedicated bartender who takes the order at your table and makes the cocktail tableside. While not a speakeasy, its entrance is a tad discreet, so stay on the lookout for the “Whisky Library” sign. And pro tip: It’s a spacious place and very popular, so arrive early to get your name on the list. Delilah’s: Chicago, Illinois For many years, the term “whiskey bar” conjured up images of high-end fusty affairs. The recent bourbon boom has made brown water a more democratic drink, but before bourbon became a hipster spirit, there was Delilah’s, which stood out – and continues to gather fans – for the way it uniquely captures whiskey’s freewheeling, rock’n’roll soul. This Chicago hangout has a dive-y vibe, complete with weathered banquettes, Christmas lights, and live rock bands. You’ll find as much pretension here as you might in your local CVS. Yet the global whiskey selection is world-class and the bartenders can each provide a thorough whiskey education.