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  • Olive Plantation in Bakersfield, California.
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    Bakersfield,

    California

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    Bakersfield is a city in Kern County, California, United States. It is the county seat and largest city of Kern County. The city covers about 151 sq mi (390 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population as of the 2020 census was 403,455, making it the 48th-most populous city in the United States of America and the 9th-most populous city in California. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2020 census population of 909,235, making it the 62nd-largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up portion of the metro area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale, and Rosedale, has a population of 523,994. Bakersfield is a significant hub for both agriculture and energy production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county in California and the fourth-most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Industries in and around Bakersfield include natural gas and other energy extraction, mining, petroleum refining, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices. The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.
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    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.

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    Would You Choose A Vacation Spot Just Because It's Cheap?

    At one time or another, we've probably all felt daunted by the high cost of visiting a certain place we really, really want to go—London, Venice, New York, and Australia come to mind right away. But I'm curious how many BT readers have ever chosen a vacation destination purely on the basis of its exceptional cheapness. The latest Hotel Price Index report came out last week on Hotels.com, and while rates worldwide are up 4% on average, there are still a slew of places where your hotel dollar goes far. Domestically, the ten flat–out cheapest cities for hotel rates in 2011 (which, in many cases, correspond with general cost–of–visit rates) were: Columbia, S.C. (average room rate $65); Macon, Ga. ($72); Albany, Ga. ($75); Dothan, Ala. ($76); Lima, Ohio ($78); Bakersfield, Calif. ($78); Ottumwa–Kirksville, Mo. ($79); Glendive, Mont. ($79); Montgomery/Selma, Ala. ($79); and Parkersburg, W. Va. ($80). And if you're looking for luxury at a low cost, here are the top international destinations for affordable five–star rooms, based on prices paid throughout 2011: Warsaw, Poland (average five–star room rate $130); Marrakech, Morocco ($168); Cairo, Egypt ($189); Budapest, Hungary ($191); Pisa, Italy ($193); Lisbon, Portugal ($195); Brussels, Belgium ($196); Berlin, Germany ($198); and Beijing, China ($203). Does knowing that you can stay in Columbia, S.C. for $65 a night make you more likely to consider a visit to the South Carolina capital, with its historic homes, riverside zoo, and university–city energy (not to mention all that old–fashioned comfort food)? Or are you more tempted by the idea of living like a king in one of Warsaw's finest hotels for the cost of, say, a run–down pension in Paris? How much do accommodations costs affect your vacation decisions? Tell us in the comments! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL Top Budget Travel Destinations for 2012 8 Cool New Tools for Finding the Perfect Hotel World's 16 Most Picturesque Villages

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