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10 Great Classic American Cocktail Lounges


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Saturday, December 4, 2010 — (ABC News: Travel) –


December 4, 2010



Dec. 5 should be marked on any drinker’s calendar: It’s the day in 1933 that the 21st Amendment was ratified, ending Prohibition. And what better excuse for sampling vintage drinks? asks David Wondrich, a James Beard Award-winning journalist and author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl (Perigee, $23.95). He shares with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY 10 classic cocktail lounges in which to celebrate Repeal Day.







The PassengerWashington



Co-owned by cocktail writer Derek Brown, this busy bar also has an 18-seat, reservation-only area called the Columbia Room. “It’s a very comfortable bar, very popular with the locals — a very ‘inside D.C.’ place to go,” Wondrich says. He recommends their Gin Rickey, a refreshing mixture of gin, lime juice and soda, invented by a lobbyist in the 1880s. 202-393-0220; passengerdc.com







Clover ClubBrooklyn, N.Y.



Although this neighborhood watering hole features a 19th-century bar, Wondrich says, it’s neither pretentious nor stuffy. Repeal Day plans include half-price classic drinks. The author suggests the Clover Club Cocktail, an old Philadelphia concoction made from gin, vermouth, lemon juice, raspberry syrup and egg whites. “It’s a thing of beauty,” he says. 718-855-7939; cloverclubny.com







Comstock SaloonSan Francisco



This new bar in a century-old building recalls the wild Barbary Coast red-light district, Wondrich says. The bar’s signature drink is the city’s famous Pisco Punch, made with South American brandy. Comstock will celebrate Repeal Day with $5 martinis and Manhattans after midnight Saturday. 415-617-0071; comstocksaloon.com







Eastern StandardBoston



Though most classic cocktail lounges are small, Eastern Standard is huge, with polished wood and brass, and tile floors. Wondrich likes their Jack Rose, a mix of applejack, lemon juice, house-made grenadine and bitters. “It comes out orangish pink, and it’s rich and refreshing at the same time.” 617-532-9100; easternstandardboston.com



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