The Inaugural List Of North America’s 50 Best Bars Announced: New York City’s Attaboy Wins Top Spot

Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy are riding high—as they ought to be.

The well-regarded duo behind Attaboy, a tiny 500-square-foot gem of a bar in New York City’s Lower East Side, just took home the top spot at this year’s inaugural North America’s 50 Best Bars awards—in addition to also being named the Best Bar in Northeast U.S.A.

But to many spirits and cocktail professionals who have been following the speakeasy’s evolution over the years, that win comes as no surprise. (It truly was only a matter of time.) After all, both Ross and McIlroy were protégés working under legendary Sasha Petraske—of Milk and Honey fame. Beyond that, Attaboy placed 34th at last year’s World’s 50 Best Bars with the help of drink slinger extraordinaire and the national winner of Speed Rack in 2018, Haley Traub—who took the bar’s hospitality game to the next level.

“I’ve been hanging out at Attaboy since day one over nine years ago, and started working with the team four years ago, so this recognition feels equally unreal and long overdue,” says Traub, who is Attaboy’s general manager and head bartender. “We have always been a crew and institution that keeps our heads down and strives to constantly deliver the best possible product and experience, so to receive such a massive tip of the hat from our peers is beyond humbling. Knowing that we’ve made an impact on the loads of people that have sat at our small bar over the years is what makes this work worth it.”

As for other wins, in terms of cities, New York leads the roster with 11 acclaimed bars: Attaboy (No. 1), Katana Kitten (No. 4), Dante (No. 8), Double Chicken Please (No. 17), Amor y Amargo (No. 23), Dear Irving (No. 26), Overstory (No. 27), Employees Only (No. 30), The Dead Rabbit (No. 31), Mace (No. 35), and Clover Club (No. 43).

New York is then followed by Mexico City with six honorees that include: Handshake Speakeasy (No. 2), Licorería Limantour (No. 3), Baltra Bar a(No. 7), Kaito del Valle (No. 13), Café de Nadie (No. 15), and Hanky Panky (at No. 16).

Also: among the most notable things about this inaugural list is the inclusion of many watering holes from our great northern neighbor, Canada—which was previously underrepresented in the annual World’s 50 Best Bars awards. This year, however, Toronto is home to four bars on the list: Civil Liberties (No. 10), Mother (No. 38), Bar Raval (No. 41), and Bar (No.47). Montreal claims two spots with El Pequeño Bar (No. 29) and Cloakroom Bar (No. 45); while Vancouver and Halifax have The Keefer Bar (No. 25) and Bar Kismet (No. 49), respectively.

Scroll down to view the full list of North America’s 50 Best Bars.

North America’s 50 Best Bars


  1. Attaboy (New York City), also named Best Bar in Northeast U.S.A
  2. Handshake Speakeasy (Mexico City), also named Best Bar in Mexico
  3. Licorería Limantour (Mexico City)
  4. Katana Kitten (New York)
  5. Kumiko (Chicago), also named Best Bar in Midwest U.S.A
  6. Café La Trova (Miami), also named Best Bar in South U.S.A
  7. Baltra Bar (Mexico City)
  8. Dante (New York City)
  9. Thunderbolt (Los Angeles), also named Best Bar in West U.S.A
  10. Civil Liberties (Toronto), also named Best Bar in Canada
  11. Zapote Bar (Playa del Carmen), also named Best New Opening
  12. La Factoría (San Juan), also named Best Bar in the Carribbean
  13. Kaito del Valle (Mexico City)
  14. Sweet Liberty (Miami)
  15. Café de Nadie (Mexico City)
  16. Hanky Panky (Mexico City)
  17. Double Chicken Please (New York City)
  18. Service Bar (Washington, D.C. )
  19. Raised by Wolves (San Diego)
  20. Sabina Sabe (Oaxaca)
  21. El Gallo Altanero (Guadalajara)
  22. Selva (Oaxaca)
  23. Amor y Amargo (New York City)
  24. Jewel of the South (New Orleans)
  25. The Keefer Bar (Vancouver)
  26. Dear Irving (New York City)
  27. Overstory (New York City), also the winner of the Art of Hospitality award
  28. Herbs & Rye (Las Vegas)
  29. El Pequeño Bar (Montreal)
  30. Employees Only (New York)
  31. The Dead Rabbit (New York)
  32. Broken Shaker (Miami)
  33. Friends and Family (Oakland)
  34. Death & Co Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
  35. Mace (New York City), also the winner of the Best Cocktail Menu award
  36. Death & Co Denver (Denver)
  37. Arca (Tulum)
  38. Mother (Toronto)
  39. ABV (San Francisco)
  40. El Floridita (Havana)
  41. Bar Raval (Toronto)
  42. Bar Leather Apron (Honolulu)
  43. Clover Club (New York City)
  44. Bitter & Twisted (Phoenix)
  45. Cloakroom Bar (Montreal)
  46. Julep (Houston)
  47. Bar Mordecai (Toronto)
  48. Teardrop Lounge (Portland)
  49. Bar Kismet (Halifax), also the winner of the Sustainable Bar award
  50. Genever (Los Angeles)

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