Drink + Dine

Flying High: America’s Best Airport Bars

June 3, 2014
Written by: Yasha Wallin

Traveling isn’t always easy, and no one likes to spend more time at an airport than they have to. But nothing washes down a little flight anxiety or an unforeseen delay better than a stiff martini or a local microbrew. Airports know this all too well, and many are stepping up their game when it comes to offering passengers top notch options to celebrate the art of traveling, or for the unlucky, to drink those travel woes away. We airport bar-hopped around the U.S. to bring you the best options for pre-flight boozing, listed below. Cheers!

Vino Volo, San Francisco International Airport
Just a couple hours drive from beautiful Napa Valley, home to some of the best wines in the world, it makes sense that SFO would have a wine bar to highlight the best of what the area has to offer. With plenty of wines to choose from, and outlets to charge your devices, there’s no reason to get to the gate on time.

Le Grand Comptoir, Houston International
Pass by the many BBQ joints and fast food options at Houston International and you’ll end up at this classy, award-winning spot with a great drink menu and excellent bites. Try the croque-monsieur paired with one of their many white wines, and you’ll forget your flight was pushed back an hour.

Deep Blue Sushi, JFK
JFK’s Terminal 5 has tried hard to keep up with New York City’s reputation for having some of the best nightlife and entertainment in the world. One of the cooler spots at this busy hub is Deep Blue, a sushi bar with no shortage of neon. Go for the fresh sushi, but not to be missed are their exotic, Japanese-inspired cocktails with ingredients like ginger, cilantro, shochu and green tea.

Wasatch Brew Pub, Salt Lake City Airport
These days, Salt Lake City is known as much for its Mormon population as for its emerging microbrewery scene. At the forefront of this craft beer movement is Wasatch beers, named after the majestic Wasatch Mountains just east of Salt Lake City. Try their Polygamy Porter (“Why have just one?”) or their Evolution Amber Ale, which they joke is “highly controversial.”

One Flew South, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta
The cocktail list says it all. Inspired by the four years starting in 1920 when Aeromarine Airways carried wealthy passengers from Miami to Nassau and Cuba so that the guests could drink legally during Prohibition, their awesome cocktail menu is called “Salute to Aeromarine.” Get a Santana’s Daughter (Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila, beets, cardamom, lime) or Basil Julep (Bulleit Rye, canton ginger, fresh basil) and call it a day.

Gordon Biersch Brewery, LAX and McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas
With a long history of brewing based on the age-old German Purity Law of using only a few ingredients – Hallertauer hops, two-row malted barley, and a special yeast strain imported directly from Germany – Gordon Biersch is a sure thing when looking for a quality brew pre- or post-flight. The company started as a “monument to beer” and makes their own beers in the Bay Area. Try a cold Hefeweizen and you’ll feel like you’re on vacation before even stepping on the plane.