Despite living only five hours away, and driving through many times, I had yet to stop and explore much of Oklahoma. I started looking into the cocktail scene in nearby cities for my monthly road trips and quickly added Oklahoma City to my list. Not only is there a ton to see and do, but there’s a growing craft cocktail movement happening. It seems the locals are expanding their tastes to demand more than beer, wine, and Long Island Iced Teas. If you’re a local, or just passing through, these seven bars in Oklahoma City are perfect for cocktail lovers. I was also joined by my husband, which was great not only to have company, but I could try twice the drinks!
While the restrictions weren’t in place when I visited this past weekend, the State of Oklahoma is now stepping up. They are now requiring six-feet between tables in restaurants and bars in Oklahoma City must close at 11pm. Most all of the places listed below have some type of outdoor seating and many were already distancing properly before the Governor’s mandates. You can learn more about Oklahoma’s response to COVID-19 here.
- Address: 320 Northwest 10th Street
- Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11am-midnight | Friday, 11am-2am | Saturday, 10am-2am | Sunday, 10am-midnight
- Hospitality: 4.8, the service was great and the staff were friendly.
- Atmosphere: 5.0, it’s a beautiful space full of great decor and soothing vibes.
- Drinks: 5.0, really delicious drinks made with interesting ingredients.
Whenever I drive a long distance to a new town, I always have a restaurant with a good cocktail menu picked out. This takes the guesswork out of where to eat, plus, I can get started on my research right away. When planning this trip, I picked Ludivine for our first night’s dinner. While the menu was a bit meat-heavy, there was a fish option, and the bar menu looked incredible. Between the decor and the cozy feel of the space, it was a great decision.
I tried The Man Who Has Everything, which in addition to being a great name, was a very fine tipple. It’s made with Teachers Scotch, Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, ginger-maple syrup, lemon juice, and a Laphroaig Float. The other cocktail I enjoyed was Father of the Caribbean, a lovely blend of Angostura bitters (as the base alcohol), Heirloom Alchermes, roasted pumpkin seed orgeat, and lemon juice. If I didn’t have more places to try that night, I would’ve stayed for a couple more.
- Address: 1203 Southwest 2nd Street
- Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 5pm-1am | Friday-Saturday, 5pm-2am | Sunday, 3pm-10pm
- Hospitality: 5.0, knowledgeable bartender (thanks, Lexi!), welcoming staff, and free seasoned popcorn.
- Atmosphere: 5.0, super cute interior design with lots of plants and little decor touches, giving the space a laid-back vibe.
- Drinks: 5.0, very fresh and interesting ingredients, the drinks were so good I went back twice in a four-day trip.
Every bartender in town, and the guys at the liquor store, said that Palo Santo is the best cocktail bar in OKC. They are not wrong. Luckily, it was already on my radar and I wasted no time going in for a visit, and then another. The menu is chock full of stirred, long, shaken, and hot drinks. They make some ingredients daily, like the cilantro syrup for the Spiced Daisy. Another thing I loved about the bar was the range of spirits on hand. In addition to many of my favorites, they also had some spirits I’d never seen before. Some local, some just hard to find where I live. The bar program will definitely impress even the most traveled cocktail connoisseurs. And, the menu is fairly extensive.
If I was a cocktail, I would be the El Dorado. It’s made with mezcal, rum, ginger, tamarind, benedictine, and lemon. The drink is bold, spicy, and unexpected. My lips were a little on fire after enjoying the drink. The caipirinha was so good, I had to high-tail it to a local liquor store to by a bottle of the Leblon Cachaça. Palo Santo makes theirs the standard way with lime and sugar, but the cachaça is a knock out. It has a flavor profile similar to a pot-stilled rum, nice and funky. If you don’t have time to visit many bars in Oklahoma City, put this at the top of your list. Although, the next one is pretty notable too.
- Address: 320-B Northwest 10th Street
- Hours: Monday-Sunday, 2pm-2am
- Hospitality: 5.0, the service was top-notch with a chill conversation with Micah, the bartender. For a slower pace, go on Sunday afternoon.
- Atmosphere: 5.0, the perfect amount of kitsch throwback style.
- Drinks: 5.0, classics made well, both from your parents and grandparents era, and today. If there’s something you’re looking for and don’t see, just ask.
Have you ever walked into a bar and had it feel like a place you belong? R&J Lounge totally gave me that feeling. It was dark and quiet (although I was there at an off-peak time) and contains just the right amount of kitschy decor. Perhaps it was because my favorite great-uncle had passed away the morning we visited and this place reminded me of his house when I was growing up. But in any case, it left a good impression on me. And, the drinks are perfection. With a reputation as the “best bar for the classics,” any cocktail lover will find what they are looking for here.
I enjoyed the R&J Sour made with lemon juice, amaretto, rye, brandy, and egg white. And, also an off-menu Jungle Bird, ingredients a secret. We enjoyed our cocktails with a side of cheese & crab toast, which really took me back to my Maine roots. Best of all, we had a great conversation with the bartender. It made things feel normal for a little while, even though we were wearing masks. Talking about bars, cocktails, and spirits with other enthusiasts is my favorite. And, I guess is why I love working on this blog so much!
- Address: 1121 North Walker Avenue
- Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11:30am-8pm | Closed Sunday-Monday
- Hospitality: 5.0, the owner, Julia, was in and was very friendly and knowledgeable.
- Atmosphere: 4.5, limited seating inside or out on the patio, but you can also walk around the store with your drink.
- Drinks: 5.0, the drink I had was excellent and super unique, great menu and well-stocked bar.
Barkeep OKC is a cocktail supply store with a sweet bar in the back. They sell everything from bitters (the best variety I’ve ever come across), mixers, bar tools, and vintage glassware. (It reminded me a little bit of Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, ME.) The owner is a bartender who was unable to find ingredients outside of the bar for home use so, she decided to open the store. It provides home bartenders and pros with a place to get what they need. They also have an online store that sells cocktail kits (everything but the booze) and sip-safe masks.
While visiting, I enjoyed the 2020 Vision which was so delicious that I talked another guest into having one. The cocktail is a blend of dark rum, St. Agrestis amaro, house carrot spice cordial, cream, and egg. The carrot juice in the cordial added a fresh zing of flavor. My husband enjoyed a lovely tequila highball, not pictured. I also left with some glasses and a bottle of hibiscus extract because the world needs more red drinks in pretty glasses! This place is a must for your next visit to OKC.
- Address: 901 West Sheridan
- Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 4pm-close | Saturday and Sunday 10am-close | Closed Monday
- Hospitality: 5.0, very attentive and friendly staff, everyone we talked to seemed very into the place, which features multiple venues, and they had lots of options including alcoholic spirits to sub into drinks on the menu.
- Atmosphere: 5.0, beautiful and vibrant space with indoor and outdoor seating, along with a swanky cocktail bar upstairs (pictured above).
- Drinks: 4.5, the drinks were good, although mine was a bit over-diluted.
The Jones Assembly is located in Oklahoma City’s West End. It occupies a two-story 1930s warehouse—once part of The Fred Jones Manufacturing Company, where they reconditioned engines and component parts for Ford Motor Company. With three distinct spaces—a restaurant, an outdoor picnic area, and upscale cocktail bar called the ‘T Room’—the space actually houses three bars in Oklahoma City. It also has a large stage that attracts National touring bands. So, the name is quite fitting both literally and historically.
I ordered the Felt Cute. The drink is made with Rittenhouse rye, plum infused Mount Gay Eclipse rum, punt e mes (vermouth), cranberry and rosemary syrup, and plum and Jerry Thomas’ decanter bitters. It was a bit over-diluted and didn’t knock me over with the flavors described in the menu. However, it was still a light and interesting sip. The other drink is a non-alcoholic version of the Disco Nap prepared with Seedlip Spirits. Normally the Disco Nap features tequila, cointreau, lime, sage syrup, and blackberry. This version subbed out the two spirits for Seedlip, which still tasted great but you could tell it wasn’t tequila. A great option for those who want to keep things booze-free. The food was fantastic and I will definitely be back to sample more cocktails in the future.
- Address: 324 North Robinson
- Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-3pm | Saturday-Sunday, 8am-3pm
- Hospitality: 4.0, we had a rotating cast of servers and food delivery people, but this was the only place in town that offered us the option to use disposable service items for hygienic purposes.
- Atmosphere: 5.0, beautiful, clean space with plenty of properly distanced tables.
- Drinks: 5.0, very delicious cocktail and an impressive menu considering it’s a breakfast and lunch only restaurant.
If you find yourself in Downtown Oklahoma City for breakfast or lunch, Kitchen No. 324 should be at the top of your list. While these two meals may not immediately come to mind for cocktails, the bar menu will likely sway you. (And, we’re not here to judge!) I enjoyed a delicious breakfast of fried green tomato Benedict, smashed potatoes, and a Hemingway Lemonade. The lemonade was a heavenly blend of Weller’s Bourbon, house-made bitter lemon soda, and a touch of honey. I will definitely be recreating this at home sometime soon.
7. Black Walnut
- Address: 100 Northeast 4th Street
- Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 4pm-10pm | Friday-Saturday, 4pm-11pm | Sunday, Closed
- Hospitality: 5.0, very attentive and friendly staff, despite a wind storm blowing in while we were enjoying drinks on the patio.
- Atmosphere: 4.5, very cute but a bit chaotic, hard to find where to enter and locate the host stand.
- Drinks: 5.0, really fantastic drinks, super unique flavors.
The final place on my bars in Oklahoma City list is more well-known as a restaurant, but also has incredible drinks. Nestled between a French bakery and a high-end restaurant, there’s outdoor seating in front. We enjoyed our drinks outside until the wind blew in a load of leaves and dirt. (Don’t worry, we left with dessert to go from the bakery.) While the two drinks above look almost identical, they were not. Don’t Cry for Me Argentina (left) is made with Apostoles Argentine gin, honey syrup, lime, house chimichurri, and yerba mate foam. It was light but flavorful. I chose the Hoisin Around. It’s a blend of Kaiyo Single Malt whiskey, toasted sesame oil, hoisin syrup, lemon, egg white, and a toasted shishito pepper. The flavor was lovely but less savory than I was expecting. Both were excellent choices.
I hope you enjoy your next drink out at one of these fine bars in Oklahoma City. As the year draws to a close, I think it’s fair to say we all deserve a drink. Cheers!