Food & Drink

The 50 Best Bars in North America

Handshake Speakeasy in Mexico City Takes the Top Spot in 2024

By Kevin Gray ·
Handshake Speakeasy

The World's 50 Best Bars has been ranking cocktail bars since 2009, providing people with a helpful template of where to drink in cities across the globe.

World's 50 Best is responsible for a few different lists, with top-50 rankings for the world, Asia and North America. And the new North America's 50 Best Bars just dropped, covering the best drinking spots in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Just like last year, 50 Best went to San Miguel de Allende—the charming town in Central Mexico that's been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site—to unveil the top 50 bars.

Handshake Speakeasy in Mexico City took top honors. It's followed by Superbueno, Overstory and Martiny's, all in New York, and Rayo in Mexico City. It's an especially impressive showing for Superbueno, who made its debut on the list this year.

Another high entry came from Tlecan in Mexico City, which debuted at number 10. And another big splash came courtesy of Library by the Sea, a newly opened bar that made its debut at number 35. Library by the Sea is located in the Kimpton Seafire Resort on Grand Cayman. Led by beverage director Jim Wrigley, the gorgeous bar features literary-inspired cocktails, employs sustainable practices and creates its own distillates via a rotovap in its own lab. 

Twenty-six of the winning bars are based in the U.S., while Mexico and Canada boast 15 and seven, respectively. Two are in the Caribbean. New York City (12) and Mexico City (9) cleaned up, with the most top-50 entrants among all cities.

handshake speakeasy cocktail
a cocktail at handshake speakeasy

Handshake's win is no surprise. It finished second in North America last year and third in world. The bar offers a memorable, high-end cocktail experience, featuring two separate bars—one upstairs and one downstairs. The design and ambiance, including a long marble bar and copper arches, recall the glamour and allure of the Prohibition era, but the cocktail menu is decidedly modern. Bar Director Eric van Beek uses molecular mixology to create unexpected cocktails that may appear traditional but reveal complex layered flavors on the palate. The corresponding lab is used to clarify juices, fat-wash spirits and create interesting syrups and infused cordials.

The judging academy is made up of more than 270 members comprising bartenders, bar owners, drinks media and other well-traveled cocktail experts. So, the kinds of people you'd ask for a bar recommendation. Here are 50.

North America's 50 Best Bars — 2024

1. Handshake Speakeasy, Mexico City
2. Superbueno, New York
3. Overstory, New York
4. Martiny’s, New York
5. Rayo, Mexico City
6. Jewel of the South, New Orleans
7. Double Chicken Please, New York
8. Thunderbolt, Los Angeles
9. Licorería Limantour, Mexico City
10. Tlecān, Mexico City
11. Zapote Bar, Playa del Carmen
12. Katana Kitten, New York
13. Café La Trova, Miami
14. El Gallo Altanero, Guadalajara
15. Employees Only, New York
16. Aruba Day Drink, Tijuana
17. Café de Nadie, Mexico City
18. La Factoría, San Juan
19. Kumiko, Chicago
20. Dante, New York
21. Civil Liberties, Toronto
22. Service Bar, Washington DC
23. Allegory, Washington DC
24. Botanist Bar, Vancouver
25. Herbs & Rye, Las Vegas
26. Baltra Bar, Mexico City
27. Bekeb, San Miguel de Allende
28. Kaito del Valle, Mexico City
29. Bar Pompette, Toronto
30. True Laurel, San Francisco
31. Attaboy, New York
32. Meadowlark, Chicago
33. The Dead Rabbit, New York
34. Selva, Oaxaca
35. Library by the Sea, Grand Cayman
36. Century Grand, Phoenix
37. Arca, Tulum
38. Pacific Cocktail Haven, San Francisco
39. Cloakroom, Montreal
40. Bar Mordecai, Toronto
41. Maison Premiere, New York
42. Hanky Panky, Mexico City
43. Angel’s Share, New York
44. Milady’s, New York
45. Brujas, Mexico City
46. Mírate, Los Angeles
47. Cure, New Orleans
48. Best Intentions, Chicago
49. The Keefer, Bar Vancouver
50. Atwater Cocktail Club, Montreal

Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray lives in Texas. He likes whiskey, weekends and hammocks, often at the same time.

Elsewhere on the Daddy

More Food & Drink