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Our Favorite Airport Bars for Holiday Drinking

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Photo by Davina Baum

With the hustle of holiday travel, even the strictest teetotalers might want a drink after shuffling their carry-ons through a long security line. While even a $7 light beer or $10 well whiskey will do the trick in this dire situation, some airports make our lives a little easier with bars we’d go to even if they weren’t smack in the middle of a terminal. Here are five of our favorite places to imbibe pre-flight.

1. A Chain You Shouldn’t Miss
Look for Vino Volo in airports including Newark, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. The obsessive staff makes grapes beyond the predictable Pinots and Merlots available to the jet-lagged. (I will be drinking several glasses of the current Arneis pour in prep for ‘family time’).” —Andrew Richdale, Senior Editor

2. Octoberfest in the Terminal
“Munich’s airport offers one last chance to get an authentic Bavarian experience: Hofbrau Bistro in Terminal One. The wait staff—in lederhosen and dirndls—serve Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle) and Weißwürste (traditional veal sausages) along with steins of Hofbrau’s famous beer.” —Davina Baum, Director of Digital Content

3. Next Best Thing to Charles de Gaulle
“When I fly to Boston from New York to visit my parents, I make sure to hit La Vie, a cuter-than-your-average airport bar in JFK’s Terminal 5 that’s an homage to the Parisian bistro. It’s the brainchild of two chefs from NYC’s legendary Minetta Tavern, and it shows: They’ve got a solid wine list—mostly French, naturally—and their frites are better than some I’ve had in nicer restaurants in the city. It makes that 45-minute flight even sweeter.” —Danielle Walsh, Associate Editor

4. Our Favorite Airport Margarita
“Along with killer margaritas the staff shakes by hand, Rick Bayless’ Tortas Frontera Grill in Chicago has a solid braised, short-rib Mexican sandwich and guacamole bar. Yes, as in multiples guacamoles. It’s fully worth the headache of O’Hare.” —Andrew Richdale, Senior Editor

5. Local Wines in an International Airport
The Jetside Bar in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport—all within the airport itself—stocks a bounty of wines that are local to the Okanagan Valley in BC. (The martinis aren’t bad either.)” —Derk Richardson, Senior Editor

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