Bartenders Tell Us Where To Escape The Winter Doldrums


So far, this has been a pretty miserable winter and every day the weather seems to reach new levels of awfulness. Much of the country is suffering through record low temperatures and lets not forget the recent “Bomb Cyclone.” From Florida to Maine, the east coast is beginning to resemble Siberia more than January in the US of A. It’s the perfect time to take that vacation you’ve been putting off.

Sure, “go travel” is our solution for everything, but we do advocate for giving old man winter the proverbial middle finger. To help you decide where to travel, we’ve enlisted some of our favorite bartenders. From trips to Croatia to Hawaii to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, they’re here to help you escape this dark and dreary winter.

Check out all their favorite places to travel below.

Mexico City

Kyle Davidson , beverage director at Elske in Chicago

“Mexico City — amazing vibe, people, food, mezcal, architecture, even if its not beach-y its just feels both exciting and rejuvenating.”


Chris Williams, bartender and manager at The Meatball Shop in New York City

“Islamorada. It’s an island in the Keys just about halfway between Miami and Key West. I love it because it is close enough to each of those places to get into trouble if you feel like it, but it is still a small town with small town streets, cool little cafes that have been serving the same cortadito for 50 years, and fantastic, laid back fishing culture. Nothing warms me up like bellying up barefoot to a bar 20 feet from the beach and chatting about whatever with a local for a couple hours without being surrounded by pumping neon and bar hopping spring breakers.”


Nate Redner, beverage director at Booth One in Chicago

“Sonoma! I love going out to the coast to get some oysters in Tomales Bay.”


Steven Tuttle, beverage director at Kettner Exchange in San Diego

“Kauai. It’s my favorite place in the world. Wake up every morning to coffee (maybe a little rum in it), walk along the water, golf, swim, dive, jump off cliffs, enjoy the tiny shops in town, BBQ, drink beers, relax. It’s such a beautiful place with so much to enjoy.”


Michael Isted, beverage director at Pure Grey Consulting in New York City

“India for sure for its diversity, complexity, spices, flavors, warmth, humor, generosity. I’m particularly happy in the South of India.”

Costa Rica

Christina Russo, lead bartender at The BoardRoom in Los Angeles

“Seeing as I’m in Los Angeles I don’t really need to escape too much in the weather department. I would probably opt for a total change of scene and get away to Costa Rica. A tropical get away would be the perfect way to escape the gloomy, urban Los Angeles winter. Flights are pretty inexpensive as are the costs once you’re there. Hello mojitos on the beach in Tamarindo!”

San Diego

Raul Ayala, bar manager at Dirty Habit in San Francisco

“One of my favorite destinations for the winter season is San Diego. The weather is perfection to me. It’s always sunny and I can get my fix of top-notch seafood – the options are unlimited there. San Diego also has some of the best breweries in the country, too.”


Miguel Aranda, bar mixologist at Bl Burger Bar in New York City

“I absolutely love Croatia. That is my top destination for 2018. Amazing weather, great food, and a lot of bar potential.”

Los Angeles

Brock Schulte, bar director at The Monarch Cocktail Bar & Lounge in Kansas City

“I very much enjoy LA — great bar scene, sandy beaches and warm weather. I haven’t been back in a few years would love to get back soon.”

Punta Cana

Darnell Holguin, bartender at Bathtub Gin in New York City

“Punta Cana has been developing their gastronomical culture. Taking a break in Dominican Republic always makes me happy.”


Mike Ryan, director of bars at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

“Maui! Honestly, I do love the winter and I love snow and cold weather. But when the cold has soaked into my bones long enough I love getting to Hawaii for a few days to decompress and chill. There’s so much to do there—snorkeling, hiking, surfing, mountain biking, road biking, swimming, paragliding, etc etc.”


Christy Pope, bartender at Midnight Rambler in Dallas

“I am not a cold weather fan, so I love steeping into the sunshine in the winter months and the island of Martinique is an excellent destination and happens to have one of my favorite distilleries to tour… the Rhum JM distillery is perfection, as is the Rhum!