While I have a list of over 500 Custom Cocktails on foodspotting.com most of which are local, I realized I don’t have a list of the worthwhile cocktail bars concisely listed. In order to address that the following list was created. It is in alphabetical order with notes on particulars that caused me to like and list them. About half of them are restaurants with good bars, the other half straight up cocktail bars with some food ( if any of that matters to you ),
Later I might get around to a list of beer centric, dive, and other types of bars when I get a chance.
Cheshire 647 South Avenue Rochester, NY 14620 (585) 232-3070
Above Solera Wine Bar, a speakeasy kind of bar with a somewhat limited, and relatively static menu, but where they shine is their collection of high quality and exotic, for Rochester anyway, spirits. Their Grasshopper is to die for and helps you understand why Grandpa fell in love with them in France after he chased the Germans off. They can also of course mix a lot of other cocktails with their collection. Small and fairly intimate with friendly and welcoming bartenders.
Cure 50 Public Market St Rochester, NY 14609 (585) 563-7941
A small bistro which is a coffee shop by day and a bar/restaurant at night. Again a somewhat limited but inventive cocktail menu full of slightly geeky drinks at times but all of them lovely. A somewhat small but carefully select collection of spirits and a (very) limited beer selection. Outstanding if smallish food menu.
Daily Refresher 293 Alexander St Rochester, NY 14607 (585) 360-4627
This place is almost 2 different bars really. They are both located in the same building , one upstairs, one on the first floor, but the personalities of both are rather different, vibe, spirits collections ,and personalities. The upstairs feels larger and more expansive. It also contains a much bigger whiskey collection – one of the largest in the city, and a very diverse collection of other spirits and has a more pronounced Steampunk atmosphere than downstairs. It also sports a back deck area. The downstairs has a more cozy if not underground feel to it, rather darker, and kind of a speakeasy sort of vibe. Tends to be a bit quieter than upstairs and has a smaller collection of spirits but still quite good. The Daily also has a small kitchen and a food truck out back. Both serve excellent custom cocktails and are quite capable with most of the classics also with a good selection of spirits for you to chose from for ingredients for both if you so desire.
Flight West 836 Long Pond Rd Rochester, NY 14612 (585) 417-5332
One of the largest collections of whiskey in the Rochester area
Good Luck Restaurant 50 Anderson Ave Rochester, NY 14607 (585) 340-6161
The mothership of Cure, with a inventive if short custom cocktail list and capable of making the classics just right. Great food with many organic, heritage and heirloom items. Menu has many items that are oversized and designed to share.
Lento 274 Goodman St North, Rochester, NY 14607 (585) 271-3470
Orbs Restaurant and Bar 758 South Ave Rochester, NY 14620 (585) 471-8569
Radio Social 20 Carlson Rd, Rochester, NY 14610 (585) 244-1484
The Revelry 1290 University Ave Rochester, NY 14607 (585) 340-6454
The Vesper 1 Capron St, Rochester, NY 14607 (585) 454-1996
A small restaurant and bar tucked away on a side street near the 490 ramps and the Geva Theater ( or for those old enough to remember the old Naval Armory. Their signature drink is of course the Vesper a cocktail made with Zamir Vodka, Gin, Lillet Blanc and shaken not stirred a la James Bond. They have a smallish but good selection of spirits including many local ones, a well chosen beer selection and seafood to die for.