James Teitelbaum has traveled the globe and has, apparently, seen nothing but its bars. This exhaustive book, subtitled “The Traveler’s Guide to Superior Libations,” takes you through more than 40 cities and hundreds of cocktail bars to let you know, should your travels take you to Austin or Anchorage, here’s where you can get a really good cocktail.
I’m in no position to tell you whether Teitelbaum’s picks in Cleveland or Vienna are solid, but I can vouch for the quality of his selections in the San Francisco Bay Area… although I will note Teitelbaum’s extreme penchant for tiki bars.
That said, Teitelbaum’s picks are not really any different than you’d get from a search through Yelp or TripAdvisor for “cocktails” in whatever city you’re headed to. Some of his cities get ample coverage — the SF Bay has over 30 pages of writeups — but Houston, the fourth-largest city in the country, has just four bars profiled. I know it’s Houston, but surely there are more places to drink there than St. Louis, no?
Teitelbaum keeps things engaging over an exhaustive 414 pages, although his overuse of the gimmicky “There are two types of bars in the world…” introduction ultimately wears thin. His reliance throughout the text on the otherwise nameless “Gal Friday Night,” an assistant of sorts, also starts to become weird after a few hundred bars are visited, to the point where one starts to wonder if this person is actually real.
Overall, a great reference you’ll want to consult before your next trip to one of the destinations covered in Teitelbaum’s tome, whether you’re visiting Boston or Brisbane.
B+ / $14 [BUY IT FROM AMAZON]