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15 Vegan-Friendly Cocktail Bars and Breweries in the US

From strong cocktails and small plates to IPAs and giant pub pretzels, here are 15 vegan-friendly bars and breweries to check out in the US. 

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This article was originally published by https://vegnews.com/vegan-guides/vegan-cocktail-bars-breweries

What’s not vegan about a bar? While these establishments may seem like a safe space for omnivores and vegans alike, the latter crowd is often restricted by what’s on the menu. Not all alcohol is vegan (more about that here). Beyond that, certain cocktails call for animal-based ingredients such as egg whites, cream, and honey. 

Then, there’s the food. It’s always a good idea to eat something with an alcoholic beverage—particularly if you’re enjoying more than one—and while some bars churn out exceptional food, very little of it is vegan as-is. We’re accustomed to vegan restaurants, bakeries, and scoop shops—it’s time for the era of vegan bars. We tracked down the best vegan-friendly lounges, pubs, and wine bars across the US so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a libation free from animals. 

Is alcohol vegan?

Due to the fining agents used in some alcohols, not all alcohol is vegan. Ingredients such as isinglass (fish derivative), casein (milk derivative), and egg whites are sometimes used in wine, beer, and other spirits to clarify and remove astringent or bitter flavors from the alcohol. Ultimately, these ingredients do not make it into the final product, but because they are used in the process of making alcohol, products that use them are not considered vegan. These animal-based agents are being phased out by many producers, but it’s always best to check by viewing our guides to vegan beer and wine or visiting Barnivore.com

When it comes to cocktails, a number of animal-based ingredients can be introduced. Cocktails with foam are traditionally made with egg whites, bloody marys and micheladas may contain clam juice or non-vegan Worcestershire sauce, and creamy drinks such as white Russians or Irish coffees are bound to include dairy. 

The safest bet for vegans at a non-vegan bar or cocktail lounge is to keep it simple. Order a beer or glass of wine you know to be vegan-approved, or stick to the basics—drinks that contain minimal ingredients like vodka sodas, gin and tonics, and martinis. Fruity or more elaborate beverages may be vegan, there are just a few more ingredients to research and confirm. 

15 vegan-friendly cocktail bars and breweries

Not in the mood to scrutinize every ingredient before enjoying a much-needed drink? Check out these plant-based institutions across the country for exceptional libations and vegan food to match. 

1 Beelman’s

Set in Downtown Los Angeles, Beelman’s offers a casual yet often crowded space for Angelenos to grab a beer and watch a game, enjoy a boozy brunch, or sip a flavored mule alongside a thoughtful fusion menu of vegan bar snacks, salads, and mains. Both the beverage and food menus are extensive, but you can’t go wrong with any of the craft cocktails, and tots in some form are a must. From the Tachos to the Poor Man’s Korean BBQ Tots, Beelman’s knows how to transform basic bar food into something to fawn over. 

VegNews.ModernTiemsModern Times

2Modern Times

With tasting rooms spanning San Diego County, this all-vegan brewery and coffee purveyor has three locations to its name. Customers can reliably find five year-round, homemade brews on tap and by the can along with a handful of seasonal IPAs. Those who don’t partake in alcohol can grab a house-roasted coffee or bag of beans to go. Alternatively, skip the brews and head straight for the food menu—it’s that good. Served exclusively at the Encinitas location, the kitchen offers Asada Fries, Kimchi Croquettes, Steakhouse-style Brussels Sprouts, and other tasty spins on hefty bar cuisine. It’s an eclectic mix of excellently executed bar food staples along with pleasantly surprising global cuisine.

VegNews.MothershipMothership

3Mothership

Residents and food media alike have been eagerly anticipating the launch of this outer-space-meets-tiki-bar establishment. The opening has been pushed back several months—as is the case in the times of COVID—and the Greater San Diego area is abuzz with excitement as this Kindred offshoot gets ready to open. The beverage and food menus are inspired by tiki-themed pop-ups hosted by its sister restaurant (Kindred), though the decor and mood speak to an otherworldliness inspired by the galaxies. The owners are keeping a tight lip as to what customers can expect to be served, but we can comfortably assume there will be stunning rum-based cocktails and a small plate menu entrenched in culinary experimentation.

VegNews.PlantpubPlant Pub

4Plant Pub

With two locations in Cambridge and Fenway, this Boston-based brewery is offering a vegan spin on the iconic Sam Adams fare. The menu is pure pub food—from fully loaded fries to super-stacked burgers. The kitchen also showcases a sweet side, churning out swirly dairy-free soft serve, root beer floats, and vanilla frappes (Boston speak for milkshakes). Accompany the meal with a craft beer, and even your omnivorous friends will be happy to join you. 

Vegnews.beerplantThe Beer Plant

5The Beer Plant

“Eat plants. Drink beer. Be happy.” What a life this Austin, TX brewery has dreamed up for its customers. At The Beer Plant, everyone can set aside the stresses of daily life and simply enjoy great food and good company. Spanning brunch and dinner options, the menu is a mix of Southern-inspired pub food and global dishes with pan-Asian twists like Hill Country “Chicken” and Gravy to Korean Broccoli and Kimchi Grilled Cheese. Beverage-wise, the kitchen provides a wide selection of over 40 draft beers, a wine list, and creatively named cocktails (yes, even the When Doves Cry cocktail is vegan). 

VegNews.pedalhausPedal Haus Brewery

6Pedal Haus Brewery

Cornhole pro? Check out Pedal Haus the next time you’re in Arizona. The vegan-friendly brewery boasts four locations across the state—including Phoenix and Tempe. Beer selection is based on location, but each offers something for every beer connoisseur from stouts to ales. For non-beer drinkers, there’s even a hard seltzer. Cold glass in hand, check out the dedicated vegan menu for everything from Bavarian soft pretzels served with “haus mustard” to larger entrée items like Green Chile Burgers and Rustic Garden Pizzas. 

VegNews.pigsmindPig’s Mind Brewing

7Pig’s Mind Brewing

Pig’s Mind’s claim to fame is establishing the first vegan brewery in the US, and it’s not on either of the coasts. Located in Machesney Park, IL, this 10-year-old spot specializes in animal-free German lagers and ales, though you can find other types of beer on tap, too. The brewery is family-friendly—complete with a kid’s menu—and cranks out an impressive selection of vegan menu items from starters and salads to burgers and bowls. 

VegNews.ladybirdLadybird 

8Ladybird

This vegan tapas and wine bar is one of the finest vegetable-forward restaurants in New York City. Each small plate is crafted with whole foods in lieu of the standard Impossible or Beyond options, and it’s a fantastic display of just how magnificent vegetables can taste. A must-order are the bao buns (any variety) along with the truffle mac and cheese and chocolate fondue. Pair your meal with any of the botanical-inspired cocktails or simply enjoy a glass of wine or beer on tap. 

VegNews.pocionPocion

9Pocion

For a Caribbean-based menu and carefully crafted cocktails, Manhattanites head to Pocion. The all-vegan restaurant and cocktail bar is cutting edge and chic, delivering a holistic experience that demands your full attention. Leave your stressors at the door as you indulge in a signature cocktail and roasted plantain lasagna.

VegNews.charliewasCharlie Was a Sinner

10Charlie Was a Sinner

For small plates and strong cocktails in a cool, low-lit atmosphere from another decade, one must visit Charlie was a sinner. The cocktail (and zero-proof) selection is experimental and extensive, though not to be outdone by the worldly cuisine. From Potato Gnocchi with Meatballs to Turkish “Lamb” Kofta, the chefs here show impressive range. Reservations are highly recommended.

VegNews.botanicalbarBotanical Bar

11Botanical Bar

An offshoot of DC Vegan—the capital’s first plant-based deli and caterer—Botanical Bar is mixing up Italian cocktails and zero-proof mocktails to the DC crowd. Enjoy a prosecco spritzer on a muggy DC summer evening or sip on a housemade Limoncello or Strawberry Negroni as you peruse the menu. Bites are made courtesy of the upstairs deli and include everything from King Trumpet Calamari to Chocolate Chip Cannolis. Whether you’re just there to drink or simply hangry after a long day at work, this vegan lounge has something for everyone. 

Vegnews.izzyroseIzzy Rose

12 Izzy Rose

There’s something to be said about a solid neighborhood bar. With live jazz on weekdays and a DJ on weekends, Izzy Rose is designed for patrons to have a good time, whether they’re visiting for a casual happy hour or ready to dance the night away. The bar offers spirit-heavy cocktails, a handful of mocktails, natural wine, and both draft and canned beer. While most of the attention is focused on beverages, vegan empanadas are available, along with a rare nacho special. 

Vegnews.barveganBar Vegan

13 Bar Vegan 

Philanthropist and Slutty Vegan founder Pinky Cole opened this concept inside Atlanta’s chic Ponce City Market in 2021. Guests can expect a club-style vibe accompanied by inventive cocktails, mocktails, and an elevated bar food menu. Even for those who don’t partake in alcohol, the fun vibe and White Truffle Shoestring Fries are reason enough to visit Bar Vegan

vegnews.thebyeandbyeThe Bye & Bye

14 The Bye & Bye

This vegan bar is essentially Portland. Casual, no-frills, and a bit quirky, it serves up a comprehensive beverage menu with a wide range of warming comfort food. Yes, the cocktails are great and the craft beer selection is impressive, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t order the pretzel knots with housemade vegan cheese sauce and stone ground mustard. It’s the first thing on the food menu for a reason. 

vegnews.sweethereafterSweet Hereafter

15 Sweet Hereafter

Pair a laid-back vibe with surprisingly thoughtful cocktails and a vegetable-forward dining menu, and you have this Portland bar and restaurant. The game is always on and there is ample indoor and outdoor dining space, so you can stretch out and relax with a gin-and-lavender Easy Rider cocktail or celebrate with friends over an antipasto platter and Buffalo Sub.

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