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Photo: The Normandie Club/Facebook

As the fog of New Year’s revelry subsided, we asked some of our writers to share their top drinking experiences of the past year. Here are their picks:

The Normandie Club / The Walker Inn (Los Angeles, California)
Despite the whole car thing, Los Angeles is a fantastic drinking town. Dude, Uber is cheap there. And one of the best places to drink is in Koreatown, specifically the Normandie Club. It’s run by the teams behind high-wattage cocktail bars Proprietors LLC and 213 Hospitality and has one of the city’s best bartenders running the joint: Daniel Eun (formerly of PDT, the Varnish, Honeycut). The slim and well-chosen classics menu is slightly tweaked. The old-fashioned has coconut bourbon, for example. And you will drink many of those classics at the oval bar. In the back of the bar, and hidden behind a door entered with a knock, is the non-secret Walker Inn, a reservations-only bar where guests are pampered with delicious snacks and an omakase-inspired menu by Devon Tarby. During my recent visit, the drinks were inspired by the Pacific Coast Highway (think a sparkling-wine sidecar with your cocktail mixed with Cali gin). 3612 W. 6th St., Los Angeles, CA 90020; thenormandieclub.com
—Matt Rodbard

Mourad (San Francisco, California)
Serving high-end California-meets-Moroccan cuisine, Mourad, from ever-talented chef Mourad Lahlou of long-timer Aziza, is one of the great openings of 2015 — and since Anthony Parks came on board this fall as bar manager, it’s also a cocktail destination. Parks’s drinks pull from the kitchen in unexpected, even thrilling ways, as with the creamy-yet-light joys of Curry & Milk. Umami & Mint surprises with a lush, nutty element of toasted sesame oil mixed with Plata tequila, agave, cucumber and mint. Expect the unusual but with harmony and balance. 140 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94105; mouradsf.com
—Virginia Miller

Whiskey Soda Lounge (Portland, Oregon)
Planning on going to Pok Pok at a normal dining time? Saddle up for a long wait, buddy. However, you can totally make that wait endurable by hopping across the street to Whiskey Soda Lounge. The drinks are totally on theme and on point, making you feel like you might be in Thailand (if you ignore the mustaches and man buns and pretend the place is full of Thai people, it really helps). There are also some awesome snacks you can get in lieu of waiting for a table at Pok Pok, and if you are waiting they’ll call the bar to let you know your table is almost ready and you should close out your tab. If you’re a whiskey fan, the Tamarind Whiskey Sour is impeccable. 3131 SE Division St., Portland, OR 97202, 503-232-0102; whiskeysodalounge.com
—Paul Harrison

Caña Rum Bar (Los Angeles, California)
Dark wood, plush leather, chill vibe, humongous punch-bowl cocktails: Yeah, this place is amazing, and totally different from the rest of the downtown L.A. bar scene. But it’s not just for rum. The bartenders here are masters, and you’re definitely in good hands with them. Hidden underneath an office building with an entrance in the parking lot, Caña is a little off the beaten path, but offers a relaxed and classy drinking environment without being overly uptight. The location, combined with a modest $20/year membership fee (which allows members to bring in several non-member guests), keep this bar consistently low-key, even on major bar-hopping holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day. In addition to always being able to find a seat inside or outside in the smoking-friendly patio area, Caña also offers a fabulous variety of cocktails and rums, in addition to other high-quality spirits. The seasonal menu is always full of excellent choices, but the bartender is happy to make you your favorite or surprise you with something new. 714 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015, 213-745-7090; 213nightlife.com/canarumbar
—Paul Harrison

Whitechapel (San Francisco, California)
Situated a couple blocks from the magnificent, gold-laced City Hall, this deserted London underground tube and steam punk–themed bar is a gin lover’s wonderland. Whether or not owners Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove) and John Park (Novela) are fans of the early-2000s deathcore band of the same name, they really worship gin at Whitechapel. The 17-page menu, whose cover is a gold-etched piece of leather, offers classic cocktails, original takes, flights, five different G&Ts and more. So yes, you could get a Negroni or Bee’s Knees, but why not try the Holmes’ Bonfire with No. 3 gin, Bols Genever, salted licorice liqueur, toasted orgeat, egg white and lemon? English comfort food and pub fare like rarebit, fish and chips and blood sausage are there for the nibbling. There’s also a beer and wine section for the gin-hating idiot you accidentally brought along. 600 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94102; 415-292-5800; whitechapelsf.com
—Tiffany Do