BEST OF DAYTON: Where to go for a classy, hand-crafted cocktail

The Century Bar in downtown Dayton is known for a vast selection of bourbons and whiskeys. LISA POWELL / STAFF

There’s just something a little extra special about these Dayton conconctions.

Here are the winners of’s Best of 2019-20 contest Best Cocktails category, as voted by the community, that take cocktail crafting and mixing to the next level.


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Joe Head co-owns the Century Bar in downtown Dayton with Diane Spitzig. LISA POWELL / STAFF


10 S. Jefferson St., Dayton | 937-223-3382 | FacebookWebsite 

It’s been a big year for Dayton’s famous Century Bar. It marked the end of an era at its original location on New Year’s Eve and has reopened next door in a bigger space.

While straight bourbon and whiskey is certainly its claim to fame, The Century makes one heck of a cocktail, bourbon or other.

The Century has won Best Cocktail for four consecutive years.

The downtown Dayton bar, which claims it “can make a bourbon drinker from even the most discriminating of palettes,” has also been surprising guests with seasonal cocktail menus that have been anything but boring.

The Century scored a national shout-out from The Bourbon Review as one of America's Best Bourbon Bars 2019.

>> Century Bar reopens in its new and bigger downtown Dayton home with same charm

Wheat Penny Bar and Grill's summer cocktail "Autopilot," made with Hendricks Gin, House-Made Cucumber Mint Basil Syrup, Creme De Violette, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice and a Cucumber Garnish. JIM WITMER/STAFF

🥈SECOND PLACE: Wheat Penny

515 Wayne Ave., Dayton | 937-496-5268 | WebsiteFacebook

If you're looking for a memorable cocktail, Wheat Penny should be on your list of places to try. The restaurant, known for its pizzas and vegan-friendly dishes, also blends unique flavors into crafty cocktails. Its Holy Smokes features Holy Basil-infused El Jimador Tequila Blanco, Montelobos Mezcal, Sage Syrup, Lime Juice, Palo Santo Smoke, for example. View the cocktail menu here.

Ethnosh Dayton’s next NoshUp at Salar is planned for Sunday, Feb. 23. Salar specializes in Peruvian and world-fusion cuisine and offers a full curated wine list and an exciting craft cocktail list that is a pleasant mixture of classics like Pisco Sours, Mosco Mules, Gimlets and Caipirinhas alongside more interesting boozy creations. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS


400 E. Fifth St., Dayton | 937-203–3999 | WebsiteFacebook

A devastating fire in December 2017 forced this beloved Oregon District restaurant to close until the restaurant was able to rebuild and reopen just shy of a year later.

Salar Restaurant and Lounge in the Oregon District came back stronger than ever. The Oregon District restaurant serves up exquisite global fare, but it’s also famous for its creative specialty cocktail menu and lounge.

Salar puts a fresh spin on the classics and offer some of the most unique drinks in town. Salar's cocktails are hand-crafted from house-made ingredients, with Latin inspiration, herbs and spices, bold flavors or fruity and refreshing. View the cocktail list here.



WINNER: The Century Bar

2ND PLACE: Salar

3RD PLACE: Lily’s Bistro


WINNER: The Century Bar

2ND PLACE: Salar

3RD PLACE: Watermark


WINNER: The Century Bar

2ND PLACE: Salar

3RD PLACE: Wheat Penny


WINNER: MJs on Jefferson

2ND PLACE: The Century Bar

3RD PLACE: Julia’s Nite Club

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