Century Bar's seasonal cocktail the Sleepy Holler is made using Old Forester bourbon, vanilla simple syrup, pumpkin simple syrup and then it's garnished with nutmeg. JIM WITMER/STAFFJIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer
Photo: Jim Witmer

BEST OF DAYTON 2018: The best places for a cocktail in Dayton

Daytonians love a fine adult beverage. That’s no secret. But Daytonians have some strong opinions about who does it best. 

Here are the winners of Dayton.com’s Best of 2018 contest Best Cocktails category that take cocktail crafting and mixing to the next level.


>> Food & Dining winners

>> Bars, Beer & Nightlife winners

>> Arts, Music & Entertainment winners

>> Shopping & Services winners

>> Fitness, Outdoors & Recreation winners

>> People & Places winners

🥇WINNER: The Century 

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

Century Bar co-owner Joe Head pours his seasonal cocktail the Sleepy Holler. JIM WITMER/STAFF

For the sixth consecutive year, The Century bar at 10 S. Jefferson St. has been named one of America’s 100 Best Bourbon Bars by The Bourbon Review’s website. We are lucky to have this world-class bourbon destination here in our neighborhood. The Century dates back to 1942 under that name and that location.

Photo: The Century Bar

The location’s history as a bar dates back even before then. And while bourbon’s certainly its forte, it makes one heck of a cocktail, bourbon or not. Check out the bar’s Bourbon & Whiskey list. Incredible!

The Century has big plans in 2019 that include a move to a much bigger space, but the same delicious cocktails everyone loves.

>> Century Bar moving to a bigger space

>> What will happen to Century Bar’s famous bar in move?

>> Dayton’s oldest bars

>> Daytonian of the Week: The Century Bar’s Joe Head

>> WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS PODCAST: Bourbon, beards and Joe Head


400 E. 5th St., Dayton | 937-203-3999 | Website 

An empanada and pisco sour at Salar in the Oregon District.
Photo: Amelia Robinson

A devastating fire in December 2017 forced this beloved Oregon District restaurant to close until the restaurant was able to rebuild and reopen just last fall.

Salar Restaurant and Lounge in the Oregon District in Dayton serves up exquisite global fare, while a specialty cocktail menu and lounge that keep customers’ thirst at bay. Here is Salar’s Cocktail List featuring specialty and craft cocktails. They put a fresh spin on the classics and offer some of the most unique drinks in town.

Salar's seasonal cocktail Gold On The Ceiling. It's a sour style cocktail with Bulleit rye whiskey, averna, all-spice dram called St. Elizabeth, egg white, and lemon. "I wanted to do a whiskey sour that was more fall appopriate," said Perry,  "The all-spice is this really funky liquer that has a lot of aromas of cloves, all-spice, averna adds a lot of depth that might not be there normally." JIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer

One of Salar’s new additions after reopening is a Pisco bar. Guests can select from a pisco cocktail list or customize their drinks with a variety of pisco flavors that currently include apricot, coca tea, concord grapes and pineapple. The syrup varieties include honey, agave, cinnamon and clove, cactus blossom, lavender, simple, vanilla and demerara.

>> Salar adds new Pisco cocktail bar

>>Beloved downtown restaurant is back in business 9 months after fire

🥉THIRD PLACE: Lily’s Bistro

329 E. Fifth St., Dayton | 937-723-7637 | Website | Facebook

Amber Brady, Bar Manager at Lily's Bistro, pours apple cider to finish their seasonal cocktail, Harvest Moon. JIM WITMER/ STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer

Lily’s Bistro is famous for its unique menu, its brunch, its patio and its delicious, creative, refreshing cocktails. 

Lily’s has a way of putting a creative spin on the classics and offering funky flavor combinations.

The Rising Sun blends Suntory toki japanese whiskey, fresh lemon, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and luxardo cherry juice. The Harvest Moon blends Junior Johnson apple pie moonshine, Paul Masson brandy, Ohio apple cider and fall spice.

>> 5 things you should try at Lily’s Bistro

Harvest Moon cocktail at Lily's Bistro. In a tumbler with ice, pour 1 ounce of apple pie moonshine, .75 oz of brandy, and then fill to the top with a local apple cider.  Garnish with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Brady said, "It really is fall in a glass." JIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer