For­get peanuts! The new gourmet bar bites will up your game.

These days the best seat in the house is of­ten at the bar. We’re talk­ing about in­sanely el­e­vated tav­ern stan­dards reimag­ined by se­ri­ous chefs with top­notch in­gre­di­ents, mod­ern tech­niques, and damn-near porno­graphic vis­ual pre­sen­ta­tion. So put down that rub­bery moz­zarella stick or pa­thetic chicken fin­ger, and pair your next round of brews with one of these must-eat morsels…

1 THE NO­MAD BAR New York City

In­stead of jalapeño pop­pers… SCOTCH OLIVES

A play on the Scotch egg, these ad­dic­tive lit­tle sodium bombs from chef Daniel Humm are prac­ti­cally beg­ging to be downed with a few cold beers. Si­cil­ian olives are stuffed with feta, wrapped in lamb sausage, panko­breaded, then deep­fried to golden great­ness. Get ready to pop them like pain pills af­ter an ACL tear.

2 PUB­LIC HOUSE Las Ve­gas

In­stead of Buf­falo wings… BUF­FALO PIG TAILS

Chef An­thony Mei­den­bauer’s twisted trib­ute to the clas­sic wing uses pig tails—braised, fried, and glazed with a spicy Cal­abrian chili sauce— as a stand-in for the bird. But­ter­milk dress­ing and crisp radishes far out­shine the usual blue cheese and cel­ery chasers.

3 CHAM­BERS EAT + DRINK San Fran­cisco

In­stead of potato skins… TATER TOTS

The mid­dle-school lunch sta­ple gets a very adult porcine makeover. Chef Trevor Og­den serves his im­pos­ing pyra­mid of crispy spuds with spicy pork ré­moulade and mag­i­cal “ba­con dust,” which swine-ophiles will want to sprin­kle on ev­ery sub­se­quent meal.

4 TAV­ERN LAW Seat­tle

In­stead of pork rinds… HAM & CHEESE CRACK­LINS

A $1.99 bag of chichar­rónes can’t hold a pork-fat can­dle to chef Brian Mccracken’s feath­erlight crack­lins. Crunchy and salty, they’re the ideal ve­hi­cle for a side of gooey, truf­fle-in­fused cheese sauce.

5 WIT & WIS­DOM Bal­ti­more

In­stead of shep­herd’s pie… MICHAEL’S MAINE LOB­STER POT­PIE

Chef Michael Mina turns a stick-to-your-ribs pub clas­sic on its head— lit­er­ally. (It’s served in­verted, with its fill­ing on top.) Chicken is re­placed with gen­er­ous chunks of lob­ster meat, while a deca­dent pas­try crust hides un­der­neath. A bath of brandied cream sauce stud­ded with truf­fles and wild mush­rooms pro­vides the ridicu­lously rich fin­ish.


In­stead of fried cala­mari… SQUID FRIES

Tired of dunk­ing your cala­mari in mari­nara sauce? Chef Mat Clouser churns out re­mark­ably ten­der squid in steak-fry form, with roasted-gar­lic aioli, herb salad, and a charred le­mon. Pair it with a pint from Swift’s solid craft beer list, and con­tinue rais­ing your bar-food game with their chicken-fried quail and pig-tail tacos.

Skip that sketchy bowl of peanuts, and seek out these up­graded barstool bites in­stead.

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