Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Sip and See at Atlanta's Sky Club
For the weary business traveler or globe-trotting vacationer, airport bars can provide a much-needed respite before departure. And few offer the relaxation and rewards of Atlanta's Sky Club. Part of the Delta Sky Club network, this lounge provides the perfect opportunity to sip a cocktail and take in aerial views before your next flight.
Located in Concourse F near gate F1, the Sky Club features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the tarmac and runways. Grab a seat by the windows and enjoy sweeping vistas of arriving and departing aircraft as you unwind with a drink in hand. Thanks to the lounge's central location, you can witness the orchestrated dance of ground crews marshaling flights and provisioning aircraft with food and supplies.
In addition to the unique perspective, the bar itself provides an extensive drink menu to suit any taste. Choose from a full selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. Bartenders can whip up an old fashioned, negroni, or other classic libations. For those craving bubbles, several sparkling wines are available by the glass. And don't miss the chance to try some exclusive Sky Club beverages like the bourbon pecan old fashioned, only available at Delta Sky Club locations.
The sleek, modern bar provides counter seating where you can chat with fellow passengers as well as high-top and low lounge seating perfect for small groups. And unlike many airport bars hidden behind security checkpoints, the Sky Club lounge is conveniently located near several dining and shopping options. Pop out to grab a bite or do some quick shopping between flights without having to re-clear security.
Access to the Sky Club isn't just for Delta flyers either. Passengers on other airlines can purchase a day pass for $39 which includes lounge access. Considering the price of most airport libations these days, it's easy to recoup the entry fee in a few drinks. Delta SkyMiles American Express cardholders also receive complimentary access when traveling on a same-day Delta flight.
What else is in this post?
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Sip and See at Atlanta's Sky Club
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - An Open Secret in Newark's Terminal C
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - O'Hare's Underground Oasis
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - LAX's Tropical Escape
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Miami's Mojito Bar
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - The Desert Oasis in Phoenix
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Dallas' Bourbon Hideaway
- Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Denver's Mountain Lodge Lounge
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - An Open Secret in Newark's Terminal C
Tucked away in Newark's Terminal C is one of the airport's best kept secrets - a cozy lounge and full-service bar known simply as "The Bar". Though not flashy or eye-catching, this understated hangout provides a welcome respite for savvy travelers before their flight.
Unlike Newark's more visible airline lounges and restaurants located just past security, The Bar lies at the outer edge of Terminal C, giving it a hidden, speakeasy vibe. Once you find it, grab a seat at the polished wood bar or sink into one of the leather armchairs scattered throughout the space. Lit by low-hanging vintage lamps, the lounge exudes a warm, relaxed vibe. Jazz classics play softly in the background completing the retro atmosphere.
Though compact, the drink menu rivals much larger airport bars. Beer lovers can choose from a lengthy list of domestic and imported brews. A globe-spanning wine list offers options by the glass or bottle from California Chardonnays to Italian Brunellos. And the cocktails impress with New York classics like Manhattans and Negronis made just right by seasoned bartenders. Don't miss their signature drink - the "Frequent Flyer" - a refreshing mix of gin, elderflower, lemon, and club soda.
Beyond drinks, The Bar menu features surprisingly tasty snacks like fresh bruschetta, charcuterie boards, and flatbreads baked on-site. It's a step above standard airport fare. Dining options also make this a great place for impromptu meetings, with seating and tables perfect for small groups.
Unlike Delta's Sky Club, access here comes free with any Terminal C gate pass. The terminal's layout does make The Bar a bit out of the way for travelers on quick connections. But for those with longer layovers or who want to arrive early, it's an open secret worth discovering. As one recent visitor noted "Finding this place made my layover. It's cozy, quiet, and the service is great. I'll be coming back next time I'm in Newark."
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - O'Hare's Underground Oasis
Beneath the hustle and bustle of O'Hare International Airport lies an unexpected oasis that provides a moment of tranquility for road warriors passing through. Tucked away in the underground walkway connecting terminals 1 and 3 is Fountain Blue, an elegant bar and restaurant featuring live jazz, artisanal cocktails, and upscale American fare.
Unlike most airport bars designed for quick drinks before a flight, Fountain Blue is a destination unto itself. Patrons can settle in for hours, enjoying the music and relaxing atmosphere. Soft blue and purple lighting coupled with curved archways evoke an underwater feel, transporting visitors away from the airport crowds. Live jazz combos like the Howard Levy Quintet perform nightly, covering classics by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and more. Their melodious tunes fill the space as travelers unwind over drinks.
And the bar menu is as impressive as the entertainment. Talented mixologists craft an ever-changing list of unique concoctions with mouthwatering ingredients like cardamom-infused gin, rosewater syrup, and activated charcoal. House specialties include the refreshing “Windy City Cooler” with vodka, mint, cucumber and ginger beer as well as the herbaceous “Rosemary Greyhound” made with rosemary-infused gin and grapefruit. A deep wine list and local craft beers round out the options.
While you could easily spend an evening here, Fountain Blue also makes a perfect stopping point on a layover. Those with an extended connection can enjoy a full meal of contemporary American cuisine while taking in the peaceful surroundings. Menu highlights include seared scallops with cauliflower purée, pan-roasted chicken with smashed fingerlings, and flourless chocolate torte for dessert.
For many O’Hare regulars, Fountain Blue has become an essential part of their airport routine when traveling through. Asroad warrior Jessica S. noted, “This is my go-to place for a cocktail before boarding when I have time. The live music and chill vibe make me forget I’m in an airport."
Fellow traveler Chris R. agreed, "I arrived way early for my flight and discovered this gem. The ambience is incredible with amazing live jazz and blue lighting. I'll be coming back here to unwind whenever I'm flying through O'Hare."
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - LAX's Tropical Escape
Beyond the bustle of LAX's busy terminals lies an unexpected tropical oasis that whisks travelers away to an island paradise, if only for an hour or two. Tucked away near gate 51B in Tom Bradley International Terminal is the Schezuan Bar and Grill, an immersive tiki bar experience hidden in plain sight.
Step inside and the airport crowds fade away, replaced by the sounds of crashing waves and Jimmy Buffet tunes. Thatched roofs, bamboo accents, and faux palm trees immediately evoke laid-back tropical vibes. Handcrafted masks, seashells, and fishing nets adorn the walls, transporting patrons to a beachside cabana. Even the menu gets into the island act with dishes like coconut shrimp, pineapple fried rice, and macadamia nut mahi mahi.
But the real draw is the bar itself, which shakes up some of LA's best tropical cocktails. Talented bartenders blend flavors like passionfruit, guava, hibiscus, and ginger into refreshing libations. Try the popular Lilikoi Lemonade, a tart and tangy mix of vodka, lemon, and passionfruit. Or sip a Maui Mama, the bar's signature frozen concoction swirling with rum, coconut, pineapple, and cream of coconut. Fresh-squeezed juices and housemade syrups ensure each drink pops with bright, balanced flavors.
In the evenings, the bar hosts live island-style music to complete the immersive experience. Swaying palm trees, tiki torches, and faux sunsets painted on the walls make you feel oceans away, at least until your boarding call. As traveler Jessica V. described, "This place immediately transported me to a beachside resort. The decor and music made me feel like I was in Hawaii. It's the perfect escape before a long flight."
Fellow LAX regular Carl S. agreed, noting "This is my go-to spot for a tropical vacation when I only have an hour layover. The drinks are on point and the atmosphere is just fun."
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Miami's Mojito Bar
Touch down in Miami and immediately feel that sunny, tropical vibe the city is famous for. Even a short layover here feels like a mini vacation, especially when you discover Miami International Airport's best kept secret - the mojito bar tucked away in Concourse D.
Like a Cuban speakeasy hidden in plain sight, this tiny bar packs the flavors of Havana into one of MIA's most relaxing hangouts. Enter through an unmarked doorway near Gate D15 and suddenly find yourself enveloped in Latin lounge music, the scent of fresh mint, and an airy, tropical décor.
No need to hunt for mojitos here - they're the star of the show. Watch as bartenders muddle lime, mint, and sugar by hand before mixing in Bacardi Superior rum to craft an authentic Cuban mojito. Sip the crisp, herbaceous cocktail and taste those bright notes of lime and spearmint in perfect balance.
Beyond mojitos, the bar shakes up Cuba libres, daiquiris, pina coladas, and other tropical classics using quality rums like Havana Club. And the drink menu isn't the only taste of Cuba. Savor authentic Cuban snacks like empanadas, croquetas, and tostones served with mojo criollo.
Faux palms, mint walls, and breezy ceiling fans complement the lush, in-terminal "patio" just outside the bar. This space lets you fully embrace the tropical mindset, especially as live Cuban trios get guests on their feet salsa dancing between flights. Fellow traveler Marie G. described the experience: "I felt transported to a little Havana club. The mojitos were so fresh and really took me to the Caribbean before my next flight."
MIA regular Jon S. had this take: "I allow extra time at the airport just so I can soak up the atmosphere at this amazing mojito bar. I always leave ready for a beach vacation after sipping a few mojitos in their 'patio' area."
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - The Desert Oasis in Phoenix
Beyond Phoenix's ubiquitous Southwestern motifs lies an unexpected airport oasis recalling a bygone era of aviation. Tucked away near the PHX Sky Train station in Terminal 4 is the Blue Bar. Step inside and suddenly you're transported back to the 1960s heyday of air travel, when a pre-flight drink was an expected part of the glamorous jet set lifestyle.
Sleek blue lightingcoupled with retro touches like swivel stools and lounge chairs slung in naugahyde or velvet evoke a mid-century vibe. Vintage airline advertisements and framed photos of stewardesses in pillbox hats adorn the walls, celebrating aviation's fashionable past. Even the bar snacks like deviled eggs and shrimp cocktail offer a taste of first class nostalgia.
But the focal point is drinks, including expertly made classic cocktails that capture the era's sophistication. Talented bartenders shake, stir, and mix timeless libations like Manhattans, Negronis, and Old Fashioneds from an impressive backbar filled with premium spirits. For an airline-inspired twist, try the "Jet Set" with gin, lemon, and crème de violette or the bourbon-based "Flight Plan" with aromatic bitters and brandied cherries. You can almost hear the rat-a-tat-tat of manual typewriters as you sip.
Fellow traveler Marie S. described her experience: "Stepping into this bar was like entering a timewarp. Everything from the blue lighting to the vintage decor transported me back to the 1960s. And the spot-on retro cocktails were the icing on the cake."
Mia D., another PHX regular, had this take: "I always arrive early at the airport now just so I can soak up the ambience at Blue Bar. The talented bartenders really know how to mix a proper old fashioned or negroni. It's my favorite place to start a trip."
For Phoenix visitors with longer layovers, Blue Bar provides live jazz Tuesday through Saturday to complement the throwback atmosphere. Brushed cymbals and walking basslines fill the lounge between flights. Low-slung leather couches and chairs scattered throughout the space make cozy vantage points for taking in the music.
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Dallas' Bourbon Hideaway
Tucked away in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Terminal D contains an unexpected refuge for bourbon aficionados. Past security near Gate D33 lies a discreet lounge simply marked with a bourbon barrel sign. Push open the heavy wooden door and enter one of DFW’s best kept secrets – a cozy bourbon bar both classic and contemporary.
The rich aroma of oak and caramel fills the air as patrons browse a backbar stretching three walls and jam-packed with top-shelf bourbons. Peruse premium small-batch options from revered Kentucky distilleries like Buffalo Trace, Four Roses and Wild Turkey. For a true taste of the state, try whiskey from up-and-coming local outfits like Garrison Brothers or Balcones.
With over 50 bourbons to sample, the bartender happily provides guided tastings and recommendations based on your preferences. Do you enjoy robust, full flavors or lighter, sweeter pours? Smoky and peaty or lush with vanilla? They’ll suggest a flight to suit your palate.
The lounge eschews bourbon snobbery, offering a relaxed place to sip outstanding whiskey. But don’t mistake the casual vibe – they’re serious about bourbon. Beyond extensive selection, they store bottles properly to avoid excess oxidation. An elaborate filtration system chilled by "bourbon ice" from a Kentucky lake enables perfect pours, free of impurities.
While flights shine, classic cocktails also feature bourbon's complexity. A properly balanced Manhattan or Bourbon Smash lets the whiskey’s tones of caramel, cinnamon and oak shine. For flights paired with small bites, settle into a leather armchair or grab a seat at the reclaimed wood bar. Savor bourbon-glazed bacon wrapped dates, ale cheddar popcorn, or pimento cheese served with Bourbon Barrel stout bread – comfort food with local flair.
Fellow traveler Wyatt S. reflected on his experience: “As a bourbon enthusiast, I felt like a kid in a candy store when I discovered this place. The bartender guided me through a great flight that showed the incredible diversity of flavors among bourbons.”
Marie G. agreed, noting “I don’t normally drink whiskey, but the welcoming vibe made me feel comfortable trying bourbon for the first time. Now I can appreciate why it’s such a storied spirit.”
Flying the Friendly Skies: 5 Hidden Airport Bars for a Pre-Flight Libation - Denver's Mountain Lodge Lounge
Tucked away in Denver International Airport, Concourse C contains an unexpected alpine escape that evokes the majesty of Colorado's mountains. Past security, opposite Gate C44, lies the Mountain Lodge Lounge, a rustic and cozy bar that brings the state's natural splendor indoors through decor, drinks, and hospitality.
Enter and suddenly find yourself surrounded by the scent of pine, the crackle of a virtual fireplace, and walls muraled with evergreen forests and snow-capped peaks. Tree trunk tables, leather armchairs, and Pendleton blankets scattered about enhance the natural vibe. Look up and see twinkling string lights stretched cabin-style across exposed wooden rafters. Even the bar snacks reflect Colorado's outdoorsy fare with choices like elk sausage, Rocky Mountain oysters, and trout dip with housemade potato chips.
Naturally, craft beers brewed across the state are a focus. Tap handles stand ready to pour a frequently rotating selection of IPAs, sours, stouts and more from beloved Colorado outfits like Odell, Oskar Blues, and New Belgium.
But cocktails also harness local flavors through ingredients like huckleberry vodka, cacao-infused rum, and pine-tinged gin from area distillers. Try the popular thin air margarita, a refreshing mix of altitude tequila, prickly pear, lime, and agave or the van life mule - a Colorado twist on the Moscow mule featuring vodka, ginger beer, and chokecherry.
The bar has become a refuge for road warriors looking to unwind with friendly conversation as much as drinks. A Colorado ethos of hospitality pervades the space thanks to veteran bartender Jane, known for welcoming first timers as warmly as regulars.
As Denver traveler Ben S. shared: “Jane and her staff make everyone feel like a friend stopping by their mountain cabin. Their hospitality and cozy bar ambience instantly put me at ease before a hectic work trip.”
Marie D, another Denver regular, noted: “The Mountain Lodge Lounge has become my home away from home when traveling through Denver. Jane always remembers what I’m drinking and the comfort food is the best airport fare out there. It’s the perfect spot to center yourself amid the chaos of travel.”