As an LA transplant in OKC, one of the major adjustments for me were the liquid laws here in the state of Oklahoma. Though they did change to expand who could carry what in stores and also the alcohol content increasing to an amount I was familiar with, the focus on establishments that were designed to include a bar or cocktail atmosphere were few and far between. I’ve had an opportunity to experience the watering holes, old and new, in the Oklahoma City area with new friends to socialize and imbibe.
Here are five of the best bars in Oklahoma City:
Banquet Cinema Pub
This California girl was very familiar with the dinner + drinks by movie-side approach to catching a flick. There’s something awesome and nostalgic, despite its relative newness, about seeing a film at Banquet Cinema Pub. I recently made the call to see Jordan Peele’s latest horror flick, Us, here. In addition to the chill atmosphere, they go all out for their showings with themed cocktails and menu items. Though I didn’t partake in either of those, we did grab a pretzel, some slices of delicious NY style pizza, and a small takeout box of puppy chow to enjoy while we jumped out of our skin during the movie. Speaking of the movie, the theater was stellar. Make sure to arrive at least thirty minutes before showtime to catch the hilariously wonderful and creative previews and promos they play before the feature. You’ll laugh your tail off and you know I’m always down for that.
I saw this bar killing the game on social media before I ever stepped foot in the building. It’s incredible how that can play such a subconscious role for me now when it comes to choosing a place to have a good time. Sanctuary Bar is another newer spot in the OKC nightlife scene. It’s a themed bar that, you guessed it, has a tongue and cheek take on a religious tone. It’s as wonderful as you might imagine. Every week they host karaoke where you get up on the pulpit style stage and, if you’re so inclined to fully commit to the debauchery, don one of the choir robes while you belt out your go-to jam. There’s meme-d out Renaissance style religious paintings on the wall as well as a wall of Oklahoma’s “Sinners” and “Saints”. Drinks are tasty and moderately priced. Naturally they have the occasional themed drink special, too. Personally, I loved the corn hole yard in the back where you could gather with your friends, or make some new ones, on a crisp spring night for a rousing match of the classic yard game.
Flashback Retro Pub
Speaking of themed bars, Flashback Retro Pub is just a few doors down from Sanctuary Bar on the iconic Film Row. And be still my geeky heart, it’s an arcade bar. That’s right a whole bar whose walls are packed lined with classic arcade games like Pacman, xx, and Mortal Combat. The greatest is that there are no coins or tokens required. Simply walk up to an available game and start playing! There’s a small dancefloor here too that’s fun to get some smooth moves in to the DJ’s sweet tunes (not all retro tuneage btw)
Red Piano Lounge
The Red Piano Lounge at the historic Skirvin Hotel is my “fancy spot” addition to this list. Yes. Despite my sweatpants loving ways, I am here for a joint that I can slap some lipstick on a pig and a classy maxi to lux it up. From the incomparably, attentive service to the classy architecture of the bar, this place has a wonderful selection of top shelf liquors and wines. And their bar mix is to die for. I may feel elite when I’m here meeting with a client or friend in town for a show, but you know a girls gonna remember she has elastic-waisted bottoms waiting for her at home and ask for a few more bowls “for the table”. It’s a quiet, elegant place for any special occasion.
No best OKC bar list is complete without the mention of Edna’s. This is one of those nostalgic dive-y spots that everyone who has been in the city or its suburbs for more than 24 hours has absolutely been to. It’s the “Home of The Original Lunchbox”, an iconic specialty drink of Coors Light, amaretto and orange juice. My first time trying one of these bad boys I knew immediately that I was having the ultimate Midwestern Mimosa. This is also one of those bars where people write on a dollar bill and staple it to the wall. Every. Single. Thing. screams “The Best Dive Bar in OKC”.