Essentially, there are two kinds of bar food: snacks and “real” food. While some of the former can be perfectly fine for mitigating some of the effects of alcohol, the bar food we’re focused on here is bars with good food, the kind you order because you’re hungry. Because of old liquor laws, many of Oklahoma City’s best bars are inside hotels and restaurants, but since the new laws in 2018, we’re seeing more bars that have intentionally added great food.
Bar Arbolada and Flycatcher Club. These two bars – one California casual, the other Okie beer bar style – both feature excellent food. Bar Arbolada’s burger won praise from Alton Brown, who called it the “best double cheeseburger in America,” and it’s available daily at the Main Street corner bar. It’s also available at Flycatcher Club, but so is one of the city’s best chicken sandwiches and inexplicably delicious chicken strips. Beginning around early November, they’ll also be partnering with Edge Craft Barbecue to offer a smoked bologna sandwich.
Good Times. More dive bar with an amazing patio than food destination, the reality is that the burger alone is worth a visit. The food is designed to work well in a bar setting, so lots of hand-held choices, including some delicious wraps. Be sure to get one of the frozen cocktails – if the weather is agreeable.
The Hamilton Supperette and Lounge. The northside restaurant produces some of OKC’s best Okie-centric food, but their bar is justly popular for excellent cocktails and a fun wine list. The happy hour menu includes smoked salmon and shrimp cocktails at reduced prices, but regulars also love the bar menu’s offerings, including a delicious smash burger and a Bavarian pretzel with house mustard.
Jimmy B’s Culinary & Krafted. This Automobile Alley restaurant also has one of the better cocktail bars in the city. For the happy hour menu, Chef Richard Ly does it right with hand-rolled dumplings, noodles and other items that aren’t available on the main menu. They also offer an almost-late-night “reverse happy hour” for the last two hours of the night.
Palo Santo. The food in this bar has been a draw since Chef Brian Butler introduced his Asian-influenced dishes, including gochujang wings, okonomiyaki tots and a delicious burger. Wash it down with a habanero pisco punch.
Ponyboy. This Uptown 23rd bar and venue added food last year, and the results have been solid. They have food for dietary restrictions and for omnivores. The burgers and the chicken katsu sandwich are the stars, but the pickle-brined wings are a must.
Vast. The top-of-the-city restaurant turned 10 this year, and the bar menu has been a popular part of the Vast experience for years. Start with the filet dish, which is made from trimming and served skewered, and be sure to try the jumbo shrimp.