NJ Bar Named One of the Best in America

by Peter Candia

Esquire released their annual list of the best bars in America for 2024 and a familiar New Jersey name made the list. 

La Otra in Aberdeen, spearheaded by bartender Ricardo Rodriguez, was named to the list for its inventive cocktails—all of which utilize unique techniques, top-notch ingredients and unmatched skill. 

Rodriguez’s cocktail menu is bold, albeit inviting. Drinks come in familiar outfits, but defined by unique techniques which are hard to come by in New Jersey. Take the Garden State Martini for example, which dons a split base of gin and Manzanilla, stirred alongside tomato water, strawberry white balsamic and fragrant olive oil. It’s a martini, sure, but one you can only get at La Otra. 

Esquire praised the culinary lens in which La Otra approaches cocktails, writing: “The drinks are on the culinary side, such as the Tzatziki, which uses vodka, aquavit, cucumber, dill, and yogurt, or the Nordic Old Fashioned, which made us a fan of smoked butter.”

La Otra opened in 2023, attached to sister restaurant Lita—which Esquire named one of the best new restaurants in America late last year. 

We also named Lita as one of the 25 best restaurants in New Jersey for 2023 at New Jersey Digest.

Lita and La Otra have made waves since opening their doors just over a year ago. Owners Dave Viana and Neilly Robinson took to the strip mall restaurant and attached bar with a new approach. You can read all about how the restaurant was conceptualized here

If you ask us, this isn’t the last you’ll hear of Lita or La Otra on “best of” lists across the country. In fact, it’s probably just the start.

About the Author/s

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Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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