A BLANKET, a dock, a cloud-smudged sunset, my beloved Oscar-the-Grouch-green fleece and a glass of wine—not half-bad, right? Nope. Can’t say that it was. But it almost was—because roughly half an hour before our photographer, Arshia, snapped this photo, right before we started dishing up bowls of her Texas red chili, I uncorked a particularly off-putting bottle of wine, the only bottle remaining of those we’d brought along to this month’s Wish You Were Here location: the Lake Lodge on Lake Hamilton.

It’ll be OK, I could’ve said. It’s not that bad. We can make do! But that’s not what I said: I said friends don’t let friends drink sub-par wine, and off I went to the liquor store down the way to save the day. Life’s too short and all that. Because some moments, shared among friends (or among family, or away from family, whatever the case may be) are just better with a good glass of wine, a finger of whiskey or a Negroni on the rocks. Or, you know, a cold beer.

To each their own.

In that, erm, spirit, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite Arkansas bars—past, present and future—for those occasions when you find yourself in a let’s-get-a-drink situation (and we imagine there’ll be plenty of those this most merry of seasons). Fancy a whiskey? Head to Vault. Craving a caipirinha? You’ll want to snag a seat on the patio at La Terraza. Don’t drink but love big-city views? You’ll find plenty worth lingering over at the sky-high Agasi 7. There’s a bar for every barstool-dweller, with one caveat: You won’t find sub-par swill among the bunch.

We’re friends, after all.

Cheers,