Where the silkiness of ice cream and the effervescence of ice cold soda pop meet, there is magic. And when that particular duo comes in the form of a root beer float, you’ve got one of America’s most iconic and delicious desserts. Now, it’s time to get serious about where to sip.
From a vintage pharmacy shop in Los Angeles to a classic Queens soda fountain, these are our picks for the best root beer floats of the bunch:
Eddie’s Sweet Shop, Queens, New York
This classic ice cream parlor in the New York City borough of Queens has been dishing up homemade sweet treats since 1909, with over 20 traditional flavors to tempt you. Think classics like chocolate, vanilla and rum raisin. The shop itself is a trip back in time, with old-school candies in a display case for sale (candy buttons, anyone?) and sundaes dished up in frozen metal bowls.
And the root beer float? It’s as postcard perfect as they come, served in a classic fountain glass, piled high with your favorite ice cream flavor and finished with a walloping crown of homemade whipped cream, of course.
Leopold’s Ice Cream, Savannah, Georgia
Providing sweet respite from the syrupy Georgia heat for almost a century, this favorite ice cream parlor in Savannah sits a few blocks from the city’s bustling Riverfront. Three brothers from Greece first opened the shop in 1919, and the crowds haven’t stopped pouring in since.
The perfect root beer float starts with a scoop of the Leopold family’s homemade vanilla ice cream, made one batch at a time, doused with Barq’s root beer and smothered with whipped cream. The shop’s black marble countertops and art nouveau touches complete the old-timey vibe.
Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant, Dania Beach, Florida
License plates from around the country and all manner of Americana collectibles make for plenty of eye candy at this classic ice cream parlor near Fort Lauderdale. But when it arrives tableside, the root beer float commands all your attention.
A fountain glass can hardly contain this beast. Plenty big enough for sharing, the float comes in its own pitcher — with an extra glass of root beer on the side, just in case you require a top off. Decadent? Yes. And good to the last drop, too.
Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In, Issaquah, Washington
Despite the name and XXX logo on the giant root beer barrel sign out front, the only thing naughty about this ’50s-style drive-in soda fountain less than 30 minutes east of Seattle is the caloric decadence that awaits.
The root beer float is served in a huge, frosted mug and the root beer itself made to the restaurant’s original recipe that dates to the 1930s. Classic car shows are often held in the parking lot, completing the retro vibe.
Jerry’s Soda Shop, Canoga Park, California
The location of this favorite Los Angeles ice creamery — inside the retro DeSoto Pharmacy in Canoga Park — is your first hint that Jerry’s is going to deliver an authentic experience. Snag a vintage counter stool and belly up to the counter to watch the magic unfold as your soda jerk whips up a masterpiece.
The chocolate-dipped ice cream soda (wherein the fountain glass itself gets coated with chocolate) is what Jerry’s is known for. But the root beer floats, too, are second to none, and can also be ordered with the decadent chocolate-dipped-glass treatment.