Bar Bucket List: Our Favorite Bar in every State!

It's the place where "everybody knows your name" (or will, after some especially bad Happy Hour behavior). The local bar is where you go to unwind after work, drown your sorrows after a breakup or celebrate with friends. Bars are where business and political empires have been launched, where relationships have started (or ended).

Despite the best efforts of Prohibition, which attempted (and failed) to outlaw alcohol sales between 1920-1933, people enjoy gathering and raising a glass.

There are about 65,000 bars in the U.S., ranging from tacky little dives to high-end cocktail lounges. Everyone has their personal favorite, but here are the ones in each state that deserve a visit.

1. ALABAMA Flora-Bama, Orange Beach

It straddles the Florida-Alabama line, and the beach-y vibe has inspired the likes of Jimmy Buffett (who knows from laid-back). This institution has been around since the '60s, attracting a mix of college kids, beachgoers and those just looking to bust out their version of "Sweet Home Alabama."

2. ALASKA Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse, Anchorage

Folks come in to watch the game, or hear the live music. Or, on the weekends, to step up to the "Make Your Own Bloody Mary" bar. A local favorite since 1994.

3. ARIZONA Big Nose Kate's Saloon, Tombstone

It's named for the woman believed to have been the first hooker in Tombstone - and set in a building that's been around since the 1880s. It's a little cheesy (you can get your picture taken, dressed as a cowboy). After a few drinks, who cares?

4. ARKANSAS Whitewater Tavern, Little Rock

Established in 1977, it burned three separate times. But each time, the owner rebuilt, earning a place in the hearts of locals. They come for the live music and "never say die" spirit that infuses the place.

5. CALIFORNIA The Frolic Room, Hollywood

It's rumored to have been a speakeasy, and hasn't been remodeled since the '60s. But the legendary lounge retains the "anything can happen" vibe that attracted Hollywood hopefuls. Celebrities have been known to grab a quiet drink - or just listen to the excellent jukebox.

6. COLORADO J-Bar, Aspen

Although Aspen is known as a swanky ski paradise, it's also home to a few old-school bars like this one. Gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson was a local who frequently settled in to work there with a drink - or five.

7. CONNECTICUT J. Timothy's Taverne, Plainville

The building has been functioning as a tavern since 1789, more or less. Besides great Yankee hospitality, it's been a destination for fans of "wings," nabbing many awards for the classic pub grub.

8. DELAWARE Bottle & Cork, Dewey Beach

Delaware is a small state, dominated by some awesome beaches. And this cash-only bar, located in a small beach town, is a fixture. Its only open from May thru September, but in that time, you're guaranteed great live music that goes nicely with the drinks you're swilling from a plastic cup.


Presidents Andrew Johnson, Teddy Roosevelt and Warren Harding liked to knock a few back at this DC fixture. Since opening in 1856, the oldest bar in the city has been the place for powerbrokers to meet.

10. FLORIDA Sloppy Joe's, Key West

Ernest Hemingway was friends with the original owner - and the place still features a ton of "Papa" memorabilia. But all that goes by the wayside once the local bands start jamming. Oh, and the Sloppyritas.

11. GEORGIA Atkins Park Tavern, Atlanta

What began as a deli, is one of the oldest taverns in the city. To that point, it has a bit of a dive-bar feel - which the locals adore. Great live music and fried-green tomatoes to go with your brew.

12. HAWAII The Beach Bar, Waikiki, Honolulu

The likes of Frank Sinatra and Amelia Earhart have relaxed beneath the historic 75-foot tall banyan tree at the center of this outdoor lounge. It's known as Waikiki's very first beachside bar.

13. IDAHO Bittercreek Alehouse, Boise

They offer some interesting microbrews- and grub you wouldn't expect in a bar. Especially an Idaho bar (the New Orleans staple, beignets, for starters). Leans towards the hip and trendy, but that just makes for some fun people watching.

14. ILLINOIS The Green Mill, Chicago

You can still check out Al Capone's booth in what was once a major mob hangout. This Windy City fixture began as a roadhouse in 1907, and has been around to play a role in jazz, prohibition (so THAT's what the underground tunnels were for).

15. INDIANA The Aristocrat Pub and Restaurant, Indianapolis

This warm British-style pub is favored by those who just want a quiet drink in the dark, cozy atmosphere. But the live music, great jukebox and legendary fish n' chips are a big attraction, too.

16. IOWA Mac's Tavern, Davenport

First opening in 1934, this local watering hole has impressive staying power. The 40-foot long bar is kinda cool: it curves, letting everyone see everyone. Locals love the fact that it's maintained an authentic "tavern" feel that's hard to find in an age of chain restaurants.

17. KANSAS Johnny's Tavern, Lawrence

Situated inside a former tractor store, this huge bar has been around since 1953. The original signage still hangs outside, inviting folks in for cold beers and the hot jukebox.

18. KENTUCKY The Silver Dollar, Louisville

You'll feel as if you stepped into an old timey honky tonk, maybe because they spin actual vinyl recordings of Merle Haggard. Besides beers and bourbon, you can also sip on some craft moonshine.

19. LOUISIANA Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, New Orleans

The building is from the early 1700's and the site of actual pirate smuggling operations. The bar portion came during the 1940s. This is a true dive, where they make a lethal potion out of straight grain alcohol.

20. MAINE J's Oyster Bar, Portland

You'll know you're in the right place from the huge pile of oyster shells in the middle of the bar. Not a fancy joint, just one of the more iconic watering holes on Portland's waterfront.

21. MARYLAND The Horse You Came In On Saloon, Baltimore

The story goes that this was the last place Edgar Allen Poe visited before his death. This historic saloon has been around since 1775, serving up spirits both of the alcoholic and otherworldly variety (it's rumored to be haunted).

22. MASSACHUSETTS Green Dragon Tavern, Boston

The original served as the meeting place for Paul Revere, John Hancock and other patriots as they planned a revolution. Although it was torn down in 1854, the current version on the site carries on its legend.

23. MICHIGAN Pink Pony Bar & Grill, Mackinac Island

Although you can only get there via ferry or sailboat, it's been a favorite since opening in 1947. The stage for live music is situated right behind the serpentine bar, and the outdoor patio provides an amazing view.

24. MINNESOTA Neumann's Bar, St. Paul

Having opened in 1887, it's the oldest bar in the state. Once you're done drinking, the onsite bait shop can set you up if you feel the urge to go fishing.

25. MISSISSIPPI Red's Lounge, Clarksdale

It only serves beer and soft drinks (if you ask owner Red Paden nicely, he might serve you a little bit of moonshine). This is considered one of the last authentic juke joints around. The excellent live music is the main attraction.

26. MISSOURI Kelly's Westport Inn, Kansas City

This iconic watering hole is named for the popular Irish bartender who first manned the beer taps in 1947 when it was simply "the Westport Inn." Randal Kelly's two sons now hold down the fort.

27. MONTANA Rocking R Bar, Bozeman

A fixture in town since the 1940s. Because its so close to Montana State University, you get a mix of college kids, tourists on their way to Yellowstone, and businessmen.

28. NEBRASKA Glur's Tavern, Columbus

Established all the way back in 1876, the modest whitewashed exterior belies its connection to the Wild West: it was one of the favorite hangouts of Buffalo Bill Cody.

29. NEVADA Dino's, Las Vegas

In a town known for glitz, this is probably one of the last gasps of "old Vegas" to be found. Dino opened it in 1962, and its served as a great neighborhood hangout ever since. The karaoke nights are awesome.

30. NEW HAMPSHIRE Wolfe's Tavern, Wolfeboro

See that mounted moose head? Sample each of the bar's 100 beers and your reward is, you get to kiss that moose. Quirks like that have made this a local favorite since it opened in 1812.

31. NEW JERSEY The Boat House, Lambertville

They're not kidding with the name: nautical-themed everything decorates this quirky bar. It's famous for being hard to find, but once inside, you'll never want to leave the cozy atmosphere.

32. NEW MEXICO 49er Lounge, Gallup

Back when they were shooting Westerns in the area, stars like John Wayne and Ronald Reagan would hang out at this classic bar, located inside the El Rancho Hotel. It's located along historic Route 66.

33. NEW YORK McSorley's Old Ale House, New York City

There's so much history in this Irish bar, like a pair of Houdini's handcuffs attached to the bar rail. Abraham Lincoln is among the famous folks who visited here. The signage includes reminders that women weren't admitted until 1970.

34. NORTH CAROLINA Thirsty Monk, Asheville

It's considered one of the best beer bars anywhere in the world, and regularly packs in crowds eager to try something new and different in craft beer.

35. NORTH DAKOTA Peacock Alley, Bismarck

It was originally the bar for the Patterson Hotel (since converted to senior residences). But the bar retains the same swanky vibe that once attracted Al Capone, JFK and Joe Louis to its stools.

36. OHIO Arnold's Bar and Grill, Cincinnati

During Prohibition, a bathtub upstairs used to make illicit hooch. The owners have kept it there for laughs. This homey joint has been an institution for over 150 years.

37. OKLAHOMA Eishen's Bar, Okarche

The unassuming outside of this watering hole hides a real treasure inside: the bar in the back. It was hand carved in Spain almost 200 years ago, and sent to California. Somehow, it wound up in Oklahoma in the mid '50s.

38. OREGON The Blue Ox, Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge is where exteriors for Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" were filmed. But this funky bar, located inside, will take away any associated heebie jeebies.

39. PENNSYLVANIA McGillin's Old Ale House, Philadelphia

It opened in 1860, the same year Lincoln became president. Since then, it's survived the Civil War, Prohibition and the changing Philly landscape: they proudly remember local businesses that are no more with a collection of vintage signs.

40. RHODE ISLAND White Horse Tavern, Newport

Way back in the day, it was run by a pirate. Settle in in front of the huge fireplace and imagine yourself with an eye patch and peg leg. "Aargh, matey!"

41. SOUTH CAROLINA Blind Tiger Pub, Charleston

Locals love the brick-walled patio that provides a respite from street traffic. There's live music most nights and friendly, low-key vibe that's made this the definitive pub.

42. SOUTH DAKOTA Ice House, Yankton

It's located in the former headquarters of the Pure Ice Company. When the weather's nice, you're encouraged to take your drink out onto the loading dock - but there's a rule: you must smash any empty bottles on the concrete below. That tradition has resulted in tens of thousands of shattered bottles glinting back up at patrons.

43. TENNESSEE Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Nashville

Since it's opening in 1960, pretty much every major country star has graced its tiny stage or stopped in to share a drink with friends. Located next to the historic Ryman Auditorium, it's a Music City treasure.

44. TEXAS Dixie Chicken, Bryan

It's a dive bar beloved by generations of Texas A&M students. They claim to serve the most beer per square foot than any other bar in America - and reportedly keep a live rattlesnake on the premises.

45. UTAH Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville

It got its name in the late 1800's when a rowdy patron, aptly named "Whiskey Joe," was thrown out. In response, he pulled out his six-shooter and took his revenge on a star decorating the doorway. A beloved local dive.

46. VERMONT Blackback Pub, Waterbury

Vermont has more breweries per capita than any other state in the US - so craft beer is their thing. And this pub is considered on the best "beer bars" in the state. They should know.

47. VIRGINIA The Tavern, Abingdon

Since 1779, the historic building has been an inn. But it's also been a post office, a bank, a bakery and a Civil War hospital. In 1994, it was re-opened as a tavern and is a popular spot to soak up some of our nation's history.

48. WASHINGTON Central Saloon, Seattle

Back in the 60s, you might have found yourself drinking next to Seattle native, Jimi Hendrix. He performed there, as have other local bands like Nirvana, before they "made it." That's just some of the backstory on this iconic bar that was a favorite with gold miners at the turn of the 20th century.

49. WEST VIRGINIA Mario's Fishbowl, Morgantown

It started out as an ice cream shop (that also sold tap beer to the parents). This quirky bar has not changed anything-literally -since 1949. The name stems from the frosty "fishbowl" glasses they serve their beer in.

50. WISCONSIN Wolski's Tavern, Milwaukee

The same family has run this beloved neighborhood bar for almost a century. Patrons have been known to hang out all day - and all night. As a reward, they earn a special "I Closed Wolski's" bumper sticker.

51. WYOMING The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson

Guns and steer horns mounted on the walls. Swinging saloon doors. Yep, you've pretty much stumbled into rootin', tootin' cowboy heaven. Sidle on up to the bar and pick your poison, then gaze towards the stage that's hosted Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell and more.

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