While it’s easy to get caught up in chasing reservations at the buzziest new cocktail destinations, there’s something to be said for bars that can stand the test of time. These American bars especially — with the oldest establishment on the list dating all the way back to 1673 — are tried and true.
Most of these establishments have persisted through decades — and in some cases, centuries — thanks to their dedication to sticking to what works. Rather than rebranding to sound more trendy, most of these bars’ names still unironically boast terms like “saloon,” “pirate”, and “olde” with astounding frequency. Instead of newfangled cocktails and natural wine, these places mostly persist on foamy beers and straight whiskey. And forget about modern interior design: Most of these spots are scattered with bizarre yet charming memorabilia from their centuries of operation — and that’s why we love them.
In many states these bars are widely recognized, and proudly flaunted, as the region’s oldest bar, but in others, the fight for the title can be a bit more controversial. Through centuries of history, including the murky years of prohibition, there are bound to be a few caveats to the oldest bar designations. So to compile this list, we had to make a few judgment calls.
With that, let’s take a step back through time and explore the oldest bar in every U.S. state.
Alabama: The Peerless Saloon (1899)
Who exactly holds the title of Alabama’s oldest bar is actually a bit controversial. While T.P. Crockmeirs claims to be the oldest as it was established in 1875, the bar originally opened in Atlanta, Ga., before moving to Mobile — so some believe considering it the oldest in the state isn’t quite accurate. Next in line for the title is The Peerless Saloon, which opened in Anniston, Ala., in 1899. Though not quite as old, the saloon still has incredible historical features, including its large, mirror-backed mahogany bar that was featured in the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Alaska: B&B Bar (1906)
This local fishermen’s haunt in Kodiak displays the oldest liquor license in the state, issued in 1906. The rural dive bar features a list of rules, including “know what you want,” “cash only,” “no whining,” and the peculiar “shut up Bruce,” the last of which supposedly targeted one of the establishment’s regulars.
Arizona: The Palace Restaurant & Saloon (1877)
As the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona, this historic Prescott bar transports visitors back to the Wild West. The bar hosted famous 1870s-era gamblers and gunslingers Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, and Doc Holliday as early patrons. The bar was so beloved by locals that even when the Whiskey Row fire destroyed the building in 1900, the patrons carried the hand-carved bartop across the street to safety and continued drinking. The Palace was rebuilt as a hotel, restaurant, and bar that guests can still visit today, where they can see the original 1800s bar that was saved from the fire.
Arkansas: Ohio Club (1905)
This unassuming bar in Hot Springs was the place to be in the early 1900s. Many famous figures of the time stopped by the bar — including Al Capone and Bugsy Segal — and the spot was frequented by Major League Baseball players during spring training, including Babe Ruth. The bar acted as a speakeasy during Prohibition, changing its name out front to Ohio Cigar Store so it could stay in business. The venue has always embraced live music and still does today by hosting blues and jazz performers.
California: The Iron Door Saloon (1852)
Though many bars in California try to stake their claim on the crown for oldest bar, the Iron Door Saloon makes the most convincing argument, as it was established in 1852 just outside of Yosemite. It is said to have lasted all of these years, through harsh elements and fires, because of its signature iron doors.
Colorado: Buffalo Rose (1859)
Buffalo Rose has been the heart of Golden, Colo., since the city’s founding in 1859. The city has evolved around the site of the bar, which has acted as the local watering hope for over 150 years. Though the building has seen some major renovations that have given it a more modern feel, you can sense this bar’s importance and history.
Connecticut: Griswold Inn Tap Room (1776)
Founded the same year as America itself, this historic bar and inn in Essex, Conn., has been through a lot. During the War of 1812, British forces mounted an attack on this town, where they allegedly marched down Main Street to the Bushnell Tavern (as it was known then) and demanded breakfast before stealing the bar’s rum and burning down the surrounding shops. Luckily, the bar survived and was later renamed the Griswold House, or “The Gris” as locals called it. A visit to this charming bar and inn now will give you real insight into its rich New England history.
Delaware: Kelly’s Logan House (1864)
Though many sources claim Jessop’s Tavern as the oldest bar in Delaware, as its location was built in 1682, the spot actually served as a cooperage for most of its history, and only started serving booze in the late 1900s. This makes Kelly’s Logan House the oldest functioning bar in the state. This lively Irish spot in Wilmington has been the state’s St. Patrick’s Day destination for over 150 years.
District of Columbia: Old Ebbitt Grill (1856)
Even though the physical location of the Old Ebbitt Grill has moved several times throughout its history, the legacy of the Ebbitt name has lived through the years. Legend has it that innkeeper William E. Ebbitt bought a boarding house in 1856 with a guest list touting America’s most influential politicians, including President McKinley, Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt — who all supposedly enjoyed refreshing themselves at the house’s stand-around bar. After Ebbitt’s hopped around D.C. for about a century, it landed in its current location at 675 15th St. in 1983, where it remains a historic landmark.
Florida: Palace Saloon (1903)
Fernandina Beach, where the Palace Saloon is located, was home to some of the busiest docks in the South in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In its heyday, this bar welcomed travelers from all corners of the globe to enjoy some brews and company. The original bar was designed by Adolphus Bush, founder of Anheuser-Busch, who even ventured from St. Louis to oversee the installation of this famous fixture.
Georgia: The Pirate’s House (1753)
No, the name of this bar isn’t some modern-day pirate joke — this Savannah spot was actually an old rendezvous spot for sailors and pirates visiting the shore. Even though the building remained intact over the centuries, the business struggled after World War II, and was even slated for demolition. Thankfully, some locals took it upon themselves to restore The Pirate’s House to keep its historic charm.
Hawaii: Smith’s Union Bar (1935)
Located on Hotel Street, which used to be a popular hub in Honolulu’s red light district, this bar was the main watering hole for sailors and merchants visiting the area. It still remains an admired dive bar today, particularly famous for its karaoke nights.
Idaho: White Horse Saloon (1907)
The White Horse Saloon is not only the oldest bar in Idaho, but is also located the tallest building in the town of Spirit Lake. The space features the building’s original wood floors and bar, giving it an authentic old-school vibe. The bar is also the leading purveyor of Canadian beers in the Panhandle of Idaho, so it’s a great place to visit next time you’re craving a Moosehead Lager.
Illinois: The Village Tavern (1847)
Just outside Chicago in Long Grove, Ill., you’ll find The Village Tavern, established in 1847. The large space features an impressive mahogany bar dubbed The President’s Bar, which was rescued from the Great McCormick Place Fire in 1967 and is still in use today.
Indiana: Knickerbocker Saloon (1835)
The Knickerbocker Saloon takes pride in its history, displaying its liquor license — the first one ever granted in the state — on the wall. The bar’s alleged past patrons include President Grant, Mark Twain, Al Capone, and Neil Armstrong.
Iowa: Breitbach’s Country Dining (1852)
This classic bar and restaurant based in Balltown, Iowa, has been run by the same family for six generations. It’s so adored by its patrons that when it burned down not once, but twice in 2007 and 2008, people traveled from across the Midwest to help rebuild it so it could live on.
Kansas: Hays House (1857)
Hays House has a rich history, located on the Sante Fe Trail since the mid-1800s. It once acted as not only a restaurant and bar, but a trading post and gathering space as well. The U.S. government would rent space in the building to hold court and distribute mail, there were theatrical performances on the second floor, and the bartenders would cover up the liquor bottles so church services could be held on Sundays. If you step into the rustic stone basement and see the original Hays House bar, you can imagine Santa Fe Trail travelers saddling up for a few brews.
Kentucky: Talbott Tavern (1779)
In 1779, before Bardstown became the bourbon capital it is today, the town had just one bourbon bar: the Talbott Tavern. The bar and inn was located at the crossroads of the young West, so it was a hub for those travelers from all directions. Even Abraham Lincoln supposedly stayed the night at the inn when he was 5 years old. There are remnants of the bar’s past littered all over the space, including a dozen or more bullet holes in the plaster of one of the walls — legend has it they were left by Jesse James.
Louisiana: Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (1772)
Built between 1722 and 1732, this site is widely considered the oldest structure in the U.S. to operate as a bar, landing it a spot as a historical landmark. In 1772, the property officially opened, but was also home to some under-the-table business. Legend has it that the bar was used by the Lafitte brothers, Jean and Pierre, as the New Orleans base for their smuggling operations. Even though it was a haunt for pirates and smugglers back in the day, Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is a cozy, unassuming pub on Bourbon Street today.
Maine: Jameson Tavern (1779)
Jameson Tavern in Freeport, Maine, claims to be “the Birthplace of Maine.” And rightly so, as records show that it was the meeting place for many years as the province of Maine was deciding to pursue independence from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Commissioners actually signed the final papers that granted Maine its sovereignty as its own state on the second floor of the tavern.
Maryland: Middleton Tavern (1750)
This Annapolis staple was the after-work hangout spot for the Continental Congress back in its heyday, which means yes, you can visit the same bar where George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson knocked back beers and talked politics.
Massachusetts: Warren Tavern (1780)
This historic tavern in Charlestown, Mass., is another that boasts an impressive guest list. George Washington stopped in from time to time, and the bar was one of Paul Revere’s favorite watering holes.
Michigan: Old Tavern Inn (1835)
While the Old Tavern Inn in Niles, Mich. is touted as not only the oldest bar, but oldest business still operating its original building, by the state’s travel board, Pure Michigan, there is another establishment that claims the right to this title. The New Hudson Inn states on its website that it was founded in 1831, and it is an official regional landmark. Between the Old Tavern Inn and the New Hudson Inn, we’ll let you decide which sounds the oldest.
Minnesota: Neumann’s Bar (1887)
In 1887, when the Wisconsin Central Railway was extended to the town that is now known as North St. Paul, Bill Neumann opened Neumann’s Bar to serve Hamm’s beer to the rapidly growing community. The local Hamm’s Brewery actually helped open the business, providing the statement backbar that remains there to this day. During Prohibition, the ground floor of the bar stayed open selling non-alcoholic beverages while the second floor housed a speakeasy. If you go upstairs at the bar today, you can see the keyhole window that allowed the barkeepers to screen their guests.
Mississippi: King’s Tavern (1789)
If you’re into ghost stories, this is the haunt for you. Rumor has it that the bar’s founder, Richard King, had an illicit affair with one of the bar’s waitresses, Madeline. When Mrs. King caught wind of this betrayal, she allegedly had the server killed, and it wasn’t until the new owner started renovations on the building in the 1930s that people discovered her body along with two others. Some believe her ghost still haunts the bar to this day.
Missouri: O’Malley’s Pub (1842)
O’Malley’s Pub embodies the true sense of a speakeasy. This bar is hidden about 60 feet underground in the cellar of the Weston Brewing Company, and offers a large, dimly lit space with charming old stone walls to enjoy music and booze.
Montana: Bale of Hay Saloon (1863)
The Bale of Hay Saloon celebrates its heritage by displaying antique decor and keepsakes, as well as throwing its annual Brothel Days festival to remember the time this bar was definitely more than a bar. While this classic Virginia City watering hole embraces its roots, it’s also known for having a great selection of new local microbrews.
Nebraska: Glur’s Tavern (1876)
This long-standing bar opened in Columbus, Neb., in 1876, and claims to be the oldest continuously operating tavern west of the Missouri River. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Glur’s was frequented by famous soldier and bison hunter William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Now, the spot is known for its delicious burgers and rowdy beer garden, complete with a basketball hoop and a volleyball court.
Nevada: Genoa Bar (1853)
This bar boasts the title of “Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlor” on a sign at the entrance. The establishment has seen many celebrities and political figures over the years, including Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt. More recently, actress Raquel Welch visited the bar and was asked to contribute her bra to the collection hanging from the ceiling. She obliged, but demanded that all other bras be taken down, so now, you can see her leopard print bra alone gracing the bar. The Genoa Bar’s old-western vibe also makes it a prime location for filming movies and commercials, including “The Shootist” starring John Wayne and “Honky Tonk Man” with Clint Eastwood.
New Hampshire: The Hancock Inn (1789)
This charming New England tavern and inn on Hancock, N.H.’s Main Street was frequented by Franklin Pierce, the only U.S. president from New Hampshire. Though the inn is temporarily closed until late 2023, it will continue its streak as the oldest bar in the state soon.
New Jersey: Barnsboro Inn (1776)
On March 19, 1776, before the U.S. even declared independence, John Barnes had his own battle in mind. He petitioned the judges of the Gloucester County Court to license his house as an inn and tavern, which he argued was much needed in the area. The license required that Barnes keep two spare beds for lodgers and provide stables for travelers’ horses. Now, the space just operates as a bar, keeping its focus on the food and drink offerings.
New Mexico: El Farol (1835)
Even though this hub for flamenco dancing and hatch chile drinks has a rich history, the space definitely has a modern, cool vibe for its age. Maybe all that dancing keeps it young.
New York: The Old ‘76 House (1755)
Before New York City was the cocktail hub it is today, Old ‘76 House in Tappan, N.Y., was the state’s hottest spot. It served many travelers as well as members of the Continental Army, including George Washington himself. The bar even played an important part in the Revolutionary War, offering a safe space for Americans at that time. The Old ‘76 House is often referred to as “Andre’s Prison,” as the tavern briefly acted as a prison for Britain’s notorious spy, John Andre.
North Carolina: Antler’s Bar (1932)
The Tavern in Old Salem, built in 1816, long held the title of North Carolina’s oldest bar until it unfortunately shut down in 2019 due to construction issues. This left a crack in the door for Antlers Bar, which opened in 1932, to sneak in and claim the honor.
North Dakota: Peacock Alley (1933)
Peacock Alley was once a famous bar and hotel. Now, that hotel has now been converted into a senior living residence. Before the hotel closed, the property hosted iconic patrons including JFK and Teddy Roosevelt. That’s not to say the crowd isn’t as fun these days — retirement homes are known to get down.
Ohio: Ye Olde Trail Tavern (1827)
Another hotspot for paranormal activity, Yellow Springs’ Ye Olde Trail Tavern was built in 1827 and is believed to still be haunted by its original owners. Check it out if you enjoy ghost tours, or if you just want to try their incredible burger.
Oklahoma: Eischen’s Bar (1896)
Originally opened in 1896 by Peter Eischen, Eischen’s Bar had to shut down soon after due to Prohibition. But shortly after it was repealed, Peter’s son and grandson opened the bar back up, keeping its legacy alive. The bar’s most prized feature is its massive, black bar that was hand-carved in Spain in the early 1800s. It was shipped to California during the Gold Rush, but somehow made its way to Okarche, Okla., in 1950, where it remains today. Eischen’s is also a must-visit fried chicken destination.
Oregon: Huber’s (1879)
Would you believe me if I told you Oregon’s oldest bar is best known for its… turkey? When Jim Huber took over the Bureau Saloon in 1891, he insisted that every drink come with a free turkey sandwich, and soon, the hub was full of people knocking back brews with one hand and chowing down with the other. The bar’s famous turkey actually helped save it during Prohibition, as the cafe remained popular when it switched to just serving turkey dinners. While the sandwiches are no longer free, guests can still eat Huber’s signature turkey today.
Pennsylvania: King George II Inn (1681)
The title of oldest bar in Pennsylvania recently changed hands after the Broad Axe Tavern, which also opened in 1861, closed in 2019. Now, it’s the King George Inn’s moment in the sun. In addition to its new status, this establishment claims to be America’s oldest continuously operating inn.
Rhode Island: White Horse Tavern (1673)
Finally, we’ve made it to what’s widely regarded as the oldest bar in the entire country. The White Horse Tavern was established in Newport in 1673, making it not only the oldest tavern in the U.S., but one of the 10 oldest restaurants in the world. For almost 100 years, the large space was used as the meeting place of the colony’s general assembly, criminal court, and city council. The space oozes colonial history, so this is a must-visit if that’s what you’re into.
South Carolina: The Tavern at Rainbow Row (1686)
For the longest time, McCrady’s was considered South Carolina’s oldest bar, so when it closed in 2020, there was some confusion in establishing this title’s successor. The jury is still out, but The Tavern at Rainbow Row, an old liquor store and drink parlor that has been serving Charleston since 1686, seems like a good contender.
South Dakota: Buffalo Bodega Bar (1877)
When Mike Russell arrived by stagecoach in Deadwood, S.D., in 1877, there were already 17 saloons in town, but he felt there was room for one more. Russell named his establishment the Buffalo Bar, after his good friend “Buffalo Bill” Cody, who drank and gambled at the bar frequently. Even though it was new on the scene then, this bar is the last of the many old-school saloons still operating today. Now the Buffalo Bodega Complex serves as a bar, casino, hotel, and steakhouse.
Tennessee: Springwater Supper Club (1896)
Unsurprisingly, Tennessee’s oldest bar is a hub in Nashville known for its great live music. That said, it’s not the scene you would expect from this famous country music town. The Springwater Supper Club has been described as “the divyest dive bar you’ll find,” and grunge rock takes center stage.
Texas: Scholz Garten (1866)
Founded by German immigrant and Civil War veteran August Scholz in 1866, the Scholz Garden became a hub for German immigrants in the Austin area. There were also many thirsty politicians roaming the state capital who found themselves drinking beer and eating schnitzel at this historic bar. Today’s politicians are known to stop by there, too, with a recent notable visit from Beto O’Rourke for a campaign speech.
Utah: Shooting Star Saloon (1879)
The Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville has a quintessential old-western vibe, decorated with quirky antique decor that’s odd as it is endearing. The ceiling is covered with currency from all over the world with signatures from visiting patrons — at an estimated value of $15,000 — and the bar also features a mounted head of “Buck,” the Guinness Book of World Records holder for largest St. Bernard for more than 20 years. If niche taxidermy isn’t your thing, the saloon’s famous burger still makes it worth the stop.
Vermont: Ye Olde Tavern (1790)
Ye Olde Tavern lives up to its name. With crooked floors and uneven doorways, this place will transport you straight back to America’s colonial days. The bar’s rich history, including being the site of the town’s first-ever telephone line, landed it a spot on the Vermont Register of Historic Places.
Virginia: The Tavern (1779)
Back in the day, bars never really just served as bars. These establishments were viewed as common spaces to fit just about any need the town had. For example, the oldest bar in the Commonwealth served as a post office, a hospital for soldiers during the Civil War, and an inn where the likes of Andrew Jackson and King Louis Philippe of France spent the night.
Washington: The Brick Saloon (1889)
After its opening in 1889, the tavern was rebuilt in 1898 using 45,000 bricks, giving it its name. The neighborhood pub in Roslyn features a lot of original decor to really drive home that old-school vibe, including its original running-water spittoon.
West Virginia: North End Tavern & Brewery (1899)
Locally known as the NET, the North End Tavern & Brewery is not only the oldest bar in the state, but when it expanded to start producing beer in 1997, it also became the oldest brewery in West Virginia.
Wisconsin: The Uptowner (1884)
In true Wisconsin fashion, the state’s oldest bar was originally opened by Joseph Schlitz, the German-American brewer behind the beer that made Milwaukee famous. The Uptowner was actually one of 54 “Schlitz taverns” that he founded in order to sell more of his family’s beer. In the 1950s and ‘60s, the bar was known for opening up at 6 a.m. so local factory workers could enjoy a cold beer after a night shift.
Wyoming: Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse (1862)
This bar actually predates Wyoming’s status as a state, which was granted in 1890. Aptly, Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse is located in Hartville, one of Wyoming’s oldest incorporated towns with a population of just 62.