Americans have a lot of great traditions that we’ve developed in our history. One of those traditions is making and drinking good liquor and beer, and as such, we pride ourselves on our bars, pubs, and clubs. Well, maybe not the clubs. If you’ve ever been in one, you know they all smell like someone was testing tear gas canisters full of Axe body spray with the windows closed.
America has a lot of very old bars, pubs, and taverns though, because drinking and winning wars are pretty much our biggest pastimes. These are places full of good drinks, iconic and historical contributions, and great stories. Thrillist compiled a list and a brief profile of the oldest bar in each of the 50 states, which is the most awesome base for a cross-country road trip.
Here are some of the highlights:
Ohio Club — Hot Springs, AR (Est. 1905)
We’d like to think this was a bar where Bill Clinton took and/or met all his ladies NOT named Hillary, but we have no idea. What we do know is that before Bill ever came to Hot Springs, the Ohio Club was a bookie joint frequented by the likes of Al Capone, and a target of frequent police raids until the late 1960s.
District of Columbia
Old Ebbitt Grill — Washington DC (Est. 1856)
Once part of the Old Ebbitt Hotel (where President William McKinley lived when he served in Congress), the bar was a favorite drinking spot of other presidents as well, including Ulysses Grant, Andrew Jackson, and Warren Harding. DC’s oldest bar once stood on F Street before the Old Ebbitt was demolished for an even grander drinking club: The National Press Building.
Scholz Garten — Austin, TX (Est. 1866)
Since it’s in the capital, the oldest Lone Star bar has been a popular hangout for local politicos, as well as a staging ground for fundraisers, campaign events, and pretty much anything else alcohol-related that Texas politicians do. Founded originally by German immigrant August Scholz, this beer hall is, not surprisingly, also known for its its schnitzel.
White Horse Tavern — Newport, RI (Est. 1673)
Not just the oldest bar in the smallest state, but the oldest bar in the whole freaking country, this spot was home to colonial assemblies, criminal courts, and civic government before it ever served a single drink. Once run by a pirate, WHT was restored in 1957 and is now better known as a home for some of the best seafood in New England. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of booze for you to sip while snapping a selfie of yourself having a drink in America’s oldest bar.
If you can hit any of these (except the ones in some of the smaller towns in states like Wyoming, because one of them is in a town with, like, 25 people) I think it’s definitely worth it. I’ve been to D.C.’s oldest bar many times over the years, and it’s a great place to grab food and then drink your way through the night, especially if you want to try to take home a senator’s daughter or an actress in town for the weekend. There’s a lot of history to explore in the bars listed in the article. After all, how many people can say they drank in places where the Founding Fathers or past presidents once did? Take a trip to the one closest to you and you could be one of those people.
To see the rest of the list, click here..
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