A few years ago, two friends, Dr. Clint Lanier and Derek Hembree, had perhaps the greatest idea of their professional lives: To travel across the US in search of the most interesting, historic, and storied bars in the country. And they chronicled all of their findings into their new book, Bucket List Bars, out now. We sat down with the two bar aficionados to talk about all the tall tales, cool scenes, and great drinks they unveiled along the way. (We were there a while.) Herewith, their list of America’s ten best historic bars.
Old 76 House, Tappan, NY
This is the oldest bar in the nation (built 1668). George Washington frequented here, and British spy John Andre was imprisoned here before being executed just up the road.
White Horse Tavern, Newport, RI
Established 1673 and home to a pirate during the mid-1700's. The British occupied the tavern during the revolutionary war and now it's said to be (very) haunted.
Warren Tavern, Charlestown, MA
The first structure built in 1780 after the British torched Charlestown, MA (talk about having your priorities straight) this place frequently served Paul Revere and other patriots (after the war).
McSorley's, New York City
Established in 1854 by Irish immigrant John McSorley this place is the quintessential New York City Irish pub, the one all the rest copy. This place is the history of NYC.
McGillin's, Philadelphia, PA
Yes, another Irish immigrant founded another cool Irish pub in another town. In 1860 this place set another standard. Walk into any Applebees in the country and you'll see a cheap imitation.
Scholz Garten, Austin, TX
Founded by German immigrant and Civil War veteran August Scholz in 1866 this place is like a traditional bier garten you might find in Bavaria. Go when the UT football team is playing.
Menger Bar, San Antonio, TX
In 1859 this bar opened in what was the cattle town in the United States. More cattle deals were consummated here than anywhere else in the country.
My Brother's Bar, Denver, CO
The oldest drinking establishment in Denver (first a bar in 1870) played host to Jack Kerouac and other Denver notables. It's said that Columbus Day started in this bar.
Crystal Palace, Tombstone, AZ
Originally founded in 1879 this place is a throwback to the Wild West. Virgil Earp had an office upstairs (and was shot in the street outside of her doors).
Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon, Oakland, CA
Founded in 1883 on the Bay of Oakland's water, this place was a regular for pirates and pretty vile sea captains who shanghaied the drunks found inside.