The next time you visit a bar, why don’t you try one that will give you a lesson or two in history? Enjoy a night at any of these watering holes, and every sip from your drink will surely evoke historical moments that happened as far back as the colonial times. Here are ten of the best historic bars and pubs, all of which are frequented by both regular drinkers and old American history enthusiasts.
This Prohibition-era bar boasts of a mechanism used to hide its bar shelves and keep liquor bottles away from the police during raids. 21 Club is famous for being the bar mentioned in the James bond novel, Diamonds are Forever, where the famous agent drunk a stinger, which is basically brandy with crème de menthe.
The bar is known for its famous celebrity guests. But when I say celebrity, I’m not referring to Dave Matthews or Tom Cruise, but more on the likes of John Adams, Paul Revere and George Washington, US colonial leaders. In fact, the bar’s special drink is colonial times-inspired. Called the City Tavern Shrub, it is a fine mix of fruits, sugar, and vinegar, with champagne added on top.
The Horse You Came In On
The bar dates back to 1775, and so it can very well claim the title of America’s oldest operating saloon. Still another claim to fame is that it was a favorite hangout of Edgar Allan Poe. The celebrated novelist was said to have taken his last drink at the bar. Apart from talks about the great drinks that the bar offers, people also gossip about a ghost named Edgar, who supposedly roams regularly around the bar.
The bar imbibes the atmosphere of the old American tavern, a place where guests gather and are served alcoholic drinks and food. It is similar to the olden-day taverns where, other than having some drinks, travellers can visit for a night of sleep. Today, Marlow’s Tavern serves the best that Classic American Travel can offer while within a modern bar setting.
The Green Mill
The Green Mill is known for being a hangout of Al Capone, the most infamous mobster of his time. Capone loved to spend hours after hours at the bar because it gave him a full view of the surroundings. The bar is said to have a tunnel where Capone rushed through a few times to evade the police. Green Mill boasts of rich history indeed. For one thing, it still display’s Capone’s favorite booth.
It’s hard to choose the best bar in New Orleans in terms of its historical value, since there are just too many. Remember that New Orleans is the center of the American cocktail, and so countless bars in the area vie for the title. But if there is one that has the people’s attention because of its historical charm, it’s the Sazerac Bar at the Roosevelt Hotel, which has been serving cocktail drinks since 1893. New Orleans’s major personalities like Huey P. Long, an ex-Louisiana governor, was a regular and used to order gin.
I love the fact that Ernest Hemingway proudly named Sloppy Joe’s as one of this favorite bars. The joint does fit the machismo and brutish bearing of the American writer. Interestingly, it swung its doors open to the public way back on December 5, 1933, the same date of Prohibition’s annulment. People love to go there for the best authentic daiquiri. You can have a taste of Hemingway’s favorite drink, the Papa Doble, since it is still listed on the menu.
Tiki Bar in California has been in existence since 1961, and is obviously one of the earliest joints to serve the tiki drink. Its authentic cocktail list, which includes the zombie, is the reason why the bar is so popular.
Palace Hotel Saloon
Many erroneously think of Wyatt and Virgil Earp as fictional characters in a Western setting story, when in fact, they were real people and had been regular customers at the Palace Hotel Saloon. Palace Hotel is just like the typical saloon you can find in any Wild, Wild West scene, where customers approach the bar and bang their hands on it as they order some drinks. Anyone who enters this Arizona Saloon will imbibe the western authenticity and history. Be ready to experience creaky boards swinging from behind as you enter the place.
Buena Vista Café
Since this San Francisco bar opened in 1953, people have been trooping to it for a good reason to have a good sip of its specialty – the Irish coffee. The bar’s owner fell in love with the drink that he had at Shannon Airport in Ireland that he made his own. Apparently, his version is able to replicate the taste and deliciousness of the airports’ coffee that it became a favorite among the bar’s regulars.