The oldest bar in every state
Throughout American history, bars, saloons, and taverns weren’t just places to order a drink. They were accommodations for weary travelers who would become US presidents, gathering places for public discourse, and safehouses during times of war.
Keep reading to learn the fascinating history of the oldest bar in every state.
ALABAMA: The Peerless Saloon & Grille, Anniston
The Peerless Saloon & Grille was established in 1899 and is even listed on the US Register of Historic Places. The bar is teeming with history, but the most obvious example is the huge mirror-backed mahogany bar. Featured in the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the bar has been in The Peerless Saloon since 1906.
ALASKA: B&B Bar, Kodiak
The tiny dive bar proudly displays its original liquor license from 1906, which is the oldest one in Alaska. Along the walls, visitors can also find relics of the bar’s wharfside roots.
Behind the bar, you can also find B&B Bar’s list of “rules:” “know what you want,” “cash only,” “no whining,” and “crying is forbidden.”
ARIZONA: The Palace Restaurant and Saloon, Prescott
Opened in 1877, The Palace Restaurant and Saloon in Prescott is the oldest frontier saloon in Arizona and one of the oldest restaurants in the state. Early patrons of the Palace included Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, and Doc Holliday.
In 1900, when The Palace was destroyed by the Whiskey Row fire, the ornately carved 1880s Brunswick bar was carried across the street to safety. The same bar is still in use today.
ARKANSAS: The Ohio Club, Hot Springs
Open since 1905, the Ohio Club holds the title of Arkansas’ oldest bar. Many celebrities have stopped by the watering hole and casino, including famed gangsters Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, Bugs Moran, and Lucky Luciano.
During prohibition, the Ohio Club turned into a speakeasy and changed its name to Ohio Cigar Store. In front, visitors would find an unassuming cigar store, but in back, two doors led into the bar and upstairs to the casino.
CALIFORNIA: Iron Door Saloon, Groveland
First called the Granite Store, the Iron Door Saloon was built sometime before 1852 and originally operated as a post office. It didn’t become an operating saloon until 1896, when it was renamed Jake’s Place. In 1937, cards, billiards, and pool began being offered to patrons, and it was renamed The Iron Door Saloon.
COLORADO: The Buffalo Rose, Golden
Opened in 1859, the Buffalo Rose is Colorado’s oldest continuously operating watering hole, according to Out There Colorado. Over the years, the institution has gone through multiple owners but looks very similar to how it did when the bar first opened.
CONNECTICUT: The Griswold Inn, Essex
The Griswold Inn is practically as old as America itself. The inn has been operating since 1776 in the small Connecticut town of Essex, but the building now used as the Tap Room dates back even earlier, to 1735, when it was used as a schoolhouse.
DELAWARE: Kelly’s Logan House, Wilmington
Kelly’s Logan House is both the oldest-operating restaurant and bar in Delaware. Opened in 1864, the bar and restaurant is a National Historic Site and has been the go-to spot in Delaware for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations for more than 150 years.
FLORIDA: The Palace Saloon, Fernandina Beach
Florida’s oldest drinking establishment opened its doors for the first time in 1903. Originally a haberdashery, the bar continued to market itself as a “gentleman’s establishment,” offering patrons complimentary towels and 14-pound solid brass spittoons.
The Palace was also reportedly the last bar to close on the eve of Prohibition — according to local lore, the bar owner continued selling booze until midnight, grossing $60,000 in a single day.
GEORGIA: The Pirate’s House, Savannah
The Pirate’s House holds the title of the oldest bar in the state of Georgia. The establishment opened in 1753 as a rest stop for seafarers and pirates, which is where the bar gets its name.
Not only is The Pirate’s House Georgia’s oldest bar, but parts of the building date back to 1734, making it the oldest standing building in the entire state.
HAWAII: Smith’s Union Bar, Honolulu
Though definitely not as historic as some mainland bars, Smith’s Union Bar holds the title of the oldest bar in Hawaii. Established in 1934, the tiki-inspired tavern is known for its karaoke and cheap drinks.
IDAHO: White Horse Saloon, Spirit Lake
Located in Spirit Lake, the White Horse Saloon claims to be the oldest operating saloon in all of Idaho. The bar was established in 1907, but the menu features modern favorites like burgers, sandwiches, wings, and drinks served from the original bar.
ILLINOIS: The Village Tavern, Long Grove
Established in 1847, The Village Tavern in Long Grove is the oldest tavern and restaurant in continuous operation in all of Illinois. The restaurant claims that its massive 35-foot-long mahogany “Presidents Bar” attracts locals and tourists alike through its doors.
INDIANA: Knickerbocker Saloon, Lafayette
The Knickerbocker Saloon has been in business since 1835 and is Indiana’s oldest bar. President Grant, Mark Twain, Al Capone, and Neil Armstrong have all visited the bar over the years.
IOWA: Breitbach’s Country Dining, Balltown
The oldest bar and restaurant in Iowa, Breitbach’s Country Dining has been in business since 1852. The spot has also been run by the same family for six generations. Over the years, two fires have broken out, burning the tavern to the ground. However, both times, Breitbach’s Country Dining was rebuilt.
KANSAS: Hays House Restaurant and Tavern, Council Grove
Founded in 1857, Hays House Restaurant and Tavern was opened by the first white settler in Council Grove, Seth M. Hays, a grandson of Daniel Boone. Today, it is the oldest bar in the state and one of the oldest continuously operating restaurants west of the Mississippi River.
KENTUCKY: Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown
Built in 1779, the Old Talbott Tavern has offered food and shelter to travelers ever since. One of its most famous visitors was American frontiersman Daniel Boone who, in April 1792, was subpoenaed to give a deposition at the tavern.
LOUISIANA: Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, New Orleans
Built between 1722 and 1732, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar is said to be one of the oldest buildings to be used as a bar in the country. Today, it is listed as a US National Historic Landmark and is said to be one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans.
MAINE: Jameson Tavern, Freeport
Set on a hillside on the busy Main Street of Freeport, Maine, Jameson Tavern is deeply rooted in American history. The tavern dates back to 1779 when it was used as the home of Dr. John Anglier Hyde. In 1801, Captain Samuel Jameson purchased the home and converted it into Jameson’s Tavern.
The tavern then served as a meeting place for young men organizing the independence of the Province of Maine from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Though the idea to secede was controversial, commissioners reportedly met on the second floor of the inn to sign the final papers giving Maine her independence from Massachusetts, according to Jameson Tavern.
MARYLAND: Middleton Tavern, Annapolis
Middleton Tavern was established in 1750 as an “Inn for Seafaring Men” by Horatio Middleton. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and other members of the Continental Congress visited the tavern. It was remodeled and expanded in 1983 to include the new Tavern and Oyster Bar.
MASSACHUSETTS: Warren Tavern, Charlestown
Warren Tavern, established in 1780, is named after Joseph Warren, a Harvard-educated doctor and Patriot who died in battle in the Revolutionary War. It was one of the first structures built after the British burned down Charlestown in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. George Washington and Paul Revere were among the tavern’s patrons.
MICHIGAN: The Old Tavern Inn, Niles
The Old Tavern Inn dates back to 1835. Its popular dishes include a jumbo chili cheese dog and goulash, according to Yelp. It is the state’s oldest business that still operates in its original building.
MINNESOTA: Neumann’s, North St. Paul
Neumann’s was established as a saloon in 1887. During Prohibition, Neumann’s opened a speakeasy upstairs. The keyhole window used to confirm the identity of patrons is still in place today.
MISSISSIPPI: King’s Tavern, Natchez
The building that now hosts King’s Tavern dates back to the 1760s. It was a block house until Richard King bought it and opened a tavern in 1789. The spirit of King’s mistress, a waitress named Madeline, is said to still roam the tavern’s halls.
MISSOURI: O’Malley’s, Weston
Dating back to the 1840s, O’Malley’s is located 60 feet underground in what was the cellar of the Weston Brewing Company. The bar closed its doors during Prohibition, then reopened in the 1990s.
MONTANA: Bale of Hay Saloon, Virginia City
The Bale of Hay Saloon, built in 1863, features a nightly ghost tour as well the famous piece of artwork “Nymphs and Satyr” painted by William-Adolphe Bouguereau in 1873.
NEBRASKA: Glur’s Tavern, Columbus
William “Buffalo Bill” Cody was among Glur’s Tavern’s famous patrons. Established around 1876, the tavern’s storied history earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
NEVADA: The Genoa Bar and Saloon, Genoa
The Genoa Bar and Saloon has been in business since 1853. Its period decor has made it a popular location for filming Hollywood movies. “The Shootist,” “Charley Varrick,” “Honky Tonk Man,” “Misery,” and “Till the River Runs Dry” were all filmed at the Genoa Bar and Saloon.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Hancock Inn, Hancock
The Hancock Inn has been in operation since 1789 and remains the oldest continuously operating inn in the state. The inn was known for hosting balls and serving broiled steaks. Franklin Pierce, the only US president from New Hampshire, was friends with then-owner Squire Patten and was a regular guest.
NEW MEXICO: El Farol, Santa Fe
El Farol opened in 1835. Pre-coronavirus, the bar was known for its live flamenco shows. Its Mary Hatch cocktails (a Bloody Mary and Hatch chile combination) are also a favorite among customers.
NEW YORK: Old ’76 House, Tappan
The Old ’76 House was a safehouse during the Revolutionary War. Also known as “Andre’s Prison,” the bar once held John Andre, a major in the British Army, before he was executed for conspiring with Benedict Arnold and spying on American forces.
NEW JERSEY: Barnsboro Inn, Sewell
John Budd built the log cabin that became the Barnsboro Inn in 1720. John Barnes took ownership of the property in 1751 and turned it into a tavern in 1776, and it has remained a tavern ever since.
NORTH CAROLINA: The Tavern in Old Salem, Winston-Salem
The Tavern in Old Salem was built in 1816. As a tribute to the Moravian community that settled in Salem in the 19th century, waitstaff dress in historic Moravian clothing while serving Moravian food. The tavern is currently closed for renovations.
NORTH DAKOTA: Peacock Alley American Grill, Bismarck
The Patterson Hotel opened in 1911 and has since been converted into a senior living facility, but Peacock Alley remains a functioning bar and restaurant on its first floor. The bar had been operating in secret since the hotel’s opening due to Prohibition, but was officially established in 1933.
OHIO: Ye Olde Trail Tavern, Yellow Springs
Ye Olde Trail Tavern in Yellow Springs was built by Elisha Mills and his son William in 1827. It’s known for its signature burgers, and is also said to be haunted by a dark-haired woman in a blue dress.
OKLAHOMA: Eischen’s Bar, Okarche
Peter Eischen established Eischen’s Bar in 1896. The bar closed down during Prohibition, but was reopened by Eischen’s son and grandson. Popular dishes include fried chicken, Frito pie, and a roast beef sandwich.
OREGON: Huber’s Cafe, Portland
Huber’s Cafe was established in 1879 as “The Bureau Saloon.” Drinks at Huber’s used to come with a turkey sandwich and coleslaw. During Prohibition, the bar switched to serving turkey dinners.
PENNSYLVANIA: King George II Inn, Bristol
Broad Axe Tavern, which also opened in 1681, closed in 2019, making the King George Inn the oldest in the state. Washington stayed at the King George Inn on his way to enlist in the military.
RHODE ISLAND: White Horse Tavern, Newport
White Horse Tavern in Newport is the oldest bar in the entire US and the 10th oldest restaurant in the world. A National Historic Landmark, White Horse Tavern was originally built as a house for Francis Brinley. William Mayes converted it into a tavern in 1673 and held City Council meetings and court proceedings there.
SOUTH CAROLINA: The Tavern at Rainbow Row, Charleston
Rainbow Row features pastel-colored homes along East Bay Street in Charleston. The Tavern at Rainbow Row opened in 1686 and is the oldest liquor store in the US. It offers free whiskey and wine tastings.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Buffalo Bodega, Deadwood
The Buffalo Bar was established in 1877 and named for the owner’s friend and hunting buddy, Buffalo Bill Cody. Today it’s known as the Buffalo Bodega Gaming Complex, and visitors can dine at its steakhouse, watch live music, and try their luck on one of the largest slot machines in the world.
TENNESSEE: Springwater Supper Club & Lounge, Nashville
Springwater, which opened in 1896, is a “true dive bar in its purest form,” Jesse Baker, the bar’s talent buyer, told Insider.
Although there have been structural updates to the bar over the past 100-plus years, there’s plenty of evidence of its fascinating history. During Prohibition, the bar operated as a speakeasy and today, it still has a peephole door with an axe mark from when the fire department forced their way in “to bust heads,” Baker said.
TEXAS: Scholz Garten, Austin
The bar at Scholz Garten was founded by a German immigrant and Civil War veteran, August Scholz, in 1866, and it promptly became a favorite haunt of other German immigrants in the area.
When the bar was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the New York Times reported, “As bars go, this one is anything but usual, having given long service as a watering hole, debating forum, community center and political staging point.”
Today the bar, which serves up German food and barbecue, is popular among University of Texas students, although politicians continue to make appearances.
UTAH: Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville
The bar, which opened in 1879, is the oldest, continually operating watering hole in Utah. Today, it’s decorated with trinkets and bills from visitors from around the world, but most eye-catching is the stuffed head of Buck, a record-setting 298-pound Saint Bernard, who was mounted on the wall after his death in 1957.
VERMONT: Ye Olde Tavern, Manchester
Ye Olde Tavern dates back to the 18th century — a sign outside reads, “Wining & Dining since 1790” — although it’s been through many names and owners since then. It’s had its current name since 1976.
The town’s first telephone line was installed at the tavern, according to its website. The beautiful, historic building is now on the Vermont Register of Historic Places.
VIRGINIA: The Tavern, Abingdon
The Tavern was built in 1779. Although it’s predated by a handful of still-operating inns and restaurants in the state, The Tavern is Virginia’s oldest bar, and it’s the eighth oldest in the country, according to its website.
During the Civil War, it was used as a hospital, and it has also housed a post office, a bakery, a barber shop, and a general store, among other things. Its list of famous guests includes Andrew Jackson and King Louis Philippe of France.
WASHINGTON: Bluebird Inn, Bickleton
While there’s some debate over who can claim the title of oldest bar in Washington, the Bluebird Inn in Bickleton opened its saloon in 1887. According to the town’s Alder Creek Pioneer Carousel Museum, women were welcomed to the bar for the first time in the 1960s.
The town, which is known as “the bluebird capital of the world” due to the number of bluebirds that call it home for most of the year, has a population of just 90 people.
WEST VIRGINIA: North End Tavern and Brewery, Parkersburg
The North End Tavern and Brewery, which opened in 1899, is the oldest continuously operating tavern in the state. According to the West Virginia Gazette-Mail, the only remnants from the original bar are the “rough bricks laid into the basement floor” and “part of the foundation.” In 1997, owner Joe Roedersheimer added a brewery, reportedly making it the state’s oldest brewery, too. These days, it’s better known as the Net.
WISCONSIN: The Uptowner, Milwaukee
The Uptowner, which opened in 1884, is Milwaukee’s oldest continuously running tavern. It was one of 54 taverns Joseph Schlitz opened in the city that year to sell his family’s beer, according to the Milwaukee County Historical Society. In the ’50s and ’60s, it opened its doors at 6 a.m. to serve factory workers after they finished their overnight shifts, quickly becoming a favorite for blue-collar workers, according to OnMilwaukee.
WYOMING: Miners and Stockmen’s Steakhouse, Hartville
Miners and Stockmen’s opened its doors for the first time in 1862 — that’s 28 years before Wyoming was granted statehood. Fittingly, it’s found in Hartville, Wyoming’s oldest incorporated town still in existence. Today the town has a population of 61.
Patrons can choose from a long list of wines or 35 different types of whiskey.
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