The Best Bars In America: Our Top Ten Picks!

The United States is a vast and varied country, and each region has its own identity and cultural flavor that people can explore and enjoy.

The same goes for nightlife, and there are countless great bars throughout the United States that everyone should visit at some point on their travels.

The Best Bars In America: Our Top Ten Picks!

But what exactly are the best bars in America, and what makes them so special?

The Ten Best Bars In America

To make this exploration a little easier, we have compiled our own list of the best bars in the United States – ranging all across the country, with each offering something a little different.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. The Frolic Room (Hollywood, California)

A somewhat underrated bar within the nightlife of Hollywood, The Frolic Room has a long history in the city of angels, and has played host to several lost and damned individuals from history and legend – including infamous writer Charles Bukowski, and the mysterious ‘Black Dahlia’ Elizabeth Short, who supposedly frequented the bar on the night she was killed.

Simple, modestly sized, yet oozing classic Hollywood dive bar chic, The Frolic Room also featured in the classic gangster film LA Confidential, as well as numerous other films and television shows over the years – making it as much of an institution as the Hollywood sign itself.

For a night of good music, reasonably priced alcohol, and surprisingly good company, The Frolic Room is certainly one to check out!

Address: 6245 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles CA, 90028

2. Buddy Guy’s ‘Legends’ (Chicago, Illinois)

Owned by the famous blues musician himself, Legends is a Chicago institution, and harks back to the city’s long history with African American music.

Tasteful decor adorns the place, and the atmosphere is one of quaint little tables, candlelight drinks, and of course live music – bringing a taste of the old fashioned Chicago scene into the modern era.

You can obviously catch some of the best established and up and coming blues musicians at Legends, including the owner himself – who has been known to stop by on occasion and put on a show or two.

Address: 700 S Wabash Ave, Chicago IL, 60605

3. The White Elephant Saloon (Fort Worth, Texas)

Next on our list we have The White Elephant Saloon, located in Fort Worth, Texas.

This western themed bar really digs into the roots of Texan culture, with natural wood finishes, cow horns adorning the walls, and rows and rows of old country music photographs and cowboy hats across the room.

Having been in Fort Worth since the late 1890s, The White Elephant has become something of a Texas staple, and is a place of pilgrimage for bar flies and country western fans all across the country – due to its wide range of beer, friendly atmosphere, and excellent live music.

Address: 106 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth TX, 76164

4. The Tonga Room (San Francisco, California) 

Since its founding, San Francisco has long been a place that has drawn people from all over the world – and as well as being a gold rush town in the 19th century, it also became the hub of the 1960s counterculture – establishing itself as a cool place for cool people.

As such, you can probably imagine that the city has some amazing bars – many of them uniquely themed and eye-catching, but perhaps none more so than the Tonga Room.

Located in the basement of the Fairmont Hotel, this Polynesian themed drinking establishment has remained the same since it opened in the 1940s, and boasts a circular grand seating area, surrounding a floating barge, which contains the performance space and DJ booth.

Words really don’t do this place justice, so why not check it out for yourself?

Address: 950 Mason St, San Francisco CA, 94108

5. The Mint Bar (Sheridan, Wyoming)

Middle America is known for dive bars – in fact the whole country has a reputation for having great pit stops. However, none are perhaps as cool and stylish as The Mint Bar, located in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Established in 1907, this Sheridan tavern has a long and storied history in the city, and is a popular watering hole for locals and tourists alike.

With walls decorated with memorabilia and pictures, and neon lights adorning the wall, this tavern doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to give its patrons a good time.

So what do you think, meet you at the Mint?

Address: 151 N Main St, Sheridan WY, 82801

6. The Carousel Bar (New Orleans, Louisiana)

In its long and storied history, New Orleans has more than established itself as a party town, and as such it should come as no surprise that it plays host to some of the best and most unique bars in the country.

Perhaps more memorable than most is the Carousel Bar, which as you can imagine pays homage to the traditional fairground attraction – with grand, garish Victorian decor, and a sense of French grandeur that you only really see in New Orleans.

With bright fairground lights, and oil paint adorning the walls, the place should look gaudy, however you couldn’t hope to find a classier, and surprisingly more romantic place in the entire city. Why not pay her a visit?

Address: 214 Royal St, New Orleans LA, 70130

7. Tootsie’s Orchid Bar & Lounge (Nashville, Tennessee)

Nashville, Tennessee is widely known as the home of country and western music, and there are numerous great bars, restaurants and venues that pay homage to this grand tradition.

However, none are perhaps as famous and revered as Tootsie’s – a cowboy bar that has become the go to spot for locals and newcomers alike.

If you are looking for great drinks, greater company, and some of the best country music in the city, then this is certainly the place for you.

This might not be the biggest joint on the list, but it is certainly one you will remember for the rest of your life!

Address: 422 Broadway, Nashville TN, 37203

8. The Green Dragon Tavern (Boston, Massachusetts)

New England marks the birth of what could be seen as modern America, and Boston has become a go to place for Americans and tourists alike with an interest in American colonial history and the War of Independence.

Boston also has some of the oldest bars, pubs, and taverns in the country, with one example being The Green Dragon Tavern – a quaint, almost British pub that was once the regular watering hole for Paul Revere, John Adams, and John Hancock.

This really feels like a blast from the past, and you would do well to find a pub like this anywhere else in the United States.

Address: 11 Marshall St, Boston MA, 02108

9. Vesuvio (San Francisco, California)

As we mentioned earlier, San Francisco has often been at the epicenter of culture, and indeed counterculture, and as such it should come as no surprise that it has two spots on this list.

This particular bar is called Vesuvio, and is a vibrant, roaring tribute to the city’s storied past, and has had some famous patrons over the years – including famed beat writer and poet Jack Kerouac, the writer of On The Road.

Bohemian themed with a distinct beatnik feel, Vesuvio really knows where it comes from, and is the perfect place to meet with friends, have a few drinks, and put the world to rights.

Address: 255 Columbus Ave, San Francisco CA, 94133

10. The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge (Chicago, Illinois)

Last on our list, but by no means least, we have the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago, Illinois.

Now, as many of you probably know, as America’s second city, Chicago has had a storied history over the years, being the epicenter for many cultural, historical, and political phenomena – including organized crime, where the city was unofficially ruled by infamous gangland boss Al Capone.

What’s more, old scarface himself actually frequented this cocktail lounge on several occasions, along with his associates, which has led to the Green Mill being cemented in history as an Illinois landmark.

Also a prominent jazz venue, the ambience of the place is a nod to Parisian culture, namely the famed Moulin Rouge, and the whole bar acts as a venue to take in some classic and modern jazz acts.

Address: 4802 N Broadway St, Chicago IL, 60640

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about the United States, and where to find the best bars in the entire country.

It’s true that the US is a vast and varied country, and each state has its own niche to offer, however, when it comes to nightlife, there are some bars that have such long standing legacies that they deserve a place on this list.

So, if you are looking for the best bars in the US, why not pay these a visit? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!

Alex Kallen
Scroll to Top