5 Best Historic Bar Signs in America

Some historic bar signs have surpassed simply noting the existence of a good watering hole, and have entered the realm of pure art! These are the signs that have been around for years and by which others are measured and compared. These are copied by cheap imitators who attempt to game their fame.

Here we'll break down what we think are 5 of the best bar signs in America.

The 5 Best Bar Signs in the United States

Cole's P.E. Buffet

Cole's P.E. Buffet

Since 1908!

By Clint Lanier

One of the coolest bar signs you'll find in the city of Los Angeles (but not the only one), is this classic from Cole's P.E. Buffet. Not only is it the oldest bar in LA, but it was also the birthplace of the French Dip sandwhich. What other reason do you need to go visit? Watch our documentary of Cole's here.

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Ear Inn

Ear Inn

Does that say Ear or Bar?

By Clint Lanier

The Ear Inn, established in 1977, has long history. It is definitely one of the oldest bars in the United States (actually on that site there's been a bar since 1817). The sign has a unique story. Because the building was a historical landmark it couldn't be altered. So when new owners bought the bar in 1977 they simply painted the "B" of the existing sign, turning it into an "E" and the Ear Inn was born. Watch our documentary about the Ear Inn here.

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The Frolic Room

The Frolic Room

They don't make it like this anymore

By Clint Lanier

This place oozes cool. The Frolic Room has been on Hollywood Boulevard since 1934, even though it was used during prohibition. This is one of the most beautiful signs in the country when it's lit up at night. Definitely put this on your "to see" list when you go to LA. Watch our documentary of the Frolic Room here.

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Green Mill

Green Mill

One of the best jazz joints in the world

By Clint Lanier

A picture can't capture this sign. Lit up and blinking, the sign at the Green Mill in Chicago is truly a beautiful site, and definitely transports you to another time. Seeing this place at night is a great way to start an evening. Watch our documentary of the Green Mill here.

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McGillin's Olde Ale House

McGillin's Olde Ale House

One of the Most Photographed in the US

By Clint Lanier

If you're into bar signs you might have already seen this one. The sign at McGillin's Olde Ale House is not only classic, but one of the most frequently photographed bar signs in the world. The place dates from 1860, and the sign has been around for almost a century. Definitely a great piece of Americana! Watch our documentary about McGillin's Olde Ale House here.

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The Tavern

The Tavern

Never Far from 12th and Lamar

By Clint Lanier

We're giving the Tavern in Austin an honorable mention for their sign. Think about when this was put up. At a time when advertising air conditioning meant something. Sadly it doesn't any more, but this sign in Austin, Texas will always tell you you're on the corner of 12th and Lamar! Watch out documentary of the Tavern here.

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