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.

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The saloon is synonomous with the old west. You can't have one without the other. How would history have been different if John Wayne had bellied up to the bar in an English pub (of course he did in The Quiet Mad, but that's another matter).

But what are the best saloons in America to visit? Well, after a year's worth of travel we think we've found the top 3 best historic saloons in the United States.

In no significant order they are:

3. Heinold's First and Las Chance, Oakland, California

img 1103Opened in 1883 by German immigrant Johnnie Heinold, this place is a living legend. During the wild west days of the Bay Area, the place saw captains of whaling ships and sea lion hunting ships shainghai drunks and other nefarias episodes. 

The place was also the savior of one of America's best writers, Jack London. Growing up poor on the street Jack London was befriended by the owner who allowed him to come inside out of the rain when he was 10. Jack got the inspiration for many of his best stories from the place.

Spend time looking at the decor and notice the crooked bar (and floor). Watch our documentary of Heinold's here.

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img 0375As the temperature drops, the leaves change color and rain turns to snow people in the Windy City turn their thoughts from ice cold beer to drinks of the warmer kind.  Irish coffee immediately comes to mind and who doesn't love this traditional favorite?  The physical warmth of the coffee, the kick of the caffeine and the lasting warmth of the Irish Whiskey make it an all time favorite and reliable go to drink for those colder days.  

The Irish Coffee has been, and always will be, a favorite of ours here at Bucket List Bars.  But if you live in Chicago, why not try something a little different?  Why not head over to Simon's Tavern, located just off of West Foster and North Clark, and give Glogg a try?

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best bar in las vegas atomic liquorsWhen Derek and I started on our journey of hitting every single one of the best bars in the United States, there was one in Las Vegas we really wanted to drink at, Atomic Liquor, perched in the shady section of the city, on 10th and Freemont.

But, alas, it was not meant to be it seemed. They closed shop in January of 2011, just when we were setting off, and we thought that was the end of it. Another nearby bar did make our bucket list, though, Pioneer Saloon just down the street in Goodsprings. But Atomic Liquors was Vegas' one chance to have its own Bucket List Bar.

But as luck would have it, she's rising from the ashes!

In a story that will no doubt be in the second edition of our book, a group of local regulars couldn't bear to see the old girl torn down, so they bought the bar from the family of the late owners, are working on it around the clock, and hope for an early 2013 re-opening.

So why's this place such a big deal?

Well, for starters it was probably the oldest of the Las Vegas bars left standing. Opened in the early 1950s it was named for the most famous attraction the town had to offer--atomic bombs.

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Chicago isn’t only one of the most entertaining cities of the world, it’s one of the most historic. Now it might not have the roots that many cities on the East Coast do—Boston, Philly or New York—but its history is colorful and important.

Best known for its wilder years of prohibition, this is a great city to take a historic pub crawl in. And if you’re going to make a historic pub crawl in Chicago, you’ve got to hit the speakeasies. Here are three of the best historic speakeasies in all of Chicago.

3. The Green Door Tavern

img 0131Though the building dates from 1870 the real history started in 1921 when an Italian restaurant by the name of The Heron Orleans replaced the grocery store and when the owner passed it on to his kids they did like every entrepreneur of the time and opened a speak-easy downstairs. 

At some point in time, it is unclear if it was during prohibition or after, the name was changed to The Green Door Tavern, named after its green door and entrance.  At the time and during most of prohibition a green door represented a speak-easy and a place one could find alcohol and other illegal forms of entertainment such as gambling. 

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