early tavern sceneWhat was the first bar in America? That’s a tough one because so many records weren’t kept or were lost over time. However, there are a few things we do know.

We know that there was a brewery set up at the Jamestown Settlement in 1609 and that it was likely the first establishment created for making and serving alcohol of any kind—in this case beer. Breweries of the time—or brew houses as they were sometimes called—could often resemble what we might think of as a pub or café. In fact many pubs of the time served as small breweries.

Was this the case for Jamestown? Since no records exist we have no idea and can only guess.

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Okay, you've asked us, now we're letting you know. According to our research these are the five oldest bars in the world.

Before we begin though, let's start with a caveat: this is as far as we know! There may be some bar nobody has found somewhere tucked away in Greece or Italy that's been there longer, but we can't find it online! Nobody's written about it!

These, however, have been written about and publicized. So enjoy, what we've found are the oldest bars in the world (and please comment if you want to correct one of them).

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Some of the most historic or significant events in our country’s history took place in a bar. Hard to believe, I know, but just read on about all of the famous episodes that happened over a brew in a local watering hole.

10. George Washington Says Farewell to His Officers, Fraunces Tavern, New York City


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Schaller’s Pump, 1881-This bar in Chicago’s Bridgeport area has been serving straight since 1881, including during prohibition. In fact, during probibition you had to be screened through a peephole in the wall. Also during prohibition that place got the “Pump” part of its name when the next door brewery would pump beer directly in. The place has also been a longtime favorite by the Democratic party of Chicago—it’s a stone’s throw from the 11th Ward headquarters—and was the second office for a number of Chicago’s mayors. Photos of Schaller's Pump, Chicago
This photo of Schaller's Pump is courtesy of TripAdvisor
The Berghoff, 1889-The Berghoff was opened by Herman Berghoff to showcase his beer, which he sold for a nickel. They added café-style munchies as well—sandwiches and the like—but never strayed far from their original reason for opening. During prohibition The Berghoff was one of the few joints in town that reportedly went dry, staying open by converting to a full-scale restaurant and selling near-beer (which they still sell). After prohibition was over they were able to snag liquor license #1. The place has closed, reopened and re-imagined itself in recent years, but luckily they’ve been able to maintain the same address Add a comment

While exploring the bars of America for our book, Bucket List Bars, we certainly saw our fair share of beautiful counters to belly up to. Though all of them are worth drinking at, some had a little extra something worth highlighting.

So below find 10 of the bars we especially enjoyed drinking at.

1. Buckhorn Exchange, Denver, CO, founded in 1893 by a colorful Western Adventurer, the Buckhorn was a saloon first and foremost, though now it's mostly restaurant. The beautiful oak bar was carved for the family of the founder (Henry Zeitz) and shipped from Germany in the mid-1800's. It was then shipped over land by ox-cart and finally installed here when the place opened.


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