Travelogues

You walk into the place and somehow just feel at home. It's a dive bar for sure -- stickers cover the wall behind the beer taps and bric-a-brac is everywhere -- but for some reason you can easily spend an entire day here.

The Waterfront Bar and Grill in San Diego has been making people feel this way since it opened in 1933.

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Sitting on Kettner Boulevard, in the popular Little Italy district, and surrounded by condos and restored buildings, it's clear that the bar has been here awhile (in fact it holds the city's oldest liquor license).

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Travelogues

It’s not much to look at. The structure actually leans a bit and most people would probably wonder if it was in danger of collapsing. The tin-metal roof is rusted and curling at the corners. The wreath on the front door is worn and dull.

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But take a breath, steel your nerves and walk through the door.

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Travelogues

76house-1We’re always asked, “what is the oldest bar in America?”

Those that are into bars might remark that it’s one of a handful around the country, like the Bell in Hand in Boston, or Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans. Both are wrong: the building housing Lafitte’s is from 1761, but there’s no proof the bar has always been there, and the Bell in Hand opened in the 1800’s using the name of a bar from 1795.

The oldest bar in America is actually just north of New York City in the small town of Tappan, New York and it’s called the Old ’76 House (sometimes just ’76 House).

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Travelogues

“Night time would find me at Rosa’s Cantina…”

This wonderfully metered line comes from the Marty Robbins’ classic Country-Western song, El Paso. The song, about a love struck cowboy who guns down another in a jealous rage, quickly carried Robbins from talented singer to superstar almost overnight. In 1959, the year of the song’s release, the United States was watching Gunsmoke, the Duke was starring in Rio Bravo, and Walt Disney had just given us the El Fego Baca mini-series. Clearly, the Old West was on our collective minds.

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