Believe it or not, there really are hundreds of original, fun bars right in your own backyard. That’s why I put together this list of the top 24 most unique bars in America. Check out this list of themed bars and dives throughout the country.
The Tunnel Bar — Northampton, MA
125 Pleasant St, Northampton, MA | Website
The Tunnel Bar is an elegant and sophisticated lounge known for its decor and its extensive and eclectic oversized martinis. It really is a bar within an old tunnel. Something to note is that the stone and brickwork is all original, built in 1896 when travelers used the tunnel to board trains for far-off destinations.
The Carousel Bar & Lounge — New Orleans, LA
214 Royal St, New Orleans, LA | Website
Please Don’t Tell — New York City, NY
113 St Marks Pl, New York, NY | Website
Please Don’t Tell is a better kept secret in more ways than one. To get to this bar, you actually have to call the day of to get reservations, then make your way to Crif Dogs, wherein lies a secretive, old telephone booth. Call, enter in, and you’ve found Please Don’t Tell!
Minus5 Ice Bar — Las Vegas, NV
3950 S Las Vegas Blvd, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, NV | Website
Everything inside minus5° is made of ice– the walls, chandeliers, seats and even the glasses that you drink from. minus5° is always creating new ice sculptures to continuously reinvent the experience throughout the year. As soon as you walk in, your layered up with gloves, a parka or coat, and then transported into a winter wonderland of interactive ice architecture while sipping the coolest beverages.
The Way Station — Brooklyn, NY
683 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY | Facebook
The Way Station is a fun saloon in Brooklyn with the theme of Doctor Who. It features a Tardis bathroom, live music, burlesque, karaoke, and now, on Sundays and Mondays, they also play movies! Complete with recliners, The Way Station is a must-see in Brooklyn.
Seacrets — Ocean City, MD
117 49th St, Ocean City, MD | Website
Seacreats is a beach front bar complete with a raw bar, beach, tiki bar, live music stage, night club, restaurant and actual floating loungers in the bay, where people relax and sip the day away. The whole theme of Seacreats is bringing Jamaica to Maryland, and they’ve done a great job.
The Unicorn Bar — Seattle, WA
1118 E Pike St, Seattle, WA | Website
This bar is just as crazy as it sounds. Located on Capitol Hill, Seattle, the Unicorn bar features an arcade, claw machine, & photo booth, alongside special carnival food and whimsical cocktails. Weekly events include Mimosas Cabaret, Gayme Night, live shows, karaoke, trivia and more.
Manifesto — Kansas City, MO
1924 Main St, Kansas City, MO | Website
Manifesto is a small, intimate cocktail lounge that opened on April 10, 2009. This cozy bar is located in the basement of The Rieger, originally a hotel that was built in 1915. It was operated as a “Speakeasy” during Prohibition, and was frequented by the likes of Tom Pendergast and Al Capone. I don’t know about you, but this bar has me feeling like I’m back in the roaring 20’s!
Whitechapel — San Francisco, CA
600 Polk St, San Francisco, CA | Website
Whitechapel is a cocktail lounge focused especially on gin, featuring the largest gin selection in North America, and a carefully chosen cocktail menu that celebrates the history and traditions of this amazing spirit. Here you can relax, enjoy some food and drink, and be transported back in time to the Victorian-era where gin was magic. The ambiance matches perfectly, where you sit beneath the streets of London and its many rail lines.
Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco, CA
650 Gough St, San Francisco, CA | Website
Sharing a co-owner with Whitechapel, Smuggler’s Cove is a bar highlighting the beloved spirit of rum. Smuggler’s Cove offers guests an innovative new approach to rum by featuring the largest rum selection in the United States, and cocktails from over three centuries of rum history. The stunning interior features vintage tiki artifacts alongside historic nautical and rum décor, and provides a lovely escape from the busy city. Here, you’ll never have to ask “why is the rum gone?”
Cure — New Orleans, LA
4905 Freret St, New Orleans, LA | Website
The Cure is a firehouse-turned-stylish-cocktail-lounge with creative drinks & eclectic array of dishes. Only have been open for a few years, the Cure has already racked up over 20 awards for food and cocktails.
Beatnik Bob’s — St. Louis, MO
750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO | Website
Beatnik Bob’s is located in the City Museum in St. Louis, which features everything from a 10-foot slide, adult-sized hamster tunnels, to old airplanes and climbing trees. The bar itself is everything Beat-era themed, including eclectic beat generation memorabilia, posters and the like. The best part is is you can play both kid and adult here. You can’t go wrong!
Williams & Graham — Denver, CO
3160 Tejon St, Denver, CO | Website
Tiki-Ti — Los Angeles, CA
4427 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA | Website
Having been in operation for over 50 years, Tiki-Ti is almost like stepping back in time. The bar is small — only 12 stools, with a handful of tables against the walls — but what it lacks in physical size it makes up for in menu size. There are 94 Tropical Drinks on offer, most of which simply can’t be found anywhere else. Started at the beginning of the tropical drink phase, Tiki-Ti has mastered the art of exotic cocktails.
Safe House — Milwaukee, WI
779 N Front St, Milwaukee, WI | Website
The SafeHouse is Milwaukee’s iconic spy themed restaurant and night spot, providing cover to the world’s undercover elite for 50 years. Home to the world’s largest mechanical puzzle and a world of international sectors and Cold War artifacts, the SafeHouse is fun for adults and kids alike! Safe House provides lunch and dinner, featuring incredible edibles and crafty cocktails. Ready to accept your mission? See you at the SafeHouse!
Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon — Austin, TX
5434 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX | Website
For more than four decades, The Little Longhorn Saloon has served as the center of Austin’s honky-tonk country music scene for it’s great live music and world famous Chicken Shit Bingo! What happens inside is considered honky-tonk gospel and Austin’s most bonafide country acts such as James Hand, Alvin Crow, James Intveld, Weldon Henson, Mike Stinson, The Derailers, Two Hoots and a Holler, Fingerpistol, Alan Haynes, Dallas Moore and numerous other great bands. Check out the calendar for upcoming shows- always great music, dancers and never a cover!
Grand Trunk Pub — Detroit, MI
612 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI | Website
The Grand Trunk Pub combines several great passions: Detroit Community, Food and Architecture. Fortunately, this combination has allowed the Grand Trunk Pub to grow without turning into a corporate machine. If you are looking for a place that has been serving up True Detroit Pride and Grit – you have found it. This bar dwells within a converted 1900s-era railway station featuring high ceilings, chandeliers, 170+ craft beers and eclectic eats.
Camp — Brooklyn, NY
179 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY | Website
Camp brings Brooklyn urbanites a little taste of the country. Relive summer memories while making your own s’mores, escape from the cold by cozying up to our fireplace, bag a deer on Big Buck Hunter, and grab some friends for a classic board game competition. All while listening to hand-picked indie rock. Welcome to Camp.
Noir Lounge — San Francisco, CA
581 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA | Website
This one just might be my favorite! Noir Lounge is a swanky wine bar & brewpub with a vintage jazz-era vibe, screening old films throughout. The menu features Americana-revival food and whimsical film fare complemented by a choice classic cocktails, wines and craft beers from around the world. In addition, there are 12 beers available on draft.
Dive Bar — Sacramento, CA
1016 K St, Sacramento, CA | Website
Step off the streets of Sacramento and into the tranquil ambiance of Dive Bar. In direct contrast to its name, Dive Bar is a haven of cool and class in the middle of one of the nation’s most eclectic cities. Dive Bar’s approachability and charm are dedicated to vintage good times. The huge aquarium above the bar has a beautiful live mermaid or merman making an occasional appearance, a dramatic example of a play on words.
Local Edition — San Francisco, CA
691 Market St, San Francisco, CA | Website
Beneath Market St., in the depths of the historical Hearst building lies the subterranean cocktail bar known as Local Edition. Inspired by the newspaper business of the 50’s and 60’s, you will find a sophisticated décor juxtaposed by vintage paper presses and clippings from the archives of San Francisco’s past. Local Edition’s cocktail menu includes both the contemporary and the classic with a strong nod to the drinking habits of a not-so-distant era.
The Avenue Pub — New Orleans, LA
1732 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA | Website
The Avenue Pub is located in the historic Lower Garden District of New Orleans – a short streetcar ride from the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Built circa 1845, this old-world bar is complete with fireplaces, tin ceilings and a balcony for whenever you’re anxious to catch a glimpse of the beautiful history of New Orleans.
The Mean Eyed Cat — Austin, TX
1621 W 5th St, Austin, TX | Website
Set away, yet close, to the activities of downtown Austin, The Mean Eyed Cat is unabashedly what Texas’ capital city is all about, and has been a staple of local life ever since 2004. Featuring an excellent draft selection of local and craft beers, in addition to a full bar and creative cocktail list, patrons enjoy the interior rooms – a homage to the great Johnny Cash – and the open wooden patio, which is sheltered under an immense, 300+ year old Texas Live Oak. Stubb’s world famous Texas BBQ is available, with an assortment of delicious sides.
The Alley — Oakland, CA
3325 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA | Website
The Alley is one of the last remaining piano bars in Oakland, California, where famed Rod Dibble still plays nightly, as he has since he was six years old in 1938. On the interior, it is made to look like a “drunken Walt Disney” design. This 1920s-style saloon will be a blast in from the past for you and all your friends!
This short list of 24 bars was only a small dent in the greater list of unique bars in America. We hope this list comes in handy next time you find yourself in one of these exciting cities!