Spread out across the United States are some of the oldest bars in the country. Some of these establishments are more than 200 years old. Incredibly, many of these buildings retain much of their physical and scholarly history and remain in operation.
They hail from most of the original thirteen states, but also other important historical areas, like the nation’s capital.
When you visit these locations, you’ll be able to soak in their past and also enjoy some terrific meals. I can say that I enjoyed both my time sightseeing and had some memorable dishes that I will always remember fondly.
If you’re looking for an incredible night out with the opportunity to sit in the same room as important historical figures like George Washington, I highly recommend these historic bars.
Oldest Bars & Taverns in America
Let’s take a look at some of the oldest bars in America.
White Horse Tavern (1673)
26 Marlborough St, Newport, RI 02840, United States
The White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, is a historic restaurant operating since 1673.
It’s the oldest operating restaurant in the United States and one of the world’s oldest restaurants.
Interestingly, the original use of the building was as a residence that turned into a tavern 20 years later. It also served as a meeting place for the Colony’s General Assembly.
Today, the restaurant is famous for its artisan cheese, cuts of beef, and local fish dishes. I enjoyed exploring the menu and trying out multiple appetizers at the White Horse.
The restaurant’s team prides itself on the fresh, culinary experience it offers in an incredibly historical setting.
Red Fox Tavern (1728)
2 E Washington St, Middleburg, VA 20117, United States
Red Fox Tavern in Virginia is a historic building in Middleburg village.
It offers a memorable dining experience in a luxurious 18th-century setting.
The bar has been run by the Reuter family for three generations and has seen innumerable guests of historical and contemporary importance, including politicians and celebrities.
One of my favorite facts is that famously, President Kennedy held a press conference in the upper tavern.
When Joseph Chin built the tavern in 1728, he intended to have it be the halfway point between Alexandria and Winchester, a frontier town.
Red Fox Tavern also hosts social and corporate events and operates as an inn.
Logan Inn (1727)
10 W Ferry St, New Hope, PA 18938, United States
The Logan Inn in New Hope, Pennsylvania, dates back to 1727. It started as a tavern and today has 16 rooms for guests.
The inn is on the National Register of Historic Places and has two restaurants. They are Nikolas and Logan Terrace.
The latter serves casual food, like seafood and meat dishes, and Nikolas is well-regarded for its Mediterranean food.
The food, accommodation, and historical setting are all draws for visitors. Of the two, I preferred Nikolas for its slightly different menu options.
Additionally, the inn has a long history of ghost sightings that have also inspired fans of the paranormal to visit.
Fraunces Tavern (1762)
54 Pearl St, New York, NY 10004, United States
Frances Tavern is New York’s oldest bar and restaurant. It’s a National Landmark steeped in history. The Founding Fathers of the United States visited the tavern.
In 1783, the most important event in the tavern’s history occurred when George Wahington met officers and thanked them for their service after the British left America during the Revolutionary War.
The tavern has two different bars, the Hideout Bar and the Independence Bar.
The former is a gin and cocktail bar which I preferred, and the latter is better-known for serving craft beer, cocktails, wine, and whisky.
Old Yarmouth Inn (1696)
223 MA-6A, Yarmouth Port, MA 02675, United States
The Old Yarmouth Inn in Cape Cod is one of the oldest bars in the United States.
It has operated since 1696. Today it offers classic American food with an upscale twist.
The restaurant’s internationally trained chefs create memorable dishes served within the walls of a truly historic building.
The menu offers classic drinks and an expansive wine menu, as well are a selection of contemporary drinks like the Mermaid Water and the Cape Code Mule.
The former is a must-try! The restaurant also offers three-course meals and a full a la carte menu.
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (1716)
72 Wayside Inn Rd, Sudbury, MA 01776, United States
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is a historic bar, inn, and restaurant.
The building began as a two-room family home and is now the oldest inn currently operating in the United States.
The inn sits on a 100-acre property and serves New England cuisine, like oysters, shrimp, bluefish, and much more.
It’s the perfect setting for intimate dinners and large gatherings. The inn also puts on events and activities on the building and land’s history.
I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the area’s long and interesting history while also sipping on a refreshing drink!
Robert Morris Inn (1710)
314 N Morris St, Oxford, MD 21654, United States
The Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, MD has been operating since 1710. It’s been as an inn since 1800. It has 310 rooms, some of which hosted America’s Founding Fathers.
The inn offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner and is a great setting for outdoor and indoor gatherings.
The team at the Robert Morris Inn prides themselves on their modern British cooking approach that is combined with local cuisine.
While British cuisine isn’t always at the top of everyone’s list, the Robert Morris Inn made me rethink everything I know about it!
Visit the Robert Morris Inn if you’re in the area and enjoy some delicious bangers and mash.
Bell in Hand Tavern (1795)
45 Union St, Boston, MA 02108, United States
Bell in Hand Tavern, known as The Tavern, has been operating since 1795.
The tavern’s first owner was Jimmy Wilson, the town crier, and during his ownership, the tavern’s popularity boomed.
Today, the owners celebrate his legacy by maintaining a festive atmosphere, live music performances, weekend DJs, and more.
The menu is filled with delicious local foods, like raw oysters and crispy calamari. I loved the calamari.
Some of the favorites that visitors love to try are the tavern’s hot lobster roll, crab cakes, and lobster BLT.
Their meal offerings, in combination with the expansive drinks menu, make this historic tavern a must-visit.
Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (1775)
941 Bourbon St, New Orleans, LA 70116, United States
Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon St. in New Orleans has been a must-visit in the city since 1723. During its tenure as a bar, the building escaped two devastating fires.
The bar is popular with locals and tourists alike and is one of a few buildings on this list that’s reputed to be haunted.
I loved its historic feel, emphasized through its dimly lit interior and simple offerings.
Despite its small size, the bar has a great food and drinks menu. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear a local pianist whose been working at the bar for decades.
Blue Bell Inn (1743)
601 W Skippack Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422, United States
The Blue Bell Inn began operating in 1743. At the time, it was known as the White House and offered to lodge to travelers.
In 1777, during the American Revolution, George Washington spent time at the Inn.
In more recent times, the Blue Bell Inn has become a family-favorite restaurant and is now a high-class restaurant and bar offering a variety of meal options and drinks.
Choose from a large wine and beer menu and lunch, dinner, brunch, and breakfast menus.
Whether you’re a more adventurous eater or one who wants to stick to the classics, like me, the Blue Bell Inn has it all, including sandwiches, salads, and soups.
Jessop’s Tavern (1724)
114 Delaware St, New Castle, DE 19720, United States
Jessop’s Tavern in Delaware brands itself as a colonial tavern where guests can enjoy the finest beer and wine.
The employees wear period clothing to maintain the feeling that visitors have gone back in time.
But the menu and drinks selection are anything but old-fashioned.
The Tavern carries over 200 Belgian beers and has won awards for its vast selection. The building dates back to 1674 and became a tavern years later.
It has had several names, including Captain’s Log Restaurant and The Green Frog Tavern.
I thought it was incredibly interesting how the menu has Dutch, Belgian, Swedish, and English influences. You can see each influence when you look through the offerings!
640 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444, United States
Brittingham’s has operated since 1743 as a tavern, inn, dance hall, pub, and restaurant.
In the 1800s, it gained fame as the Farmers and Drovers Hotel and operated as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
They offer lunch, dinner, and drinks and maintain separate menus for each. On their lunch and dinner menu, you can choose from options like wings, nachos, pork pot stickers, eggrolls, soups, burgers, bowls, fish, and more.
Their expansive selection of drinks includes wine, beer, and cocktails. I enjoyed exploring their cocktail menu, as it’s a pleasure to discover.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1860)
1310 Drury St, Philadelphia, PA 19107, United States
McGillin’s Olde Ale House in Philadelphia has operated since 1860. It is one of the oldest taverns in the country. The bar offers thirty beers on draft and serves a large variety of regional microbrews.
It also serves O’Hara’s Irish Stout, the only stout brewed only in Ireland which was exciting to try.
Their house specials include seafood cake, crispy chicken, fish and chips, and more.
They also host special events and discounts on holidays, which are my favorite times to visit.
Molly’s Shebeen Pub and Restaurant (1895)
287 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010, United States
Molly Shebeen Pub and Restaurant in New York is a purveyor of delicious shepherd’s pie at affordable prices. It’s a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Branded as the “most authentic Irish bar in New York City,” Molly’s Shebeen Pub and Restaurant serve a variety of drinks as well as lunch, brunch, and dinner.
They also have a special late-night menu that offers bar classics like mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, and wings.
The lunch and dinner menus are longer, including items like veggie burgers, grilled cheese, calamari, salads, pot pies, and chicken curries.
The chicken curries are really good, so you can’t go wrong with ordering one.
McSorley’s Old Ale House (1854)
15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003, United States
McSorely’s Old Ale House in New York is one of the oldest bars in the United States.
It began as a working man’s saloon and became mainstream in the mid-1900s. Since, it has seen presidents, celebrities, and more come through its doors.
Their motto “Be good or be gone” is seen on display in the bar as well as on their merchandise, which I couldn’t help but get some!
Famously, the bar only served McSorely’s ale during its 164-year history. Today, that same ale is available for purchase in the bar and online. It’s also served in bars around the country.
Napoleon House (1797)
500 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, United States
The Napoleon House in New Orleans has operated for nearly two centuries. It is named for a plot devised by the original owner to house the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte.
The main menu includes everything from Boudin sausage to gumbo, grilled alligator sausage, and fried shrimp. They also offer a culinary menu and cocktail menu.
The latter includes everything you could want in a beautiful, historical setting like the Napolean House.
While some of their menu items are quite expensive, I did manage to find some more affordable options as well.
Overall, I loved this location and would recommend both the ambiance and the food to anyone.
New Boston Inn (1737)
101 N Main St, Sandisfield, MA 01255, United States
The New Boston Inn is the oldest inn in Berkshire County. It began serving guests in 1737 and still operates today as a tavern, restaurant, and inn.
The historic rooms, like the Gentleman’s Parlor, are furnished with period decor.
The 1737 Colonial Pub serves an array of alcoholic drinks, including a large wine menu, for visitors to explore.
The New Boston Inn serves a broad menu, including a variety of meat and seafood dishes, wraps, pasta, and more.
The inn also hosts weekend specials and events, like regular lobster bakes which help you get a sense of the area!
I’m especially fond of the seafood dishes because I have a soft spot for lobster and I can’t have enough of it whenever I visit.
Old Ebbitt Grill (1856)
675 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, United States
Operating since 1866, the Old Ebbitt Grill serves food seven days a week. Their menu has delicious starters and entrees, from crab cakes to meatballs and house-made pasta.
The grill operates as the oldest saloon in Washington, D.C. The original owner initially bought it as a boarding house where numerous famous historic guests stayed throughout the building’s history, including Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The current owners acquired the building in 1970.
When you’re in D.C., make sure to visit this establishment and enjoy the great crab cakes that everyone in the region loves.
Reynolds Tavern (1747)
7 Church Cir, Annapolis, MD 21401, United States
The famous Reynolds Tavern is a well-loved historic bar and tavern in Annapolis.
It serves traditional English afternoon tea and lunch daily in its large, beautiful dining rooms.
The Tavern also operates a beer garden that’s open seven days a week. The Tavern has distinct levels, the Pub in the Cellar, also known as the 1747 Pub, the first-floor tea rooms, and the second-floor hotel rooms.
The restaurant serves sandwiches, wraps, appetizers, salads, cocktails, wine, beer, and more. I feel like you could go to the tavern every day and never run out of things to try!
Oldest Bars & Taverns in America
- White Horse Tavern (1673)
- Red Fox Tavern (1728)
- Logan Inn: (1727)
- Fraunces Tavern (1762)
- Old Yarmouth Inn (1696)
- Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (1716)
- Robert Morris Inn (1710)
- Bell in Hand Tavern (1795)
- Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (1775)
- Blue Bell Inn (1743)
- Jessop’s Tavern (1724)
- Brittingham’s (1743)
- McGillin’s Olde Ale House (1860)
- Molly’s Shebeen Pub and Restaurant (1895)
- McSorley’s Old Ale House (1854)
- Napoleon House (1797)
- New Boston Inn (1737)
- Old Ebbitt Grill (1856)
- Reynolds Tavern (1747)
Although it’s a relatively young country, the United States has incredible historic buildings, many of which are bars and inns, and some of which are still in operation today.
The oldest bars in America spread out across the Northeastern and Southern parts of the United States and offer incredibly unique experiences for visitors.
When you’re in the area, take advantage of the historical flair of these buildings and visit them. Usually, you’ll be able to learn a lot about the history of the place and enjoy a meal that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
No matter if you’re looking for classic American cuisine or are looking to try something a little out of the box, like alligator sausage, the bars on this list are sure to provide a unique experience and insight into the United States as it was 200+ years ago.
Check out some of the US’s oldest restaurants for more historic establishments!
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