To be considered for the list of the oldest bar in every state, the establishment has to have been in the same location from the time it started serving alcohol, although continuous operation was not required. These places sometimes changed hands and name, but patrons today can stand in a place where alcohol was served centuries ago.
Determining a founding date for these establishments was rarely easy and often depended on the claims of the establishments themselves. Whenever possible, we consulted local experts, state historical societies, and more. In each bar’s description, the date listed is when we believe the establishment first served liquor on its premises.