Massachusetts: Silhouette Lounge
> City: Allston (Boston)
Patronized by what The Infatuation calls “a mix of both old-school regulars and college kids drinking ironically,” this local institution features cheap beer (PBR pitchers for $11), free popcorn, a pool table, and dart boards, among other attractions. One bartender has been described on Eater as being the best “in the city/country/universe,” while other reviewers complained about the rude and abusive waitresses and bouncers. Like all bars in Massachusetts, the Sil, as regulars call it, will remain closed until the state enters Phase 4 of its reopening program, which isn’t projected to occur until the development of a coronavirus vaccine.
Michigan: The Bronx Bar
> City: Detroit
Until she retired in late 2018 after 42 years on the job, the big draw here was curmudgeonly daytime bartender Charleen Dexter, who remembers when beer was 15 cents a glass at this midtown standby. You can still get a brew for $2 here, and the burgers, fries, and fried pickle spears get good reviews. Critics complain about lousy service and too-loud music, but it has also been called “a fun, gritty place.” Michigan bars were closed for Indoor bar service in July, but the state’s Department of Health and Human Services permitted them to reopen in early October.
Minnesota: Palmer’s Bar
> City: Minneapolis
This music club-cum-dive bar dates its origins to 1906, and has operated under various names and owners ever since — becoming Palmer’s Bar in 1950. Strong drinks, cheap beer, and an outdoor area are among the attractions. According to the bar’s website, Palmer’s has been described as “a church for down and outers and those who romanticize them, a rare place where high and low rub elbows — bums and poets, thieves and slumming celebrities.” As one Yelper put it, “You might meet your new best friend here. You might also get stabbed. Kidding. Sort of.”
Mississippi: Gil’s Fish Camp Bayou Bar
> City: Ocean Springs
This “laid back beach-hut bar with cheap booze, tasty crawfish, and a splendid waterfront view” (according to The Daily Meal) has cabins attached, in case you dive a little too deep. The beer is ice cold (“damn near frozen”), the atmosphere is great, and the bartender is “usually entertaining,” say Yelp reviewers. In a thank-you note to its customers posted on Facebook on Oct. 12, Gil’s promised that “Soon as restrictions ease a little more we will have a 10th anniversary party for y’all!” (Bar capacity and operating hours are currently limited in the state.)
Missouri: Silverleaf Lounge
> City: St. Louis
“The standard by which all other neighborhood bars should be judged,” according to St. Louis’s Riverfront Times. “Patriotic relics line the walls,” the Times continues, “and a collection of regulars are a fixture at the bar, trading jokes and jibes with the bartender while a jukebox cranks out soul and oldies that harken back to the time music was actually good.” The Silverleaf is cash only, but prices are low. “[T]he only way you can enjoy a cheaper drink is to drink at home,” noted one Yelper.