America's Oldest Bars: California

A look at California's longest-living watering holes.
Inside the Elixir Saloon.

Darren Edwards

Inside the Elixir Saloon.

You belly up to the bar, put your hand on the old wood, or the worn metal, and order yourself a pint. It’s a place you may have never been, and an action that’s been done by many before you. There are names scratched into the wall. Scuffmarks on the floor. Nothing’s fancy. Nothing’s too too. The place, the drink, it’s all the way it should be and it’s going to continue that way for some time to come. Why? You’re in a nexus for drink, space and time. You’re visiting a classic, one of the oldest bars in the country.

This installment of our America's Oldest Bars Series features California. Substance-wise these days, California may immediately congure leafier images, but think about its port cities, the Gold Rush, its writers and actors, those still following the "Go West" motto, and the salty dogs washed up on its shores. Makes sense California would have some pretty old bars for all those characters. While not a definitive list, the following ten bars are some of California’s oldest. From Elixir in San Francisco to The Iron Door Saloon in Groveland, consider this a checklist for tippling in some of this state’s most time-honored joints.

Click here for America's Oldest Bars: California Slideshow.