I’m not sure I’ve ever felt pressure like this before. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve written my fair share of lists here at The Daily Meal, but picking the best bar in each state (and Washington, D.C., too)? That’s madness. Especially for someone who frequents bars as often I do.
Think about it for a second: Every state has hundreds or even thousands of bars (New York City, for example, has a couple thousand alone), and this doesn’t even include places that mainly serve food but also happen to have a bar. So how could we accurately pick the best one? The easy answer is that we can’t. Even doing the best dive bar or best sports bar is a challenge. After all, we can’t possibly visit every bar in existence for a proper comparison. Still, each state has its share of beloved watering holes. They might be among the oldest, the most historic, the most famous, or maybe they have a signature drink that causes people to flock to them — but regardless of the reason, they are special.
We rounded up these businesses and looked at the hype, the reviews, the stories, and used our own experiences and expertise to pick just one place to represent the whole state. It was a painstaking process, but we’re confident that all of the following bars are worthy of the title. Need more convincing? Head down to one of these bars, order a round, and ask for a regular to explain why their bar is the best. We apologize in advance if a line forms behind them.