Throughout history, bars have been an essential place for people to come together in a relaxed setting to enjoy refreshing craft beers, cold beverages, and artisanal cocktails. Of course, all of that drinking and socializing can make one hungry, and this is where good old bar food comes in.
Bar food, the perfect accompaniment to any happy hour, is some of the tastiest, most comforting food out there, and we can understand why. From Knoxville’s duck confit fries to Seattle’s garlic burrata pull-apart bread, this list of some of the best bar food options throughout the States proves that bar food is so much more than just chips and peanuts. Have you been to your state’s top-pick?
And for more, check out these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
The trendy Paramount Bar is not only known for its old school arcade games, such as Mario Kart, Skeeball, and Pac Man, but also for its delicious bar food. Don’t expect run-of-the-mill fries or chicken wings if you come here, though—the bar food is made with a unique twist. Some must-try foods include the Alabama Hummus, which is a boiled peanut hummus made with smoked paprika and served with pita, and the blue cheese hot dog.
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Alaska is known for its tasty, high-quality fish, so it only makes sense that the bars integrate this into their food offerings. At Humpy’s Great Alaskan Alehouse, people love to order Halibut Fish and Chips, a heaping plate of fresh fish served with crisp fries, to enjoy along with a glass of cold brew.
If you find yourself in Phoenix, Arizona, try the Bavarian Pretzel with mustard or cheese sauce (or both) at The Kettle Black Kitchen and Pub. Served fresh and pillow-soft, this baked delicacy is one to write home about.
Cork and Keg, a corner pub in Fayetteville near the city’s cultural center, serves more than two dozen kinds of wine from the bar’s wine machine and has a dozen local beers on tap to choose from. Besides the alcohol and craft cocktails, people also can’t stop raving about the soft pretzels, which can be ordered with tasty sauces, such as sriracha.
Library Bar in Los Angeles, the cozy lounge that is known for its weekly programming and fantastic drinks, also has a bar food menu that will help take any happy hour to new heights. A fan favorite is the burger, which features white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, aioli, and dill pickle on a brioche bun. There are also Impossible patty melts available if you’re looking for a meatless option.
My Brother’s Bar, which is the oldest bar in Denver, Colorado, has some of the tastiest bar food around. Situated near the South Platte River, My Brother’s Bar is not only known for its drinks and mouth-watering burgers, but also for its fingerlickin’ good mini corn dogs, which are listed on the menu as Cornucopia.
Elm City Social has tons of amazing bar food options, such as the chicken sammie and kettle chip nachos, but one of the most raved-about menu highlights is the jerk chicken tacos. Made with jerk spices and piled high with cabbage slaw, bell pepper, and smoked aioli on a flour tortilla, this tasty dish keeps bar-goers coming back for more.
The Copper Dram in Greenville is a popular cocktail bar that serves a long list of classic and specialty drinks that are out of this world. Beyond the drink list, the bar is also known for its delicious bar food menu, which features tasty options such as lavash chip chicken nachos, hot ham and brie sandwiches, and bourbon apple cakes.
Barley brisket bacon sandwiches, jalapeño popper flatbread, gnarly house tacos… this is just a snippet of the long, mouthwatering list of bar food options at this buzzing Orlando mainstay. One of the most talked-about dishes, however, is the Snack Attack, a basket overflowing with warm kettle chips, melted blue cheese, and pico de gallo, and then topped with either black bean, shredded pork, chicken, or chipotle brisket.
If you’re looking for a place that offers a long list of beer, wine, and spirits, as well as delicious bar food, this is the place for you. A fan favorite on the bar menu is the Korean Fried Chicken, which Yelp reviewers have described as “phenomenal.”
If you’re in the mood for innovative bar food that will hit the spot, then Osoyami Bar and Grill in Honolulu is your go-to. The kimchi gyozas are a popular menu item that keeps people coming back time and time again.
The Bee’s Knees in Idaho Falls, which was started by two sisters about six years ago, offers a long list of delicious elevated pub food. One of the most talked-about menu items is the Shrimp Po’Boy, which features crispy shrimp slathered in homemade firecracker sauce and topped with parmesan cheese, chipotle mayo, tomatoes, cucumber, and mozzarella cheese.
The Little Bad Wolf, located in Chicago, is known for its impressive list of drinks, which features more than 100 kinds of beers and an extensive variety of whiskey, wines, and specialty cocktails. Besides the drink offerings, the bar is also known for its delicious bar food. A favorite on the menu is the Wolf Burger, which includes three meat patties prepared with bacon, American cheese, fried onion straws, homemade pickles, red onion mayonnaise, and a fried egg. A dream dish!
Gallery Pastry Bar in downtown Indianapolis serves not only a full list of spirits, drafts, and bottle beers, but also an array of tasty food that can be enjoyed during brunch, lunch, or dinner. One of the most in-demand dishes on the bar menu is the cinnamon crème brûlée French toast, which comes with a croissant twist, candied pecans, floral bee pollen lavender honey, and whipped cream. Order it with a side of fresh seasonal fruit and a mimosa.
Step back in time at The High Life Lounge in Des Moines, a popular locale that pays homage to the 1960s with its Formica bar top, vintage wallpaper, and old-school Miller beer signage. However, the bar’s style is not the only aspect giving a nod to yesteryear—the bar food menu features some food favorites of the ’60s and ’70s, such as deviled eggs, spam sandwiches, and meatloaf dinner. One of the bar’s visitors’ favorites, however, is the bacon-wrapped tater tots, which come complete with jalapeños, cheddar and jack cheese, and ranch dipping sauce.
If you are looking for the ultimate bar food, The Anchor in Wichita is the place to visit. The bar’s Burn Baby Burn dish, which is an open-faced burger piled high with fries, chili, queso, and jalapeños on jalapeño cornbread, keeps people coming back for more.
Hammerheads, the buzzy Louisville gastropub that also has patio dining, is a great place to go and enjoy a drink along with some classic bar food. A must-try is the pork belly tacos, which come served with jalapeño-lime mayo, pico de gallo, and cilantro, on soft corn tortillas.
The Avenue Pub, a craft beer and whiskey bar in New Orleans, has tons of different bar food options to choose from, including spicy pretzels; cottage chips and dip; and grape salsa. The most raved-about, however, is the Dump Truck Fries, which are made with hand-cut fries, homemade Bechamel sauce, and lemongrass pulled pork. Diners also have the option to add jalapeños and bacon.
The Thirsty Pig in Portland, Maine is known for its delicious hot dogs and homemade sausages that you can order in a ton of different ways. The menu changes daily, but some favorites include the Thai chili sausage, blueberry chicken sausage, Lithuanian kielbasa, and the Chicago dog.
With delicious drinks like blue lagoons and mango margaritas and a long list of scrumptious treats and snacks to go along with them, it is no wonder this popular Baltimore spot is called Happy Hour Heaven. The tasty bar menu options include comfort foods such as crabby tots, curry egg rolls, and spinach dip. A go-to is the baked honey jerk wings, which are finger-licking good.
The sprawling, rustic Bostonia Public House in Boston’s Financial District is housed in a building built in 1902 by famous architects Winslow and Bigelow. On its menu is an array of next-level bar food such as lobster rolls, sourdough grilled cheese, and tater tot poutine. Don’t leave without trying the sweet potato doughnuts, though; they are truly a menu highlight.
Butterfinger pancakes, Fruity Pebble French toast, chocolate chip pancakes… no, this isn’t a list of food straight out of a childhood dream, but instead the popular menu offerings at Honest John’s Bar and Grill in Detroit. An added bonus is that the restaurant serves breakfast all day long and has a jukebox for you to play some of your favorite old-school tunes.
A popular dish to order at The Red Cow is one that strays away from typical bar food options. For starters, it is a salad. But the Red Cow Salad, which is organic mixed greens tossed with crispy prosciutto, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, shaved parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette, is raved about—and once you’ve tried it, you’ll see why.
Pig and Pint, a beloved gastropub in Jackson, not only keeps customers coming back for more because of the refreshing drinks that include the local craft beer options, but also because of the delicious, award-winning food. A neighborhood favorite is the pork belly corn dogs.
The Peanut in Kansas City offers up some great bar food with a side of American history. The Peanut was founded in 1933 before the end of Prohibition and existed as a speakeasy in its early years. Today, it has two locations, one on Main Street and another downtown, and is known as one of Kansas City’s most popular bar and grill haunts. If you’re able to stop by, try the Buffalo chicken wings, which Yelp reviewers have described as “the best” they have ever had.
Bridge Brewing in Bozeman is a great place to stop in for a drink (or a few). One of the most talked-about bar food dishes is the bison pepperoni pizza, which features housemade ground bison pepperoni piled on top of melted mozzarella cheese and tangy marinara sauce.
Dinker’s, an old-school bar in Omaha, has been serving the community since the 1960s. The bar offers different lunch specials each week, but one of the most beloved dishes is the Haystack Burger, which is a juicy cheeseburger prepared with honey ham, onion rings, and a fried egg on top.
Bar Code Burger Bar is the family-owned bar, restaurant, and game lounge that is conveniently located right on the Las Vegas strip. Not only is it a great place to swing by to grab a pint and watch a game on one of the bar’s 20 screens, but it’s also the perfect spot to order some elevated bar food. A dish people love to snack on is the Bar Code chicken sandwich, which comes with grilled or buttermilk brined fried chicken, dill chips, shredded lettuce, and homemade Korean-inspired Bar Code sauce.
If you stop into New Hampshire’s Backyard Brewery, give the OG Prime Rib Egg Rolls a try. Stuffed with prime rib and cheese and served with sriracha ketchup, this is a bar food dish you will never forget.
Pilsener Haus and Biergarten has more than 20 premium draft options, more than 50 European and American craft beers, and even a selection of hard seltzers and kombucha. Besides an array of drinks, the bar also offers a full bar food menu with delectable dishes such as potato pancakes, BBQ pulled pork, and pretzel pudding. One favorite is a bratwurst, which is a traditional Hofbräu sausage made from pork, beef, and veal. Order it with a side of sourdough and fries if you’re really hungry.
Fire and Hops, an upscale Santa Fe pub, focuses on sustainability and supporting local farmers—not to mention, the restaurant has outstanding food and drinks. A favorite among many visitors is the salt and vinegar potatoes, which are perfect to enjoy with an order of Kalua pork tacos and a tall glass of marble red ale.
Bar Goto, a beloved Japanese bar on New York City’s Lower East Side, has some incredible bar food that will have you coming back for more. One of the most Yelp-reviewed dishes is the miso wings, which feature crispy chicken wings in spicy miso and covered in chives and sesame. Order it alongside some okonomiyaki and kombu celery.
The Cardinal Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina is known for its spirits and delicious hot dogs, which are served on New England buns. Make sure to order one (or a bunch) if you go—you will be happy you did.
JL Beers, a neighborhood favorite bar in Fargo, serves such good food that it has won awards! For instance, it has received “Best Burger” in the state of North Dakota for 11 years in a row, and we can see why. Patrons rave about the Humpty Dumpty burger, which comes with a fried egg and melted cheese on a burger patty. Add some ground peanut butter to give it an edge.
Arch City Tavern, situated in Columbus’ arts district, serves up delicious craft beers alongside fantastic, locally sourced food. One of the most beloved items on the menu is the lamb sliders, which are made using braised lamb shank, goat cheese, arugula, and chile oil prepared on a pretzel bun. These tasty mini burgers are available to order in a set of three and come with hand-cut truffle fries.
The Jones Assembly, the bar and restaurant that can be found on Oklahoma City’s Film Row, is the go-to place for live music, impressively made drinks, and upscale bar food. A must-try is the Nashville Chicken, a delicious dish made with spicy fried chicken with scratch biscuits, hot honey, habanero creamed corn, and bread and butter pickles.
Oregon’s Slow Bar in Portland serves one of the best burgers around, the Slowburger. Made with a half-pound of Allen Brothers Angus beef and topped with Gruyere cheese, onion rings, butter lettuce, pickle relish, and aioli, this burger is truly unforgettable.
If you’re a fan of beer and empanadas, the Good Dog Bar in Philadelphia may just become your go-to spot. Stuffed with tasty fillings, such as smoked pork, cotija cheese, corn, and scallions, these empanadas are a perfect accompaniment to any happy hour. We also love the bar’s Good Dogs Adoption Spotlight, which highlights dogs that are up for adoption to help them find their forever homes.
Brick Alley Pub and Restaurant, located in Newport, has been serving the community award-winning food and drinks for more than 40 years. One of the most-applauded menu items is the famous creamy Newport clam chowder, which Yelp reviewers have described as “fabulous” and “the best clam chowder” they have ever had.
Local Cue is a Greenville games and sports bar that’s a great place to grab a drink and play games including pool, Jenga, darts, and shuffleboard. It is also the perfect spot to enjoy some house-smoked barbecue, something the bar has become known for. Everything on the menu is delicious, but the smoked chicken wings consistently get glowing reviews.
The Independent Ale House in Rapid City has a long list of more than 50 beers on tap, along with bottled beers, wine, and delicious pizza. The pizza is handcrafted with refreshing ingredients such as sundried tomatoes, olives, and even garlic red mashed potatoes. One of visitors’ most favorite pies is the Three Little Pigs pizza, which is made using tomato sauce and a mouthwatering cheese blend, and then piled with pepperoni, sausage, and crispy bacon.
Made using rendered duck fat, topped with grated parmesan and scallions, and served with garlic aioli, the duck confit fries at Stock and Barrel is a welcome upscale twist on the usual bar fries. Even better? Stock and Barrel has a second location in Nashville.
Whiskey Cake and Kitchen in Plano serves up delectable farm-to-table food and drinks using slow-cooking techniques, such as a wood grill, a smoker, and a spit. The bar has a long list of scrumptious comfort food options, such as local goat cheese fondue and rotisserie chicken, but people cannot stop talking about the deviled eggs.
Purgatory Bar, the popular bar in Salt Lake City that has an industrial edge, serves up some incredible pork belly baos, which are prepared using pork belly, hoisin ginger glaze, crushed peanuts, cilantro, pickles, and chives. It is the perfect small plate to enjoy with a side of curry fries and spiked iced tea.
Mule Bar, which is right off of Main Street in Winooski, serves great food and drinks in an old-timey wood setting. One of the most-loved bar food items is the Mule SmashBurger, which comes with two four-ounce beef patties, both American and cheddar cheeses, shredded lettuce, white onions, and special sauce on a soft brioche bun.
Repeal Bourbons and Burgers in Virginia Beach has a menu that is out of this world. Tasty comfort foods like bourbon beer cheese and American nachos join more upscale bar noshes such as tempura fried mushrooms and Caprese with balsamic glaze. The must-have, though, is the Fire and Brimstone burger, which is a grilled patty layered with melted jack cheese, tabasco onion strings, fire-roasted habanero chutney, and a spicy sriracha aioli.
The cheekily named bar known for its warm social setting has a menu that will make your mouth water. Crab nachos and slow-roasted brisket sandwiches join other flavorful dishes such as free-range chicken wings and strawberry shortcake. The star, however, is the garlic pull-apart bread, which is made with burrata mozzarella, roasted garlic butter, olive oil, and sea salt. Yum!
Iron Horse Tavern’s bulgogi pulled pork tacos are beyond delicious. Featuring slow roasted Korean-style pulled pork, spicy kimchi slaw, and sliced onions on a corn tortilla, these tacos are sure to hit the spot.
The Swingin’ Door Exchange in Milwaukee is known for its wonderful drinks, delicious comfort food, and rustic saloon-style setup. One of the best dishes on the bar menu is the blackened chicken and avocado bacon sandwich, which is topped with cheddar cheese and mayo and served on a fresh sesame seed bun.
The Accomplice Brewery, which has two locations in Wyoming, is not only known for its refreshing craft beer but also for its tasty bar food menu, which features choices such as pretzels with beer cheese, crispy kettle chips, and chicken strips. However, one of the most talked-about dishes deviates away from typical bar food—perhaps surprisingly, it is a kale salad. This flavorful salad is made using kale pulled from the stalk, toasted almonds, dried cranberries, feta cheese, and Champagne vinaigrette.