Vintage Images of American Taverns, Bars, and Saloons

Source: DusanBartolovic / iStock via Getty Images

Old photos of bars provide a unique glimpse into the past, showcasing the social and cultural norms of a bygone era and capturing changes in design, fashion, lifestyle, and even beverage preference. 

 To curate an album of images of bars, saloons, and taverns around America throughout the years, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the catalogs of Getty Images, Picryl, Wikimedia Commons, and the Library of Congress. Images selected were between the years of 1861 to 1979. (These are the oldest bars in America.)

These photos show how life in the United States has changed over the years. Some portray simple watering holes in rugged outpost towns on the American frontier, others show lavish establishments with well-dressed patrons and well-stocked bars. (Also check out photos from American life in the 19th century)

A few of these bars have managed to survive to this day but most have shut down or been transformed for another use. Certain parts of the country feature more prominently, with in New Orleans and New York, both places that are famous for their nightlife, appearing more than once. (These are the states with the most bars per person.)


These images show that while much has changed over the years, people still gather in bars to relax and socialize. 

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