Best Beer Bars in America, Chosen by CraftBeer.com Readers
With more than 5,000 small and independent craft breweries operating in the U.S., there are more options than ever when it comes to enjoying great beer.
As a beer lover, you know what sets apart an average bar from a great craft beer bar, and that’s why we turned to you to help us come up with the list. More than 7,000 people responded to our survey which asked you to choose the best beer bar in your state. Below is the list of the winners. Use the drop-down menu, above, to choose a specific state.
Methodology: CraftBeer.com readers were asked to nominate their favorite craft beer bar in their state and fill out a short survey about what makes it so great including atmosphere, staff, beer selection and special events. Craft beer fans cast over 7,000 votes between November and December 2016.
Old Town Beer Exchange
OTBX was the first on-premise/off-premise craft beer store in Downtown Huntsville, Alabama. The entire store was created with the town in mind. The interior of the store features tables, chairs and shelves all sourced from the surrounding area. The bar is made out of 180-year-old heart pine that came from a barn just 15 miles away and it sits on top of bricks that came from the local Coca-Cola bottling plant that was downtown for over 50 years (it was demolished just prior to the bar’s opening). OTBX was the first in Alabama to feature the DigitalPour digital menu boards and also the Oskar Blues patented Crowler machine.
Should you find yourself in Anchorage, in need of a place that knows their beer, head to Cafe Amsterdam. There, owner Ken Pajak can keep you engaged with plenty of beer conversation and a tremendous beer selection. Keep an eye out when the team at Cafe Amsterdam taps something special from yesteryear, like Alaskan Smoked Porter 2012, Sierra Nevada Bourbon Barrel aged Narwhal of 2015, and Midnight Sun Berserker on Nitro from 2014, all which have been on recently.
Tucson Hop Shop
Tucson Hop Shop is North Tucson’s premier craft beer bottle shop, growler-fill station, beer garden, and purveyor of artisanal beer-making kits. “Our patrons love to drink local. So much so that is can be difficult to keep the local breweries on tap,” says co-owner, David Zugerman. “Whenever we have an IPA from Pueblo Vida people only seem to focus on that beer. The German Chocolate Noche Dulce from Borderlands is a serious crowd favorite as well.”
Core Public House – Springdale
The Crafty Fox Ale House
San Francisco, California
- Bottles/Cans: Small rotation of Bay Area sourced canned or bottled beers only. Number varies from week to week depending on availability
- Draught: 36
If you’re visiting San Francisco, you’ll find the Crafty Fox Ale House will give you a warm local vibe. It’s a friendly neighborhood tavern that focuses on constantly rotating tap selections from the hopping Bay Area craft beer scene. They also seek out rare releases and hard-to-find beers from around the country. The staff puts special emphasis on providing tips on beer and food pairings.
Samples World Bistro
Bars need not be dark, nor are they relegated to simply pub fare. The owners of Samples World Bistro want to elevate your beer bar experience with great pairing too. “A classic altbier paired with our house-made bacon and goat cheese flatbread is fantastic,” explains owner and beer industry veteran Mark Sample. “We have 28 awesome pairings, and those are just the ones we like. The possibilities are endless!”
Willimantic Brewing Company
Picture yourself having Willimantic Certified Gold, gazing at the brewery’s 60-foot hand-built mahogany bar within the granite and limestone former U.S. Post Office Building from 1909. Or you could actually do that by visiting the brewery. Willimantic always seems to rank high on this list because of the staff, the atmosphere and of course the beer.
As a beer lover, walk into ChurchKey and you’ll notice their attention to detail, from beer quality to service. You can thank a meticulous cleaning regimen for their taps, three unique temperature controls for service of beer, a large glassware selection and in-depth staff training. This, coupled with a constantly rotating selections and rare releases, makes ChurchKey a unique experience for beer lovers.
Two Stones Pub
Two Stones Pub is known for its Smokehouse Brunch, which brings together the dream team of meat and craft beer. One of the bar’s most popular features is the 6-foot-tall concrete Buddha smack dab in the middle of the place — it’s there to oversee their “Beer Temple.”
Within the Mighty’s blood-red building nestled on Miami’s historic Coral Way, they’ve created a contemporary take on the classic neighborhood bar and eatery. They took their scratch-made motto past the kitchen and even handmade all of our tables from local salvaged lumber. Besides boasting an extensive list of saisons, sours and Belgian-style beers, the Mighty boasts house-made sausages, offers rare keg tappings, serves upgraded bar fare and hosts a yearly event on December 5th, celebrating the repeal of Prohibition.
The Porter Beer Bar
The Porter Beer Bar, located in Atlanta’s funky Little Five Points neighborhood, is a place where you’ll lose track of time in the best way possible. The 50 beers on draught are an ever-changing mix representing the best beer from Georgia, the U.S. and around the world. If you want to really geek out, dive into the deep vintage list and take your palate for a ride. ProTip: Order the Salt and Vinegar Popcorn. You won’t regret it.
Real: A Gastro Pub
Real has a relaxing atmosphere throughout the main floor. Upstairs there’s a seating area for 45 that can be used for beer dinners, tastings or private events, and a dog-friendly lanai for 25. They say tourists frequently tell them that REAL reminds them of their hometown beer bar, and they love the atmosphere, music and ambiance.
PreFunk Beer Bar
Our readers’ Idaho selection can be found in Boise, where a close proximity to the Pacific Northwest’s best breweries helps Prefunk Beer Bar bring in beer variants and infusions that are not easy to find. “We pride ourselves on having the best selection of fresh and barrel-aged beer in Idaho,” Prefunk owner, Justin Flynn, tells us. Despite the treasure trove of beers available to Prefunk from the Pac NW, the bar likes to keep it local, catering to the town with 40 beers on tap, always open to four-legged friends and zero TVs makes PreFunk the perfect place to hang out while in Boise.
Links Taproom in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood puts a modern twist on the traditional beer hall. For one, you never have to guess if the beer you’re eyeing is on tap because TV screens display a comprehensive live beer list (including how much of the keg is left). Links also throws a heck of a Halloween party, changing its theme every year.
Evil Czech Brewery & Public House
Open since 2011, Evil Czech Brewery & Public House’s motto is, “Life is too short to drink bad beer, but there’s always time for Evil Beer!” Locals love their beer, their Lightnin’ Lunch and Hangover Brunch buffet — and don’t miss the double decker bus food truck on the patio.
el Bait Shop
Des Moines, Iowa
El Bait Shop has been bringing a downright huge selection of beer to Iowa since 2006. You’ll find more than 100 bottles and cans as well as 220+ taps. They also host three signature can’t-miss events: Bourbon Barrel Beer Brunch in February, Funk’d in August and the Little Giant Beer Summit.
Tallgrass Tap House
Tallgrass was built inside what was once a JoAnn Fabric store. All of the table tops and booths are fashioned out of the wooden floor joists that were uncovered when the old ceiling was torn out. You’ll see the beautiful, thick slabs of wood that preserve a part of the existing structure of a historical building. Tallgrass offers a rotating lineup of a half-dozen brews exclusive to the brewpub, which also acts as a test kitchen for the main brewery.
White Squirrel Brewery
Bowling Green, Kentucky
The Avenue Pub
New Orleans, Louisiana
Avenue Pub is well-known for their sour beer collection — they almost always have sours on tap, and their bottle collection is geared toward sour and aged beers. Avenue Pub believes very strongly in serving beer fresh, so you’ll see a “kegged on” date on the menu. They also constantly rotate the taps, so you’ll find new beers almost every time you visit.
Novare Res Bier Cafe
Novare Res Bier Cafe in Portland, Maine, has many special events with breweries in the U.S. and around the world, including Cantillon Zwanze Day, Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel Day and many other friends. They also hold an annual “Where The Wild Biers Are” event during Portland Beer Week, which is 33+ wild kegs, foraged foods and game meats.
Max’s Taphouse is known for its extremely fresh, rotating draughts and extensive bottled and canned beer list. Max’s Taphouse is also known world-wide for its Belgian Beer Festival, which occurs annually on Presidents Day Weekend, followed on Monday by their Sour Beer Festival. During the Belgian Beer Festival, every draught line is a different Belgian beer. Many of the Belgian brewers produce a special beer for the festival that is not available anywhere else in the U.S.
Armsby Abbey features a one of a kind custom built bar, draught tower, chalkboards and reclaimed drink rails. Every aspect of the bar was carefully curated for the space by local artisans. Their most popular event of the year is Stoutest, an annual weekend in April which kicks off on Saturday morning with a three-course stout inspired breakfast, followed by 22 of the worlds best stouts tapped at noon — then on Sunday, they tap even more stout rarities for a stout inspired brunch.
Brown Iron Brewhouse
Washington Twp, Michigan
Need that perfect bar, Cheers-like feel? “We try to know our customers by name and they really are like family,” says Patti Eisenbraun. “They are our guests and we want them to have the best experience possible with hand crafted food and great beer.” Brown Iron pairs their hospitality, educated staff and 70 draught beers to knock anything that garden-level bar in Boston could contend with.
North Mankato, Minnesota
Mankato Brewery started producing beers in 2012, and is proud to revive the brewing tradition in the Key City. Mankato Brewery is the first production brewery in the community since 1967. Focused on creating authentic beers that reflect the heritage of the region and its people, the crew at Mankato Brewery invites you to try their beer and to experience local flavor.
Keg & Barrel
Keg and Barrel is housed in a 1905 traditional Southern home with original woodwork and features a wrap around porch, outside deck bar and back patio with a stage, corn hole and bocce ball. Scratch food from their recently remodeled kitchen includes local grass fed beef and pork and combines pub food with a unique Southern flair. Dogs are welcomed on the patio. They’re proud to say they hosted Mississippi’s first homebrew competition in 2009.
Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs
If you were doing a search for beer bars, by name, Instant Karma Gourmet Hot Dogs doesn’t scream craft beer — but locals know better. Instant Karma was founded by Jason Miller, a Joplin native who moved to New York to study art, then came back home to open Instant Karma and its sister restaurant, Joplin Eagle Drive-In. From a rotating beer menu to beer dinners and pop up restaurants, Instant Karma is making a name for itself in the beer scene.
The Dram Shop
The Happy Raven
Aces & Ales
Las Vegas, Nevada
New England’s Tap House Grille
Hooksett, New Hampshire
A beer selection isn’t the only qualifier for Great American Beer Bars. Atmosphere is an important factor and New England’s Tap House Grille hangs their hat on it. “We welcome our guests as if into our home,” explains office manager Tina Leary. “All our food is made from scratch and our chefs are committed to creating great food to serve our guests.”
Caldwell, New Jersey
Talk about historic, Cloverleaf Tavern has been serving beer since 1933, long before craft beer as we know it. The actual bar was purchased by George Dorchak, Jr., and is recognized as the longest running business in town. George’s grandson Ryan is now the third generation to run the operation. You’ll find a great selection of rotating craft on draught.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Marble Brewery’s pub is consistently pushing boundaries and evolving. The patio has a stage for live music and the rooftop deck is currently being remodeled for a heightened pub experience. When you get here, you realize it embodies the funky feel of Albuquerque: Everyone is welcome. Everyone is happy. Everyone fits right in.
Brooklyn, New York
If you want to find the latest, greatest, newest beers from New York State and New England craft brewers, Tørst in Brooklyn is where you want to be. Created by Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø, the brewer behind Denmark’s Evil Twin and Daniel Burnswho of Noma and Momofuku Labs, this is a world-class beer bar where you’ll always find a new experience.
Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant
West Jefferson, North Carolina
Boondocks Brewing has more than 30 beers on tap and another 80 in bottles and cans. You’ll find special releases every Wednesday, monthly beer pairing dinners, tons of events around special releases, and the opportunity to try some of their house beers they brew about a block away. Beer lovers can soak in the outdoors with outside covered seating and an open-air beer garden.
Wurst Bier Hall
Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo’s Wurst Bier Hall is the only German-themed bar in town, and you can sit at long communal tables, just like you would in Germany. Keeping with tradition, Wurst celebrates Maifest as well as a three weekend long Oktoberfest that locals love.
Brewfontaine boasts an ever-changing draught list. “We’re known for being the place that NEVER has the same beer lineup,” says owner Adam Rammel. “If you visit us today and again tomorrow, the tap list will not be the same.” Rammel describes the staff as passionate about homebrewing and beer education, capable of setting any patron up with a beer paired with one of their unique sandwiches; fitting, since the building once held the Bellefontaine’s iconic Johnson’s deli back in the 1950s.
Oak & Ore
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Educated staff is one thing, but to be serious about the beer, “You have to have the right tools. Our unique draught system allows us to dial in each tap for the perfect pour in the appropriate glassware at four different style-appropriate temperatures,” says owner, Micah Andrews. “Every aspect of how we handle beer from hand-washing glasses, cleaning our lines biweekly using a recirculation pump, using all stainless steel components and adjusting pressure and restriction for each beer to maintain carbonation from keg to glass allows us to serve every beer as the brewer intended.”
The Bier Stein
The Bier Stein strives to provide beer lovers with true experiences like beer dinners, brewery tastings, new beer releases and beer education classes each month. They tell us, “We love beer and want to share it with all our local customers.” And their selection is hard to beat: you’ll find 1,000 different beers and ciders in their bottle cooler and the tap list is always revolving.
Bulls Head Public House
Modeled after a traditional British pub, the Bulls Head offers great food, friendly conversation, and of course, quality beers. You can choose from 14 rotating beers on tap, two cask-conditioned ales and 80 bottles. They aim to bring the atmosphere of a traditional British pub to Pennsylvania, from a seat-yourself policy to ordering at the bar. Locals and tourists alike say it’s a great place to meet friends and make new ones.
The Wharf Pub Newport
Newport, Rhode Island
The Wharf Pub Newport in Newport, Rhode Island, specializes in Southern style comfort food made from scratch. The bar holds evolving monthly craft beer events. The rustic, handmade bar gives you a great vibe for open mic nights on the weekends — and check out Bingo Thursdays.
Charleston, South Carolina
Love food? Love beer? Edmund’s Oast wants you to experience the best of both worlds and describe their menu as a “choose your own adventure” style of eating and drinking. The building also has cool architecture, including the bar. When you stop in, take a look over the bar — their large wall of tap signs gets a lot of kudos.
Independent Ale House
Rapid City, South Dakota
- Year Founded: 2011
- Bottles/Cans: 120
- Draught: 40
The bar is located in a remodeled historic building (built in 1889) in the heart of downtown Rapid City. Heavy rotation of 40 craft beers with no crap on tap, Indy Ale House focuses on craft beer and artisanal pizza.
Blackstone Brewing Company TapHouse
The oldest new addition to our Great American Beer Bars list, Blackstone has had years to perfect the beer bar experience. With an award-winning line-up of house brewed beers constantly flowing, we don’t think that legendary experience will change anytime soon.
You might expect to find the Imperial Taproom in one of Texas’ main population hubs, but this craft beer bar is tucked into a historic area of the small college town of Canyon. The town is named for its location next to Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest canyon in the U.S. Beer lovers enjoy beer pairing dinners, a large menu and a unique environment.
Salt Lake City, Utah
Blackback Pub says people are drawn to the bar for its ever-changing tap list, world class food from Chef Jamie Nelson, and the outright big personalities of its bartenders and patrons. Don’t miss their twice-yearly Gourmet Beer Pairing Dinners — one on New Year’s Eve and the other on the Summer Solstice.
Blue 5 Restaurant
Blue 5 Restaurant is housed inside a renovated, 100 year old, five-story, former furniture store. Original hardwood floors and tin ceilings give it a historic feel while new and old electric and acoustic guitars adorn the walls and bar. You’ll find it’s a cool space to hang out and drink a good beer.
Manito Tap House
Hang out in the back bar and stare into the cooler of kegs, while Manito staff takes care of you, seven of which are within the Cicerone program at some level. While enjoying a Perry Street Brewing Session IPL, take solace in the fact that Manito takes their beer seriously, but also takes the environment seriously by achieving a four star certification by dinegreen.com, the highest honor.
Summit Beer Station
Huntington, West Virginia
Located inside an old train loading dock that was built in the late 1800s, Summit Beer Station is among the places leading the charge for craft beer in West Virginia. Here you’ll find a beer menu that often lists beers you can’t find anywhere else in the state. Summit tells us locals know they’ll find something new and unusual every time they visit. They’re also a de facto launch site for new breweries and beers in their area.
HopCat – Madison
Q Roadhouse & Brewing Co.
Q Roadhouse & Brewing Co. is a brewery, bar and vibrant restaurant. Chef de cuisine Matty Melehes was even recently featured as a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters. Our Jackson Hole location boasts views of the Tetons and Grand Teton National Park.
Our in-house brewed beers by Roadhouse Brewing Co. are built on the spirit of exploration that already exudes from Jackson Hole and help cultivate and strengthen the local craft beer adventure. These rotating brews are served on tap right next to other artisan brews from neighboring breweries.