What makes the following 13 cities so charmed? They're all home to drinking holes that get the Inked stamp of approval. Here, 39 spots where we'll throw one (or more) back—in no particular order, because we don't like ranking things.
Nothing makes a strange town feel more like home than a great bar. It gives you a sense of the city, a feel for the locals, and—perhaps, most importantly—it can supply a nice buzz. The problem in many cases is picking the right spot. So many cities are overrun with mainstream, cookie-cutter places that it can be tough to find a watering hole with real character. Luckily, you have us. Inked has cut through the clutter to present you with some of the best places in America to have a drink.
Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas
Double Down Saloon 4640 Paradise Rd., 702-791-5775, doubledownsaloon.com. Festooned with murals ranging from erotic to apocalyptic, this dark bar lives by an austere code: you puke, you clean. Double Down is a gritty counterpoise to the glitzy strip, a place where thirsty sinners come to escape from the greed and gaudiness. A small corner stage showcases surf, punk, and rockabilly bands, and a jukebox boasts artists ranging from Black Flag to Frank Sinatra. The signature Ass Juice shots (ingredients unknown) and bacon martinis—that's right, bacon—are ingested with abandon. Still not entertained? Pool, pinball, and an Asteroids video game are available, as well as video poker and Keno. But the best reason to visit the Double Down is the unmatched people watching: Says one bartender, "A guy once gave me his glass eyeball as collateral for a taxi ride."
Dispensary Lounge, 2451 E. Tropicana Ave., 702-458-6343. In Vegas, obscurity is practically a virtue, at least for a bar. You need a place where the sounds of bells and coins disappear (or recede a little). Just a simple spot where you can sit, drink, and—provided you have brain cells remaining—think. Dispensary Lounge is just such a place. Owing to its auspicious location behind a coffee shop, this less-crowded lounge is a perfect place to get away from the pomp and pretense of the Strip. Shag carpeting
and fake plants foster a '70s feel, and the waterwheel (look, but don't touch) completes the anachronistic environs. Drinks are cheap, the food is good, and service is friendly. It's a place where you can sit back, talk with some friends, and tend to your wallet's
wounds before you return to gawk at the green felt for another few hours.
Peppermill Fireside Lounge 2985 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-735-4177. This place is Old Vegas, where cocktails are king, waitresses serve you in full-length gowns, and you know that the Rat Pack would feel at home. It is the original Vegas lounge, full of brass rails, exotic-looking drinks with umbrellas, and an actual pool of fire. Upon entering, you'll immediately understand why it is regularly placed on lists ranging from best margarita to best bars in which to make out (and why it was used as a backdrop in movies such as Casino and Showgirls). Plush booths, fake foliage, and soft lighting create a cozy, if kitschy, feeling. It's a warm and welcoming atmosphere you'll appreciate, especially after Lady Luck has made you her bitch.
Double Down Saloon : http://www.doubledownsaloon.com/
Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce : http://www.fortydeuce.com/
Saint's & Sinners : http://www.saintsandsinnerslounge.net/
Clermont Lounge : http://www.clermontlounge.net/
Northside Tavern : http://www.northsidetavern.com/
Star Community Bar : http://www.starbaratlanta.com/
Hemlock Tavern : http://www.hemlocktavern.com/
Creekside Lounge : http://www.thecreeksidelounge.com/
Basement Pub : http://www.basementpub.com/
Velvet Lounge : http://www.velvetloungedc.com/
Wonderland Ballroom : http://www.wonderlandballroom.com/
Madam's Organ : http://www.madamsorgan.com/
CC Club : http://www.ccclubmpls.com/
Memory Lanes : http://www.memorylanesmpls.com/
Half Time Rec : http://www.halftimerec.com/
Pawn Shop Lounge : http://www.thepawnshoplounge.com/
Duff's Brooklyn : http://www.duffsbrooklyn.com/
Magnetic Field 97 : http://www.magneticbrooklyn.com/