11 of America’s Most Unusual Spots to Have a Beer
If you’ve never enjoyed a beer inside a cave, at a former train station, or while grocery shopping, well, you just don’t know what you’re missing.
1. FLOSSMOOR STATION RESTAURANT AND BREWERY // FLOSSMOOR, ILLINOIS
Built in 1906, this former train station was headed for ruin before the current owners spruced it up and turned it into an award-winning brewpub. Drink a Station Master Wheat, then watch the 5:15 rumble by mere feet away. With the Metra stop just down the street, it’s a great spot for a last-minute drink before catching a train into Chicago.
2. LUCKY’S MARKET // VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Supermarkets have dutifully followed the craft beer revolution, and some like Whole Foods even have in-store bars where you can grab a pint or fill up a growler. But Lucky’s has upped the ante by encouraging of-age shoppers to enjoy a cold one while they shop. The retailer, which has locations in 11 states, sells the brews for just $2, and has outfitted its shopping carts with cup holders, naturally. Suddenly, shopping for kale just got a whole lot more exciting.
3. SISTER LOUISA’S CHURCH OF THE LIVING ROOM & PING PONG EMPORIUM // ATLANTA
Unusual is certainly one way to describe a bar where patrons regularly don choir robes, sing church-organ karaoke, and play ping-pong on a table surrounded by neon crosses. Opened in 2010 by a former divinity student-turned-artist, Sister Louisa’s is pure southern kitsch, and a favorite amongst Atlanta bar-goers. Craft brews are always on tap, but if beer isn’t your thing, you could always try the Spiritual Sangria.
4. FLORA-BAMA // PERDIDO KEY, FLORIDA
Step out of this Florida beach bar, walk a few feet west, and you’re in Alabama. The establishment opened in 1964, and soon, business was booming, thanks to the fact that Baldwin County, Alabama, was dry at the time. Since then, it’s grown into a sprawling roadhouse with numerous bars and live music stages.
5. THE CAVE BAR & GRILL // LANAGAN, MISSOURI
You won’t find any trendy craft brews on tap here. But true to its name, The Cave offers a one-of-a-kind venue. Owner Chris Black bought the space, formerly known as Truitt’s Cave, in 2011, after he was convinced the world was about to end. When that didn’t happen, he converted the cavern from a bunker into a bar and restaurant with an outdoor area that frequently hosts live music. Adding to the fun: There’s a herd of goats milling around.
6. SAN DIEGO ZOO // SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
One of the world’s premier zoos just so happens to have an incredible beer selection. Locations throughout the park serve up craft brews, from cafes to specialty stands operated by local brewers like Ballast Point and Sierra Nevada. There are also festivals like a recent beer and wine tasting celebrating the zoo’s centennial. Best of all: You can take your beer with you while you tour the park.
7. REVOLUTION CYCLES // GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
In a town with its fair share of bicycle shops, Revolution offers a little something extra: several taps of cold craft beer. Owner Watts Dixon installed the bar area two years ago, keen to capitalize on the overlap between cycling and beer enthusiasts. Even if you’re not in the market for a new road bike or a tune-up, you can wander in for a pint of Oskar Blues or Sierra Nevada.
8. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM // NEW YORK CITY
If the thought of viewing fine art while sipping a beer seems like fun, make sure to book a ticket to one of the Guggenheim Museum’s “Art After Dark” parties. In addition to live music and free-roam of the museum’s numerous exhibitions, the event features world-class people-watching from the Guggenheim’s spiral walkway.
9. O’MALLEY’S PUB // WESTON, MISSOURI
This bunker-like bar, formerly a Prohibition-era speakeasy, pays homage to rural Missouri’s drinking past with a lineup of rustic brews. There’s the Ruddy Wheat, a sturdy ale-meets-weiss concoction, and the Rip Van Winkle, first brewed in the early 1900s, when it was billed as "The Richest Bottle of Beer in the World." Many of the brews come straight from the Weston Brewing Company next door via refrigerated tap lines.
10. UMBRELLA BAR // OLYMPIC VALLEY, CALIFORNIA
From roughly 60 feet underground to high in the mountains: It’s hard to beat the view at this mountaintop bar, perched 8200 feet at the top of the Squaw Valley Resort. With a large hot tub and retractable roof, it’s a popular spot for weary skiers and snowboarders, who can reach the bar from nearby trails. Luckily, there’s also a cable car that provides access for those less inclined to ply the slopes.
11. THE PINE BOX BAR // SEATTLE
This former mortuary did a stint as a nightclub before becoming a craft beer haven—most famously, Bruce Lee passed through the funeral home for his stateside services in 1973. Today, the bar has 30 some beers on tap, a range of dinner and brunch options, and is spending the fall hosting presidential debate watch-parties.
BONUS: CP BREWERY AT BREWS AND CUES // PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII
Drinking a micro-brewed beer is nothing unusual. But drinking a beer micro-brewed on one of America’s most storied military bases? That’s something special. The CP Brewery turns out a limited quantity of ales and IPAs on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor-Hickham military base, and offers them at the Brews and Cues bar located in the base’s common area. There’s just one catch: Access is limited to military personnel and acquaintances.