New York, NY
The 13th Step will magically transport you back to your college years, if you went to college in a place where nobody could move at all, and everyone got aggressive when you accidentally brushed their shoulder while they were playing beer pong even though it was completely unavoidable.
New Orleans, LA
After a night out at Ms. Mae’s tossing back $2 well drinks, a little well-earned nap time on their glow-in-the-dark air hockey tables might seem like a good idea. Of course, when you wake up in the morning, the bar will still be open... BECAUSE IT NEVER CLOSES, but at least you’ll be Internet famous on their Wall of Shame blog.
You might not remember it, but you were at the Ginn Mill last night. You kind of remember getting yelled at for doing something really inappropriate/unsanitary in view of concertgoers at Herb’s. You’ve got popcorn in your pockets and butter streaks on your clothing. You’ve also got way more money in your wallet than you should after a night this full of amateur moves. All that’ll happen when you’re at a place with specials like $2 you-call drinks and 2-for-1 wells. Also, whose lipstick is on your chest!?
Los Angeles, CA
Courtney Love used to be a “dancer” at this totally non-strip club (they’re go-go dancers), where rolls of dollars come in handy both for tipping the -- AHEM -- performers and for paying for the heaviest pours you’ll ever see. Temporarily falling in love with strippers is always a bad decision for your wallet. Even when they're not really strippers.
If you stick around Monkey Pants until 1am, you’ll have a chance to participate in their one-cent Shirtless Shot offer. Most of the participants will be oblivious dudes, but at that point in the night, none of them will care.
San Diego, CA
There are a ton of bars in San Diego that could lead you to ill-advisedly losing your clothes, but Cherry Bomb might take the cake. That’s because it’s located next to a laundromat. The temptation to stop into the exquisite dive bar for a casual/extremely stiff drink between loads is irresistible. Or three. Which is to say, your laundry is gone. Lucky you, you now have the option of making another bad decision. Just buy the person next to you a stiff drink before you steal their wardrobe.
Pronounced "Hang Up" -- don't mind the extra letters -- this bi-level den of dubious behavior is in its fifth decade of catering to sloppy Chicagoans. Most veterans immediately descend the staircase leading to the labyrinthine basement, where the DJ is blaring every '60s through mid-'90s song you've ever wanted to belt out. Push your way past the sweaty, screaming mass of humanity. Secure a beer bottle to use as a microphone prop. Make out with some girl from a bachelorette party while the dude standing next to you is peeing in a garbage can WHILE trying to order a beer to the soundtrack of a thousand people murdering "Friends in Low Places." Wake up on a strange couch. Get ready to do it again tomorrow night.
Remember that weird older dude who used to lurk in your college party bar, drinking an endless stream of vodka/energy drinks, hitting on the 21-year-olds, and insisting “my friends call me Boner?” You’re him. And you’re not the only Boner in the house.
Think of CC’s crowds like a mosh pit, but full of Uptown folk who aren’t smashing into each other intentionally. You will bump into a lot of people. You might make out with some of those people. Or you might bump into a bouncer, who will promptly toss you out for spilling a plastic-cupped drink on him. Don’t worry. You were probably going to get kicked out anyway.
San Francisco, CA
In most places, when everyone in the room -- regardless of their winning or losing streak at flip cup/beer pong -- is five pitchers deep, camaraderie is likely to develop. That’s what happens half of the time at Bar None, with the other 50% being devoted to spats over the availability of tables for playing said drinking games that are soon resolved in a whirlwind of hugging and weeping. There are also darts, but maybe, given the precedence of certain events here, you should avoid that particular activity.
What’s the best mixer for your booze? At this University of Washington legend, the answers are “ice” and “oxygen.” These liquor-bombs don’t stop at 1:45am like some better-decision-making bars. Earl’s goes right up to that 2am buzzer. Whether it’s tonight or in the morning, your walk of shame -- and half of Seattle’s -- can be blamed on ol’ Earl.
The Broken Spoke
Basically, during the yearly motorcycle rally, the entire city of Sturgis -- and a big chunk of the Black Hills -- turns into one big bad-decision bar. That the Spoke still stands out as one of the rowdiest spots in town (it's kind of like Mos Isley, but with more leather jackets and boobs) is saying something. Oh, and there's a campground, just in case you want that bad decision-making to spill into a stranger's tent.
You won’t want to leave Cahoots, and not just because the floors are so sticky that you’re physically incapable of doing so -- they’re pouring the stiffest drinks in Louisville here, in stark contrast to the crowd, which is the least stiff you’ll probably ever encounter.
Harvard Square’s three-tiered Hong Kong is bizarro Dante Alighieri’s dream -- the higher you ascend, the further into madness you go. Once you’re done with the third-floor dance club, you’ve inevitably got a few scorpion bowls in you, and descending to the first to pick up some spicy dumplings might appear to be the ultimate panacea to share with your new friend who goes to... where is it again? Brandeis? It isn’t.
Grungy, friendly, and cheap, Lola's is the anchor to many a night out on the town in Houston, and boasts a ton of distractions (wall-bedecking baubles) and games (pool tables) -- though the only game you'll be playing the next morning is, "Sorry."
In Portland, strip clubs are a way of life, and the perpetually troubled vegan/vampire-themed Casa Diablo is a big draw. And can spell your ruin. It’s in the middle of nowhere. You can only tip in $2 bills dipped in fake blood, so unless you spend them all there, your whereabouts are obvious. The ATM spits out $50 bills. Drinks are stiff. Dancers are hot, which means it’s extra tempting to get an expensive “full-friction,” touching-approved lap dance. Which is to say, you’re going home in a cab, reeking of strawberries, covered in glitter, blue-balled, and with a wallet full of ATM receipts.
A typical night at Drinker’s includes perusing their list of 50-to-100-cent drink specials, then just ordering them all anyway because you’ve got a $10 bill burning a hole in your pocket. You'll accidentally spill half of them on the floor, then order them all again because you forgot which ones you just spilled. You will still have $8 left.
Things escalate quickly in Hamtramck, a city within the city of Detroit. It all starts with the complimentary "Welcome to Hamtramck" shot of Jezynowka and ends with you attempting to steal a bike you thought was yours even though you don’t own one -- and with all manner of freak show in between. There is nary a dull moment at the Whiskey -- even if it’s just you and the bartender.
Three ingredients for a night of smart thinking: fire-flavored whiskey, sorority girls, and sorority girls grinding to remixes of remixes. That’s what you’re getting on the third level of Club 152. Your “pre-game” plans at the club might end up in a post-game of waking in a strange room, covered in the juices of a burst glow stick. But hey, at least you can see in the dark.
There’s so much neon in this honky tonk that you can’t help but stare. And yeah, it makes your eyes tired. If only the guy waking you up as you sleep in one of the tractor-trailers outside could understand.
Bottomless mimosas at breakfast. Cocktails by the pitcher at night. Crammed dance floor. Still making informed decisions? There’s a strip club nearby too.
City Limits Saloon
Line dancing taken extremely seriously. Fightin’. Foam parties, body shots, neon. The ghost of Patrick Swayze should haunt this place. We talked to a friend in a country band, who said: “I played a gig there once. It may have been the most money I've ever made at a gig (people kept tipping us $20 a pop to play “Wagon Wheel”). You know that part in Fear and Loathing when Hunter S. Thompson is at the Circus Circus merry-go-round and declares that he's found the heart of the American Dream? I think I found the Heart of Dixie that night.”
Karaoke every night. Beers starting at $2. Open until 2:30am. Named for a guy who probably slipped down the chimney of the double-wide trailer where it’s located, saw the Christmas decor, and decided to give up on the rest of his plans for the night and throw back a few brews. If we were Mrs. Claus, we’d be worried sick, too.
The $3 cocktails at Blarney Stone are about 90% liquor and 10% mixer, and the clientele is 100% there for that fact. Depending on the characters in town for the night, it can either descend into a bawdy hug-fest, or... well, let's just say the cops outside aren't there to stop people from making out. Either way, it's a free-for-all when it comes to the dangerously salty complimentary popcorn.
Las Vegas, NV
The good news is that there is one good decision you can make at this psychedelic, loud, punk-as-hell Vegas dive. But it’s a harbinger of doom. For $20, you can buy “Puke Insurance,” which means that if you blow chunks in the bar, they’ll clean it up for you. If you're uninsured, you’re on your own. And with the signature “Ass Juice” booze mixture flowing like, well... you might want to chip in for that policy.
It’s difficult to know the difference between a good decision and a bad one when you’ve been partying at Club Space for approximately 10 hours. It’s even more difficult to know for sure whether that marriage proposal you witnessed while in line for the bathroom was real, and whether or not the bar's life-sized astronaut statue accepted or declined the offer to be best man.
If it's 2am and you're looking for someone to smash faces with to '80s dance hits, you're going to Barbarella. Just don’t stare at the lasers. Or, most likely, said face-smashing partner. Or the bathroom. In fact, just close your eyes and go with it.
1. The 13th Step149 2nd Ave, New York
2. The Club Ms. Mae's4336 Magazine St, New Orleans
3. The Ginn Mill2041 Larimer St, Denver
4. Jumbo's Clown Room5153 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
5. Cherry Bomb2237 1st Ave, San Diego
6. The Hangge-Uppe14 W Elm St, Chicago
7. The Library Bar1301 4th St SE, Minneapolis
8. Concrete Cowboy2512 Cedar Springs Rd, Dallas
9. BarNone1980 Union St, San Francisco
10. Earl's on the Ave4333 University Way NE, Seattle
11. Hong Kong65 Chatham St, Boston
12. Lola's Depot2327 Grant St, Houston
13. Casa Diablo2839 NW St Helens Rd, Portland
14. Drinker's West3900 Chestnut St, Philadelphia
15. Whiskey In The Jar2741 Yemans St, Hamtramck
16. Southern Comfort Bar & Lounge1383 Cedar Grove Rd, Conley
17. Double Down Saloon4640 Paradise Rd, Las Vegas
18. Club Space34 NE 11th St, Miami
19. Barbarella615 Red River St, Austin
If you’re in the East Village and in need of a straightforward sports bar, go to The 13th Step. The sprawling space features more than 30 flat screen TVs, and it’s always packed to capacity, even if there’s nothing to watch. The beer menu is simple (think Budweiser, Coors, and Rolling Rock), and there’s a hefty selection of over-the-top bar food like chili nachos, a pizza burger, and buffalo chicken sliders.
Ms. Mae's is open around the clock, so you can get your drink on 'til all hours and nobody'll bat an eye. They do, however, have a Wall of Shame where you might wind up if you happen to imbibe a bit too much, which is almost guaranteed to happen.
LoDo' The Ginn Mill is nicknamed "The Skin Mill" (hey, that rhymes!), and they have happy hour Mon-Fri 3-7pm, so do with that information what you will.
If you're into heavy pours, cheap drinks, a trusty jukebox, and friendly regulars, you should get into Cherry Bomb.
Getting lost in a bar may never have been so fun. As a Chicago staple for more than 30yrs, this massive dual-level dance haven offers five differently themed bars, three dance floors, and a variety of '50s through '80s rock and disco on one floor and modern hits on another. With drink specials galore and a pair of all-request DJs, we dare you not to break a sweat at the Hangge-Uppe.
The Library’s been revamped, but the beer specials are just the same as you remember from college. Watch whatever game's playing on one of their many flatscreens or grab some eats from the bar.
From the dude behind Teddy's Room -- who was clearly not at all influenced by the 1996 Meryl Streep drama Marvin's Room -- this "party bar for grownups" sets the mood with a trio of garage doors, all-brick walls accented by 30yr-old barnwood, and a huge vintage "Giddy Up" sign hovering over couches where you can watch games on twin 113-inch screens. Music alternates between classic rock/country and top 40, shots are plentiful and sometimes wacky, and they periodically hold edible events like Saturday pork roasts.
BarNone is the underground epitome of college in San Francisco. Head there and play some pong and flip cup while watching the game, getting bro-tapped, and wishing you were still living your glory days at USC.
Earl’s goes right up to that 2a buzzer to make extra sure that long, cold walk of shame is totally their fault. And when they've been pouring you extra tall, stiff drinks for hours, you're definitely not to blame...
Hong Kong is a restaurant/ dance club in the best of ways. Order a Scorpion Bowl and one of six (or six of six!) kinds of popcorn chicken and hit the dance floor!
There's enough ephemera decking out the walls, ceiling, and patio to echo an episode of Hoarders, but the interior decorators (aka the bartenders) did a fine job of making it all work. If it's a slow day, maybe try challenging the bartender to games of I Spy for shots.
Casa Diablo isn't your typical restaurant from the outside, or, for that matter, the inside. It's modeled after the vampire bar in From Dusk Til Dawn and features a solid vegan menu with must-tries like soy stroganoff. Not what you were expecting? There's another surprise: this spot is actually a strip club that has a bank full of those ever-popular $2 bills for tipping and dancers performing the wildest leather-free strip show you’ll ever see. That's right: this is a vegan strip club. Bless you, Portland.
Drinker's West has daily specials on high-lifes and PBRs, but if that doesn't tickle your fancy they have even more specials for every other day of the week, which makes drinking... easy.
Named after an Irish-folk-song-turned-Metallica-classic and situated in a Polish neighborhood, Whiskey in the Jar sets its cultural bar high. But thanks to a diverse crowd and an even more varied selection of beers, bar-goers shed their differences at the door and unite for evenings of singing, dancing, and, of course, drinking. Here, wood-paneled walls are bedecked with beer advertisements, Christmas lights are posted all year long, and -- perhaps most importantly -- the digital jukebox plays songs of all genres. After a few drinks, you’ll want to snap a photo with the resident “ratalope,” a taxidermied rodent whose dignity was once stolen and replaced with antlers.
Live music and cheap drinks are the order of the day at this self-described honky tonk boozer in Conley.
Home of the famed Ass Juice cocktail, DD's the anti-Vegas & grunge bar that's "a clubhouse for the lunatic fringe"(!). You'll find live music, pinball, pool, and all kinds of folk visiting this psychedelically painted joint.
This over-the-top club is located in a multi-story warehouse, and comes complete with live DJs and a rooftop terrace. Thanks to its 24-hours license, lots of lasers, and pretty lights, the after-after-after-hours club is Miami's greatest freak show, and likely the only 10+-year-old club that can lay claim to such subsisting fame.
With throwback '60s and '70s on Grits and Gravy Thursdays, classic '80s on Friday, and a mix of EDM on Saturdays, Barbarella aims to please fans of every genre with great music, lasers and smoke, and music videos being played on screens right next to the dance floor.