5 Bars Where You Can Get Top Shelf Quality On A Budget

the california clipper chicago party earth bars

Photo: PartyEarth.com

American bars tend to stick to extremes, with watered-down dives on one end and swanky VIP lounges with bottle service on the other.But not every night calls for suits or stilettos. Sometimes, it’s nice to drop the pomp and circumstance and get seriously sloshed without busting your budget.

Here at Party Earth we’re happy to remind everyone—from blueblood nobility to the blue-collar crowd—that a cheap drink doesn’t have to be a weak one. So take a look at some of our favourite U.S. drinking dens from down and dirty bars in D.C. to cheap and easy dives in San Francisco that more than make up in liquor for what they may lack in luxury.

This story was originally published by Party Earth.

New York City: Mehanata Bulgarian Bar

Washington, D.C.: Dan's Cafe

Chicago: The California Clipper

Although it's well-removed from the city's bigger bar scene, The California Clipper is still one of the best bars in Chicago and has been going strong since the 1930s.

The consensus on its welcoming vibe has no doubt aided its success, along with the free board games that fill the void between the free live jazz on weekends. Sure, there are rumours the venue is haunted, but its popular Purple Martin cocktail is sure to bring back even the most phantasm-phobic, time and time again.

Of course, if a mixture of fake grapes, rum, and lemon reminds you more of a desperate last call at a frat party, this cozy neighbourhood lounge offers a host of budget-friendly classics, from champagne cocktails and Rusty Nails to a California egg cream so good you won't even remember to ask how they got cream out of a chicken's egg in the first place.

The California Clipper
1002 North California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622

Los Angeles: The Bigfoot Lodge

San Francisco: 15 Romolo

Hidden inside the tourist-heavy North Beach area of San Francisco, 15 Romolo is surrounded by strip clubs --some classy, some not--but this subterranean drinking den has little in common with its naked neighbours.

The stylish saloon boasts an assortment of expertly crafted cocktails at a bargain, including a ridiculously fresh Pimm's Cup that only runs around $7 during the daily happy hour. This cheap combination of ginger, bitters, cucumber, and mint might even tempt you to order seconds. The same can be said of the $4 punch on weekends, as well as the savory brunch menu that comes with a free amuse-bouche waffle shot.

15 Romolo
Basque Hotel
15 Romolo Place
San Francisco, CA 94133

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