Dating back to the days of Ancient Greece and Rome, the local bar has been one of those “third spaces” that has stood the test of time and allowed men and women alike a place to gather and socialize. In Sacramento, our bar scene has been largely influenced by the same historical events that shaped our nation including the California Gold Rush, establishing our statehood, the Civil War, and both World Wars. The best historical bars are the ones that not only stood the test of time, but that also connected themselves to the surrounding neighborhoods thanks to some of the best bar owners Sacramento has known.
The Trap
6125 Riverside Blvd,
Sacramento, CA 95381
(916) 395-2614
www.facebook.com

The Trap is one of Sacramento’s oldest dive bars. First opened in 1861, The Trap is one of Sacramento’s longest running businesses. This establishment used to be a saloon and grocery store before it gained its infamous name. Originally called Pimentel’s Ingleside Cafe and known by locals as Pimentel’s Saloon, it was used as a bar on one side and a grocery store on the other. There were entrances on both sides so the local women didn’t have to traverse through the bar. Today patrons can stop in for a good game of pool and a rousing rendition of karaoke.

Frank Fat’s
806 L St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 442-7092
www.fatsrestaurants.com

You can’t mention Sacramento historical bar history without mentioning Frank Fat’s. Sure, Fat’s restaurant does have a dedicated Bar and Grill in Old Sacramento, but when you’re talking historical, the original Fat’s restaurant (and bar) on L Street is where the history lies. Standing for more than 76 years, the original owner immigrated from China back in 1919 and opened Frank Fat’s 20 years later, which used to house a Sacramento speakeasy. Only two blocks from the capitol, it became a favorite place for politicians to bring their work and was the site of the infamous “Napkin Deal.”

Simon’s Bar & Cafe
1415 16th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 442-7668
www.yelp.com

Simon’s Bar & Cafe is another great Capitol watering hole. Opened in 1984 and owned and operated by the same owner ever since, its seen such famous patrons as our former Governor Jerry Brown and former Sacramento King’s Center Vlade Divac. More importantly, it’s been a local neighborhood fixture thats survived despite newer establishments opening up all around it. The food isn’t too bad, either. The garlic chicken alone is reason enough to visit.

Related: Best Baseball Bars In Sacramento

The Golden Bear 
2326 K St.
Sacramento, CA 95816
(916) 441-2242
www.goldenbear916.com

What’s old is new again with The Golden Bear, as this former bar is now one of Sacramento’s best places to grab drinks and a fresh meal with good friends. Before Golden Bear it was Drago’s circa 1980s, first opening in the mid ’70s also known for its brunches and good coffee that served farm fresh food and crepes. Drago’s turned into Cafe Paris and Cafe Montreal in the ’90s, then Cafe Mexicas and Cafe 24K. Once termed a dive bar, it’s now a return to Sacramento culinary tradition emphasizing local ingredients and flavours.

Joe Marty’s
1500 Broadway
Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 448-7062
www.facebook.com

Established in 1938 but recently closed due to a fire, Joe Marty’s will reopen this fall, and better than ever. The original business was owned by Sacramento resident and former MLB player for the Cubs and Phillies, Joe Marty. Marty then went on to manage the Sacramento Solons, a local Triple A-team. When it reopens, it will be a family friendly local sports bar and bistro. Hopefully they’ll stuff it full of baseball memorabilia like the old Joe Marty’s.

Related: Best Barbecue In Sacramento

Paulo Acoba is a California native raised in the Bay Area and living in the Central Valley. He enjoys distance running, cycling and grassroots motorsports. He holds a degree in management from the University of California Merced. Paulo has been writing for Examiner.com since 2012 and covering the Fresno area.

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