Our 10 Favorite Sonic Odes to Drinking Establishments


As the weather gets colder, we’re beginning to appreciate our neighborhood bar more and more. After all, there’s nothing better than sipping a warm-you-up drink in the fading autumn sunlight. Nothing, that is, except doing that while listening to one of your favorite tunes. There are a million songs about drinking, it being one of man’s favorite pastimes, but here we’ve collected ten of our favorites about bars, pubs, and other drinking establishments in particular, so as to celebrate those fall and winter hideaways. And just for fun, we’ve added a drink suggestion to go with each spot. Click through to have a listen to our list, and let us know which of your own favorites we’ve missed in the comments!

“Down in Mexico” — The Coasters

You Should Drink: Dirty Habenero Martini.

Relevant Lyrics: Down in Mexicali There’s a crazy little place that I know Where the drinks are hotter, than the chili sauce And the boss is a cat named Joe He wears a red bandana Plays the blues piano In a honkey-tonk down in Mexico … All of a sudden in walks a chick Joe starts playin’ on a latin kick Around her waist she wore three fishnets She started dancin’ with the castanets I didn’t know just what to expect She threw her arms around my neck We started dancin all around the floor Until she did a dance I never saw before

“Danny’s All-Star Joint” — Rickie Lee Jones

You Should Drink: A coffee

Relevant Lyrics: Downstairs at Danny’s All Star Joint They got a juke box that goes doyt-doyt A finger-snappin’ deluxe Make your be-bop bap And your R&B hep-scat

“I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar” — Jonathan Richman

You Should Drink: Whatever you want, in this bar things are laissez-faire.

Relevant Lyrics: Well I was dancing at a night club one Friday night And that night club bar was a little uptight Yeah, I was dancing all alone a little self conscious When some kids came up and said, “for dancing come with us.” And soon I was dancing in a lesbian bar. … Well the first bar things were alright But in this bar, things were Friday night.

“Afterhours” — The Velvet Underground

You Should Drink: Vodka shots.

Relevant Lyrics: If you close the door, the night could last forever Keep the sunshine out and say hello to never All the people are dancing and they’re havin’ such fun I wish it could happen to me but if you close the door, I’d never have to see the day again.

“Piano Man” — Billy Joel

You Should Drink: Tonic and gin.

Relevant Lyrics: It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday And the manager gives me a smile ‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been comin’ to see To forget about their life for a while And the piano, it sounds like a carnival And the microphone smells like a beer And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”

“O’Malley’s Bar” — Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

You Should Drink: Whiskey

Relevant Lyrics: Well I entered into O’Malley’s Said, “O’Malley I have a thirst” O’Malley merely smiled at me said “You wouldn’t be the first”

“Closing Time” — Leonard Cohen

You Should Drink: Johnny Walker, of course

Relevant Lyrics: Ah we’re drinking and we’re dancing and the band is really happening and the Johnny Walker wisdom running high And my very sweet companion she’s the Angel of Compassion she’s rubbing half the world against her thigh And every drinker every dancer lifts a happy face to thank her the fiddler fiddles something so sublime all the women tear their blouses off and the men they dance on the polka-dots and it’s partner found, it’s partner lost and it’s hell to pay when the fiddler stops. It’s closing time.

“A Pub with No Beer” — The Dubliners

You Should Drink: It’ll have to be wine, we guess.

Relevant Lyrics: It’s lonesome away from your kindred and all, By the campfire at night where the wild dingos call, But there’s nothing so lonesome, so dull or so drear, Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer.

“Down Drinking at the Bar” — Loudon Wainwright III

You Should Drink: Miller High Life

Relevant Lyrics: Dean Martin’s on the jukebox, I bet. Or maybe it’s Tammy Wynette. The tearjerkers are jerking your tears. Salt water in your whiskey and your beers. You’ve got the Miller High Life bouncing balls. You’ve got the Utica Club waterfalls.

“One for My Baby” — Frank Sinatra

You Should Drink: A dry Manhattan

Relevant Lyrics: It’s quarter to three, There’s no one in the place ‘cept you and me So set em up, Joe I got a little story I think you oughtta know