Nothing makes knocking back brews at your local bar better than great music blaring from the jukebox. But after a few, picking the right tune can feel overwhelming.
Don't worry. With this list of the best bar songs of all time, you'll never freeze up at the jukebox again.
“Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks
Song year: 1990
Garth Brooks' “Friends in Low Places” has become an anthem for the down and out that still want to let their freak flag fly.
It's the perfect type of song for barflies and the brokenhearted alike. If you want everyone to burst into song, look no further.
“Closing Time” by Semisonic
Song year: 1998
While alternative rock generally takes a bookish approach to its subject matter, Semisonic wrote a last call banger for the ages with “Closing Time.”
Though “Closing Time” is emphatically stating that you need to leave, the song's genius is the shred of hope it employs. If you never left, how could you come back?
“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett
Song year: 1977
Jimmy Buffett's “Margaritaville” is a song that needs no introduction.
The fact that Buffett is a household name when “Margaritaville” is his only hit speaks to the enduring popularity of this island life classic. The next time you order a margarita, ask yourself: Is this a drink or a lifestyle?
“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes
Song year: 1979
“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” is not a Jimmy Buffet tune. It's a testament to how strong the song's island life vibes are that many people assume this is a standard in Margaritaville.
This Rupert Holmes yacht rocker has become every bit a classic as “Margaritaville,” so much so that Buffet regularly plays it live.
“Gin and Juice” by Snoop Dogg
Song year: 1993
Equal parts drinking song and classic rap, Snoop Dogg's “Gin and Juice” is a low-key affair for those that like their juniper-flavored booze laid back.
With G-funk production courtesy of Dr. Dre, this west coast hip-hop joint hits hard regardless of which coast hosts your barstool.
“Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba
Song year: 1997
Chumbawamba's anarchist punk ideology was twisted into the highly produced 90s smash hit “Tubthumping.”
The song's infectious swirl of punk, pop, and partying will leave you just as dizzy as the whiskey, vodka, lager, and cider that Chumbawamba is drinking. Maybe mixing all those liquors is what's knocking them down?
“Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” by Against Me!
Song year: 2002
Many roads can lead to the same barstool, and songs like “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong” are visceral sing-alongs that help ease our pain and build barroom camaraderie.
Against Me! certainly isn't going to get the club thumping, but if you're at a dive bar, this song will light up the room.
“Whiskey in the Jar” by Thin Lizzy
Song year: 1972
A song about the thrill of the steal leading to a life behind bars, Thin Lizzy's injected the 17th-century Irish folk< song "Whiskey in the Jar" with a rock and roll heart.
Metallica and The Dubliners have also covered the song, but it's the Thin Lizzy version the bar wants to hear.
“Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs
Song year: 2019
Sometimes, nothing hits better than a red-hot country rock song and an ice-cold beer. Luke Combs' “Beer Never Broke My Heart” takes this sentiment to its logical end, extolling the virtues of cracking open a cold one over the assorted heartbreaks of life's various cruelties.
“She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinking Doubles)” by Gary Stewart
Song year: 1975
The best country music embraces its tradition of wry lyricism and clever wordplay. Gary Stewart knew this and made his career with witty songs about heartbreak.
“She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinking Doubles)” makes the heartbreak go down a little easier, and country inclined barrooms will perk up at the opening slide guitar.
“Tequila” by The Champs
Song year: 1958
Sure, it's a little on the nose. But if you haven't had a shot of tequila while listening to The Champs' “Tequilla,” have you lived?
Put this on and buy the bar a round. You'll have a night you'll never forget – if you can remember it.
“Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money
Song year: 1986
We've all been there: you're out late looking for love and you're striking out. Well, Eddie Money has got you covered. Put on “Take Me Home Tonight” and scan the bar until your eyes meet with your soul mate.
Okay, maybe it won't work out exactly like that. But you never know.
“Have a Drink on Me” by AC/DC
Song year: 1980
Few bands evoke images of drinking and fighting like AC/DC. Their thundering drums and killer riffs always sound good at the bar.
AC/DC's hard-rock is tailor-made for swilling beer and throwing back shots, and “Have a Drink On Me” is the epitome of this rock and roll ethos.
“Red Red Wine” by UB40
Song year: 1983
Not every bar song has to be rowdy. UB40's cover of Neil Diamond's “Red Red Wine” is a romantic and mellow option that's perfect for date night cocktails or a shared bottle at the wine bar.
Don't be surprised if you see free spirits and 80s babies all get up and sway to this reggae-tinged classic.
“Drunk Girls” by LCD Soundsystem
Song year: 2010
If you're looking to wake up a sleepy bar with a younger crowd, try this indie electro-pop banger from New York City hipsters LCD Soundsystem.
“Drunk Girls” has an infectious, driving beat and surprisingly poetic lyrics. It's fun, fast, and celebrates the excesses of our bar visits.
“Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)” by The Doors
Song year: 1967
“Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)” is originally a German song written for the play Little Mahagonny. Rock fans, however, will know this as a classic drinking song by 60s rock gods The Doors.
For The Doors' Jim Morrison, an avid drinker, the song was a mantra.
“Where Everybody Knows Your Name” by Gary Portnoy
Song year: 1983
The theme song to the classic television show Cheers, “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” laid bare the psychology behind why we love bars so much.
Gary Portnoy's sentiments are comforting enough already, but the added layer of nostalgia for those that remember Sam and Diane put this track over the top at any bar.
“We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus
Song year: 2013
While many might suggest Miley Cyrus' “Party in the U.S.A.,” pop connoisseurs know to grab from the top shelf and go with her more mature party anthem, “We Can't Stop.”
This song finds Cyrus more self-assured and in her bag, and the bar will love swaying along.
“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” by George Thorogood
Song year: 1977
George Thorogood introduced the blues classic “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” to a whole new audience with his classic 70s cover.
If you queue this one up, make sure you've got some time on your hands. This tale of debauched drinking clocks in at over eight minutes!
“Rock and Roll All Night” by KISS
Song year: 1975
If it's a party you want, KISS is more than happy to oblige. All night, in fact. Throw on “Rock and Roll All Night” to let the entire bar know your intention, and you'll be sure to find like-minded patrons banging their heads along.
“Last Nite” by The Strokes
Song year: 2001
In a world drowning in calculated rap-metal and pop groups, The Strokes breathed new life into mainstream music with their nervy, devil may care rock and roll debut.
“Last Nite” isn't explicitly about drinking, but the attitude and sound of The Strokes is pure barroom.
“Streams of Whiskey” by The Pogues
Song year: 1984
Shane MacGowan and The Pogues trafficked in the long lineage of Irish tales of drinking and woe. “Streams of Whiskey” is one of these brilliantly lyrical tales of whiskey and wishes, making mortality sound downright infectious.
This song is a perfect choice for St. Patrick's Day or any night that you're drinking Irish.
“It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” by Alan Jackson ft. Jimmy Buffett
Song year: 2003
Alan Jackson taps into the psychic energy of Margaritaville by dueting with Jimmy Buffet on his appeal to having a good time anytime, “It's Five O'Clock Somewhere.”
This catchy tune sounds like a vacation in a bottle, with Jackson's country delivery lending the melody its laid-back vibe.
“(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” by The Beastie Boys
Song year: 1987
Though they would eventually become one of the most innovative hip-hop groups of the late 80s and 90s, The Beastie Boys hit the scene as punk rock turned party rappers.
“(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)” has become a party anthem that transcends genre and will get any bar moving.
“Whiskey River” by Willie Nelson
Song year: 1972
As one of the fathers of Outlaw Country, Willie Nelson's music is no stranger to jukeboxes across America. Though “Whiskey River” isn't a Nelson composition, it has become synonymous with Nelson and a staple of his live performances.
The mellow sound of the song is the perfect complement to a smooth glass of bourbon.
“Milk and Alcohol” by Dr. Feelgood
Song year: 1979
Nick Lowe wrote “Milk and Alcohol” after he saw a famous blues musician touring London who seemed in pretty bad shape.
Lowe gave the song to Dr. Feelgood, who added a heavy dose of menace to the performance. The resulting blues burner is bursting with punk energy.
“Rehab” by Amy Winehouse
Song year: 2006
Amy Winehouse delivered one of the best soul albums of the 21st century with Back to Black. The single “Rehab” perfectly tapped into the zeitgeist, as celebrities galore gleefully flouted their excesses.
“Rehab” will never go out of style, making it a great choice to kick off a night of drinks and dancing.
“In da Club” by 50 Cent
Song year: 2003
For those looking to turn the bar into a dance floor and get those hips shaking, the undeniable hook of 50 Cent's party anthem “In da Club” is sure to do the trick.
Whether it's your birthday or you want to party on a weekday, 50 Cent wants you to have a good time.
“Blame It” by Jamie Foxx ft. T-Pain
Song year: 2009
Most of us can relate to making a boneheaded move because you've had a little too much hooch. So, when actor-musician Jamie Foxx put a fine point on the concept with his hit “Blame It,” he automatically had a hit single on his hands.
Whether you put this one on preemptively or after you strike out, it'll always sound right.
“I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” by Merle Haggard
Song year: 1980
Merle Haggard lived pretty hard, but he managed to funnel all the heartbreak and drinking into some of the finest country music ever written.
“I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink” is not only the mantra of barflies around the world but was the 26th number one country hit for Haggard.
“Pary Up (Up In Here)” by DMX
Song year: 1999
Some songs get people excited, while others absolutely turn people up. DMX's “Party Up (Up In Here)” is the latter, with its incredibly catchy and energetic beat serving as the base for DMX's passionate and aggressive delivery.
Any bar anywhere will turn into a hyped-up nightclub when you spin this hip-hop classic.
Top Bar Songs of All Time, Final Thoughts
Whether your local haunt is a regular-laden Cheers-style tavern or a bass bumpin' hook-up spot, you'll want great music accompanying you. After all, the recipe for a night to remember is as simple as pairing the right drinks and jams.
It feels great to walk away from the jukebox while heads bop and bodies rock to your selections. Our list of the best bar songs will get you there.