The United States Of Motörhead

The best 50 bars in every U.S. state for toasting Lemmy Kilmister on the third anniversary of his death.

The United States Of Motörhead

No band will ever be as awesome as Motörhead, but Denver’s Speedwolf tried their damnedest. Reed Bruemmer is Speedwolf’s frontman, a rock-and-roll lifer, and a Lemmy historian of local renown. Today, in honor of the third anniversary of Lemmy's death, he offers you a bar in every state of the USA in which to drink and remember Mr. Kilmister. Keep scrolling to check out his memorial Motörhead playlist.


It’s been three years, goddamnit. This December marks the third anniversary of Lemmy Kilmister’s death. And in January of 2018, following the passing of Fast Eddie Clark, all the original members of Motörhead had finally bitten the dust. Just like that, the speed freaks of rock 'n’ roll were gone. What other band was more timeless, steadfast, and consistent in their mission? We now know that after 45 years, there is no more Motorhead. How were we to cope? How shall we boogie? Who will shake our blood? Snakebite our wrist? Iron fist? The bacon torpedo? If you squeeze my lizard, do I put my snake on you?!

There is hope.

Nope, I lied--but there's booze!

I hope to inspire you with courage--liquid, that is. Stay pickled while attempting to honor God himself, and do it wrong. Do everything wrong. Get completely blown, wrecked, or distilled in the flesh. Ride to the tavern and park your motorcycle inside the bar. Scream-vomit upon a jukebox at the stroke of midnight, praying for your ear drums to burst. Curse the squares who’ve hijacked your watering holes, barstools, and airwaves. Challenge every patron to a fist fight and don’t forget that food in jail is free and there’s no vacancy. The felony part is your call, but remember, rock n’ roll isn’t up for discussion.

This is a list of ‘proper boozers’ where thou may sip and suck until you’ve been twisted to perfection. In tribute of course. In your own damn town. Be sure to keep your sunglasses on at all times. The volume up. Whiskey with coke. This is a ritual, and not a quiet night in.

2514 10th Ave S
Birmingham, AL 35205

A few themes will resonate throughout Motörhead-appropriate bars -- a lack of windows, rock and roll music, and blue-collar patrons. The Nick hosts all of these, and although there are quite a few watering holes on the outskirts of town in Alabama that I would normally prefer, this is a safe bet while in Birmingham.

20146 Pilots Rd
Chugiak, AK 99567

Alaska is the last frontier, and a rare breed of humans call it home. I’ve known bikers from up there that wore coonskin hats, gloves fit for a fur trapper, and two or more guns anywhere they roamed. It’s a faded manifest destiny, but it’s still there. The weather forces a unique trust of self-sufficiency that I’ve never seen in the lower 48, a true resilience and grit that used to thrive in America. The best way to catch a glimpse is to rub elbows with folks in places like The Birchwood. Imagine Phil Taylor not dead, but instead living in a cave dressed as Davey Crockett, just outside of town, and you’ve got the idea. After all, it’s in CHUG-iak.

6746 E Cave Creek Rd
Cave Creek, AZ

This is a real roadhouse, in a real desert town, full of real people. Major brand beer/whiskey is the drink of choice. Your parents most likely hang out there, which is cool. People open-carry guns, and they will call you a pussy for riding a Honda Shadow. The bartenders are hyper-tanned 21 year old women just graduated from Applebee’s. These things may upset most, but to me and guys like Lemmy I happen to find them all adorable. Drink up.

2500 W 7th St
Little Rock, AR 72205

Arkansas is tough and live music struggles. I’ve only toured through on occasion, and usually we just headed straight to Tennessee. Similar to parts of Missouri, most of Arkansas is lawless, or so it feels. Be as drunk as you want and scream your heart out on top of a mountain sprout. Plant your own organic meth garden. Do a burnout on brown grass in front of something important. White Water is a place where all things are possible. They book shows and serve booze.

267 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Yeah, no shit, of course you’d think the obvious answer would be The Rainbow, but you’re wrong. In fact, if you’ve ever been to that goofy parody-of-itself joint, then you’ll know exactly what I mean. I’ve been there eleven times in search of God Himself, and I never got a chance (although I did meet two pornstars and the singer of Puddle of Mud asked me to score him speed). For the real thing, take skid row right downtown to Five Star Bar. Heavy music, dirt, volume, people at the end of their rope, and headbanging.

2060 Champa St
Denver, CO 80205

The bar so nice they named it twice. The problem that happens when most folks utter “I just loooove going to dive bars” is that most real dives aren’t full of reclaimed wood and a bearded/tattooed bartender. A ‘dive’ is full of real people--people who’ve been really broke, people who really drink and only work to repeat it. These, I feel, are Lemmy’s people, and Bar Bar has them in spades. Not to mention, there’s an open blues jam on Sundays where I once saw a gentleman play a crack pipe as a harmonica. You can’t make that shit up.

120 Belden St
New Britain, CT 06051

This is a house where the living room is a bar, damnit. How cool is that? You walk through a fence and front yard, and then into a bar. You can enjoy cigarettes on the front porch. In fact, I still think you can smoke inside. I imagine the smoking laws are a little different when it’s your residence and business equally. Most patrons are over 40 and hate the modern world. When you open the front door, beaming a triangle of daylight across the floor, you’ll get the slow cold stares of real drunks wondering ‘What the hell did you do that for?’ Pure Motörhead.

500 Greenhill Ave
Wilmington, DE 19805

Bingo with drag queens in a strip mall is refreshing. Live music and old couches are also comforting. And as silly as this sounds, nothing in a regular bar is more fitting for a hard-working drunk like Lemmy than a leather bound high-barstool that swivels.

1450 Skipper Rd
Tampa, FL 33613

Florida is hard to understand--you have to go north to feel like you’re in the South, most folks have an East Coast accent, and everyone is on pills (including grandma). But I guess it’s paradise? This strip mall bar has charm, and I love it. I once took shots with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher and another guitarist of Cannibal Corpse, asking when they’d make a shirt with the cover artwork for the Euro-Maxi Single of ‘Hammer Smashed Face’ on it. Look for rock n roll inside and take a brisk short walk for crack nearby.

789 Ponce De Leon Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306

For those of us who’ve been, this is an obvious choice. Low key and too wild. Employees smashing beers can between breasts. And a colorful crowd of serious creeps. I highly recommend the karaoke-with-strippers nights, where I believe they still have Ace of Spades in the sticky book of songs.

153 Hamakua Dr # A
Kailua, HI 96734

Located just around the horn from Honolulu, Creekside Lounge the only dive on Oahu. The only time I visited Hawaii I imagined it being home to hundreds of old Japanese May Thai dungeons reminiscent of secret island opium dens. Instead, it was Rip Curl t-shirts, women with vacation corn rows, and Japanese men smoking like it was their job. I envisioned Lemmy wearing a rising sun headband, frighteningly short shorts, swinging a Marlboro-brand samurai sword in the face of scared tourists and shouting, “That’s not vacation, mate, this is how you do it!”

430 S 10th Street
Boise, ID 83702

To some this may seem a quiet hideout for the skate-thugs of the Foot Clan, but to the real drunks of the world who hate quaint and live for darkness, look no further than this, the only DIY heavy music compound in Boise. Live music, old video games, a small back patio, and it’s all located in a warehouse district where you can pee on most objects.

2100 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

This tiny watering hole is host to a slew of events catering to the thriving metal community of Chicago. Once a month, they host the Metal Market, an open swap meet. Most beers are under $5 during Happy Hour, and no one will bother you as you stare a hole into the bar top below your drink. Say hola to the Satanic Hispanics selling bootleg shirts in the back and buy Matt Putrid a Jameson for me.

1121 Broadway
Ft. Wayne, IN 46802

John Mellencamp was from Indiana. He was born in a small town and sung about pink houses for shitty presidential campaigns in the ‘80s. Lemmy was not, and did neither. Could you imagine if he had some sort of mid-career crisis and asserted Cougar as his middle name? Lemmy Cougar Kilmeister, the singer of Middle Americahead. That was a dumb joke, but I like this bar.

3013 Ingersoll
Des Moines, IA 50312

Linoleum countertops are en vogue en Middle America. Or should I say, durability is? Or should I just say function and not fashion? Anyway, this bar is great. They serve cheap beer, it’s small, and the patrons are mostly bikers and punks. Remember punk? Remember bikers? Lemmy remembered both, always. Chug.

4048 Broadway St
Kansas City, MO 64111

There’s a slight amount of sleaze and tackiness that every rock n’ roll fan should enjoy, whether they’ll admit it or not. And believe me, in middle America, your rocker options are limited. For instance, I really don’t like Pantera, yet under the glow and hum of a bar-top Jagermeister machine, anything’s possible. This fine establishment was host to Order From Chaos’ first reunion show, for which I drove 20 hours roundtrip (hung over both ways). I headbanged so hard that I hit Chuck Keller’s guitar neck and was bleeding purple (Jaeger).

1398 S 2nd St
Louisville, KY 40208

Kentucky is worn the fuck out. It’s one of the poorest states in the union, and drugs are killing tons of people. Not to paint a negative picture, but there’s plenty of reasons to blow off steam through the hard times in places like these. Rock n’ roll used to be the medicine that brought us back to life. Sink in your stool under a neon sign that glows ‘air-conditioning.’ Live music, posters of naked tits, and cold beer are readily available.

2227 St Claude Ave
New Orleans, LA 70117

Simply put, this is THE bar in New Orleans for rock n’ roll and heavy metal, owned by one Mr. Muscle, one of the few who kept the music alive after ‘the storm.’ Pour anything you want into a plastic cup, don’t expect to ever find a door in the bathroom, and try the Russian vegan food -- it’s surprisingly hearty, although lacking the cruelty and iron you prefer. I imagine Lemmy seated near the front door, scowling at the sidewalk full of crust punks whom won’t pay the $5 cover but insist on posing outside, Instagraming how they’re best friends with Big Freedia.

6427 Harford Rd
Baltimore, MD 21214

Motörhead is motorcycle music. On Iron Horse we ride, and Iron Horse we’d gladly die. Stop thumbing up the screen on your phone (unless reading this article) and twist a throttle. Ride to The Holiday House. Breathe in the wood paneled walls and gaze in fear at the photos of your mothers and classifieds from Easy Riders plastered throughout.

MASSACHUSETTS - O'BRIEN'S PUB 3 Harvard Ave Allston, MA 02134

I nominated a bar near Boston with an Irish name--shocker! Upon first inspection, O’Brien’s may seem dull, but it’s willingness to provide a platform for heavy music in blue-blood Demobrat hell gives us all some hope. I once played a show there, joyously sang along to Motörhead with a friend’s band, was told that my band sounded like DMZ (old Boston band RnR), and left feeling rejuvenated by Boston’s sharp wit. I told a stranger I missed Seth Putnam and Drop Dead. He laughed and sincerely understood my grief. Boston is still built for speed.

2930 Jacob St
Hamtramck, MI 48212

I once played a show here with a band called Shitfucker. I argued about football with the shared guitarist of Acid Witch. We played with total tour-hardened precision to a packed crowd of silence. I nervously cracked jokes and thanked the audience and city of Detroit for it’s rock n roll. We finished to no laughter, no clapping--just blank stares. Then the bartender looked me dead in the eye, clapped once, turned to the stereo, cranks Under My Wheels by Alice Cooper, and the entire bar erupted in cheer. Totally confused, we unloaded our gear, proceeded to stay at Dick Shitfucker’s house, and fell asleep to the sounds KISS’ Love Gun album at full volume from his sex dungeon. Lemmy would approve.

409 E Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55414

In big city America, the recent thematic selling scheme is to make your inner city bar look and feel like a dusty VFW worn-wood hole in the wall. Funny how that works, huh? Somehow, what’s been business-as-usual in small town USA for decades has become all the rage at the height of urban blight. All you internet outlaws and rugged Instagram cowboys better hold onto your hats at your art director job. You will be laughed out the front door at Terminal Bar and Lemmy’s ghost will mumble strange British insults at you while puffs of Marlboro brand tobacco dissipate in the air.

5035 I-55 North Frontage
Jackson, MS 39206

This is a roadhouse where you will get your ass kicked. You can still smoke inside, because it’s your God-given right. Go to Jackson, comb your hair, and get drunk.

5841 Bunkum Rd
Washington Park, IL 62204

East St. Louis is technically not a part of the state of Missouri, but it is definitely incorporated within the territories of sleaze and double wide. During my many times playing shows in STL, our band of degenerates would drink until bars closed in the city and eventually make our way to the East Side and seize the extra two hours of legal drinking. I’ll never forget the first time I entered Scarlett’s and saw a man groping multiple strippers. I chuckled and waited for security to remove the customer’s head but was shocked when the I realized the dancers encouraged this kind of behavior. I’ve been all over the world and to my fair share of tit taverns but this was unheard of. Who knows if Lemmy would approve?

123 E Main St
Bozeman, MT 59715

I once stopped in Bozeman after a long motorcycle ride on I-90, very thirsty. Crystal Bar was a breath of fresh dust. Shortly after my quench I was looking at a map on my phone measuring out distances for my next fuel stop. I paused and looked around the bar noticing that I was the only patron staring at a phone. Feelings of embarrassment, then relief, and overall joy sunk in. People were telling each other stories, conversing with staff, and socially networking the old-fashioned way. Old souls like Lemmy live in establishments like this.

1510 N Saddle Creek Rd
Omaha, NE 68104

Speed is always in season in Nebraska. If you enjoy your liquor a shade of dark amber (and your drugs of choice colored the same), may I suggest Omaha? I highly doubt cities like this will ever be victim of gentrification. Lifer’s like Lemmy would easily soak up the shadows and shut in to the The Homy Inn. Be sure to try the champagne on tap.

4640 Paradise Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89169

I’ve been thankful to tour all over the world in my short time on earth, and it’s given me more experiences and life lessons than I can count. It’s the kind of world where you have to learn to roll with the punches, because frankly you don’t have a choice. For instance, I’ve played Las Vegas’ Double Down Saloon probably four or five times in my younger days. Never did they have a PA when we showed up, nor did they know we were playing. The shows always started as a nightmare and ended up the funnest nights of my life. No windows, incredibly dark, and the sweet smell of beer mold. Enjoy.

St. Rose Of Lima Cemetery
77 Clay St
Littleton, NH

If Lemmy is god, GG was a close fourth. His work reflects back to a time when punk was violent, mysterious and disgusting. No politics, no religion, just the music versus everyone. No need to try to find the finer connections between Lemmy and GG, but please chug something at his grave site because there aren’t many bars Lemmy would like in New Hampshire.

620 Van Houten Ave
Clifton, NJ 07013

My initial impressions of Jersey is that of one giant industrial suburb between two major US cities. Hard rock thrives in the burbs. Folks in NYC snicker at the mention of the Garden State, but take a break from pretentiousness, and you’ll find your inner bonehead. This bar might be the the one place outside of Canada where a Manowar shirt, a screaming skull bandana and a fingerless gloves might get you laid.

311 Central Ave NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

To be fair, it helps Knockouts’ reputation that there really aren’t a ton of places with action in Albuquerque. If you are in town, some honorable mentions include going to Frontiers for X-Mas-smothered anything or walk down Central soaking up the tweakers, lowriders, and alien radiation. Ask a local where they got their face tattoo, take an inner tube to Indian School ditch and wait for rain, and see if you can find remnants of punk near the campus. Whatever you do, stop by Knockouts. May I recommend the well tequila? It’s very popular.

644 Sackett St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Lucky 13 isn’t my favorite bar in Brooklyn, but I do believe Lemmy would’ve liked it the most. It possesses equal parts middle-aged pseudo tough guy cheese and brand new biker leather smell. There are stripper poles on the bar. One week, Mortician is exalting a zombie massacre live, and the next a cross-forearmed bartender with a ski-jump hat bill could be proclaiming how ‘totally sick the new Volbeat album is bro.’ Charm and cheese with a touch of sleaze: seems more fitting for Lemmy than let’s say any other signless artisanal junk hole in Brooklyn.

513 W Peace St
Raleigh, NC 27603

I’ve never been to this bar. Recommended by a friend. Raleigh’s okay. The tobacco in Lemmy’s cigarettes is grown nearby. Beer and neon lights pair well.

16 12th St S
Fargo, ND 58103

I threw up outside of Duffy’s once and was driven home by a large Native bouncer named Hector to a hotel that had blood on the bed sheets. Rednecks from the north rule. Lemmy would drink here.

11213 Detroit Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44102

The owner of NTC knows he’s got THE most punk bar in town. He does what he pleases, like creating two venues in one, building a full half pipe in front of a stage, and serving malt liquor on a menu. Stop in on Sundays and watch a Browns’ game for the Halftime Huff, where customers huff paint out of a shared brown bag. Or smash the designated stool for when the team loses (cause they will). Rust belt rock n roll forever!

520 E 3rd St
Tulsa, OK 74120

Tulsa is a window to the past and glimmer for the future: a small town where a young music fan can do anything they’d like. Here, you can buy a house for a reasonable price, book your own festivals, and start five bands. In towns like this, it only takes one driven person to keep the scene alive. One of the most standup and hard-working individuals that I’ve had the pleasure of working with lives in Tulsa and does all of those things. His favorite bar is The Fur Shop. Once, while on tour, our van broke down outside the bar. I looked inside for a helping hand, and found an ASE-certified mechanic who asked me to hold both his pistols and pour beer into his mouth while he re-wired our ignition switch. God bless America. Stone deaf in the USA!

3620 SE 35th Pl
Portland, OR 97202

Portland is where punks go to die and then start another band. There are tons of strip clubs here, and they’re all a blast, but only Rose City Strip has a giant Motörhead mural and King Diamond posters on the wall. They even do heavy metal trivia nights. Viva rock music in strip joints. As for the northwest, less bloggers, more loggers, amen.

3117 Brereton St
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Pennsylvania is a rectangular dutch blue collar hell that includes some of the best bars in the country, but this one takes the cake. Gooski’s is located next to nothing else cool and on a street where there isn’t really anything but old houses. In fact, the bar feels as if it’s the first floor or some poor old Polish grandmothers home. There are Naugahyde bar stools and booths and fresh perogies made by nuns, and punk--what’s not to like?

1718 Westminster St
Providence, RI 02909

The Scurvy Dog is home in Providence, and Providence is the home of Dropdead, and guitarist Ben Arnett and vocalist Bob Otis are responsible for most of what’s punks in the region. I’m not sure if they’re mega fans of Lemmy since he adorned German war regalia, leather, cigarettes, and corporate booze -- the latter of which is specifically outlawed in The Dog -- but if there’s anywhere to drink to Lemmy’s health in Rhode Island, this would be it.

953 N Pleasantburg Dr
Greenville, SC 29607

The feeling of being trapped in a shack with beer and good times doesn’t hurt, and The Bar provides that in spades. Greenville is friendly and you can smoke almost anywhere. It’s your right as an American to pay to die as you please.

657 Main St
Deadwood, SD 57732

The Black Hills of South Dakota are a part of the country that every rocker should see, as it’s home to legendary Western outlaw folklore. As a fan, I’ve always interpreted Motörhead’s ‘Shoot You in the Back’ as a song about Wild Bill Hickok (being shot in the back might’ve been a dead giveaway). At Saloon #10 in Deadwood you can see the chair that Wild Bill died in. They have saw dust on the floor and serve bourbon. It’s corny and perfect, just like Lem himself.

115 27th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37203

Nashville, like most cities, has become a Disney-land parody of itself. In some corners, the cheese still turns into charm, and in others it’s sadly bulldozed and covered with a yoga mat. The young punks of the town would have you believe that the dives are Fubar or Duke’s, but leave those places to the brats and their phones. Venture over to the dead end of Broadway and stand in the shadow of the Parthenon. Enter a room full of real drinkers, mature and road-hard. A place where you can count the years of bad decisions on the walls next to hand-stapled decorations from Dollar General.

1502 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78702

From laid back live music hill country to screaming at the moon, high on acid, in Zilker park at midnight -- in Texas you may live and let live, freely. But the big takeover is here, folks: corporate yuppie hell has squashed the fun of Austin like a bug, and these days everybody’s whining. Well, I truly believe that Hotel Vegas might be that last spot in town. Introduce yourself to someone who’s got a band, and then hear about the seven others they play in. Check out the incredible posters made by artist Ben Tipton, try to mosh between to load-bearing poles, or pass out on the patio with strangers.

315 Main St
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

In a state that is notoriously strict on booze, good bars are scarce. I’m unaware of any current changes to Utah’s liquor laws, but in years prior, patrons had to be ‘sponsored’ in order to drink in ‘social clubs.’ Sounds like some 1920s shit, right? Nope, that’s the 2000s in the great mormon state of Utah: you’d walk in a tavern and plead with the oldest drunk to sponsor you for a drink that carried above 3.2% in alcohol. Something about this oppressive culture creates some real psychopaths, the kinds of guys who usually make great music and always have something to be angry about. Society’s realest individuals hide in plain sight, in places like Cheers To You. Go look for your benefactor.

16 Harmony Place
Brattleboro, VT 05301

Brattleboro is home to artists like J. Mascis and Dinosaur Jr, but I don’t like those groups and I don’t think Lemmy would either. What better place to retreat from music that is annoyingly melodic (and also somehow ear-piercing) thank a bar named after the place where the Joker rests his head? Go play air hockey and drown in Bud here -- Lemmy would’ve wanted it that way.

929 W Grace St
Richmond, VA 23220

Richmond has a slew of serious rock institutions who are dedicated to keeping the faith. Institutions like Vinyl Conflict, Gwar Bar, Best Friends Day, Municipal Waste, Battlemaster, and not far from the birthplace of American Hardcore. But Strange Matter is THE great place to enjoy a drink in the dark with a steady flow of live music.

433 Eastlake Ave E
Seattle, WA 98109

During my last visit to Seattle, I felt I had stumbled into a shitty Ralph Lauren commercial from 1992, wading through yuppies with sweaters draped over their shoulders docking vintage speedboats throughout the Sound. But hey, there’s still weed, remnants of bad grunge, and people clearing out their broom closet for rock n roll. Victory Lounge has all that, AND a patio, so you can bask in the, uh...grey.

14 1/2 Capitol St
Charleston, WV 25301

Hillbilly folks are a dying breed, and West Virginia is their last stand. If you’re just passing through or staying for a night, you can still feel the last salts of the earth sprinkled throughout places like Charleston. And in the local bars, you can still hear bits and of the true outlaw spirit that only exists in Appalachia. Lemmy was someone defined by his ability to walk his own path and never stray. Go to the Blue Parrot and experience it all before it’s too late.

2800 S Kinnickinnic Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53207

Milwaukee is the home of the great beer American machine, so of course Lemmy would feel at home here. I once had the pleasure of melting my brain to Christian Mistress in the back of Frank’s, so I’ll love it forever. Grow a beard, have a sausage, get fat and weird. Milwaukee loves Lemmy.

222 W Lincoln Way
Cheyenne, WY 82001

No true Motörhead fan will question Lemmy’s fascination with the old west. I know it sounds like regurgitated garbage when you hear, ‘In Wyoming, the spirit of the West lives,’ but unfortunately, in some of the most horrible ways, it really does. Locals are tough and going to town is still a big deal. It’s not uncommon to drink with cowboys, bikers, oil rig workers, and speed freaks. I once saw a man throw a dart into someone’s head, then watched an Ozzy tribute band and left swearing I’d never drink Crown Royal again. The Wild West earned its name. Not the Wild West Coast or the Wild East Coast, THE Wild West. Go see it and maybe even buy your drinks to go (yes, thats legal there).

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?