There's a reason folks like John Mellencamp never shut up about the allure of America's small towns: They're treasures hiding amazing experiences and some completely unexpected culinary surprises. And pretty much every one has a great bar. The bars on this list represent the absolute best small-town drinking experiences in their respective states. They include immaculate cocktail parlors, rowdy dives, historic speakeasies, far-flung cowboy hangs, and waterfront oases, all located far from the big cities that usually hide all the spotlight. Pull up a stool: At these places, once you're in, you're a regular.

Government Street Grocery Address and Info
Ocean Springs
Population: 17,652
To truly understand why the Gulf Coast of Mississippi is so different from the rest of the state, go spend a night at Government Street Grocery in downtown Ocean Springs. Though the neighborhood is fantastic for bar-crawling, post up here and listen to local bands while sipping on craft beers and it feels more like Austin than the Deep South. The spacious outdoor patio fills up with the creative types who populate the area, where an art historian/bass player will educate you on state politics while you scarf down Grocery Fries covered in cheese, chili, and sour cream. The breeze from the water nearby keeps everyone cool, even on crowded summer nights, making a night at this little bar one of the most surprisingly great times you'll have in Mississippi. -- MM


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