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Bars that double as history lessons

Plenty of bars try to evoke history through their drinks and atmosphere (read: bartender wardrobes and facial hair).

But some spots are taking the effect beyond mimesis, incorporating old pieces into the design. From '70s toys to 450-year-old white oak, a variety of items from the past adorn these spots.

New York: Fashioned to look like its original 1855 incarnation, the Vault at Pfaff's is full of decorative relics. The bar that anchors the room clocks in at more than a century, while antique gun casings stud the walls and original granite and wrought iron is still visible.

Denver: When he's not cooking, Justin Cucci, chef-owner of recently opened Linger, is probably scouring eBay. "I have storage units full of stuff that I've gotten offline," he says. Case in point: After finding himself with boxes of the small pegs from Lite-Brite, Cucci painstakingly hand-placed each one into the bar to create its psychedelic design.

Portland, Oregon: At Jenn Louis's retro-happy Sunshine Tavern, the bar is composed of wood from a lane in a now-closed bowling alley. Old-school video-game consoles and a shuffleboard table provide additional throwback ambiance.

San Francisco: Even the walls and tables at cocktail haven Bar Agricole have a drink in them: The structures are fashioned from oak barrels that once contained wine.

Vault at Pfaff's 643 Broadway New York NY 10012 212-253-5421 Sunshine Tavern 3111 SE Division St. Portland OR 97202 503-688-1750 Linger 2030 W. 30th Ave. Denver CO 80211 303-993-3120 Bar Agricole 355 11th St. San Francisco CA 94103 415-355-9400

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