Sweet Spots: Classic Soda Fountains That Will Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

Favorite Soda Fountains

Cheapism / Michel F., Cindy M./Yelp

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Favorite Soda Fountains
Cheapism / Michel F., Cindy M./Yelp

Old School Haunts

With a long history dating back to the early 19th century, soda fountains have long been stylishly appointed destinations that attracted all ages, whether it was for a refreshingly carbonated soda water, a supposed medicinal remedy, or simply an ice cream treat. During Prohibition, the popularity of soda fountains surged as they replaced bars as the community social center, and their popularity continued to grow over the decades. While the number of soda fountains across the U.S. declined dramatically beginning in the 1970s, there are still plenty of old fashioned soda fountains — and some newbies — operating across the country serving up classic treats like floats, malts, phosphates, sundaes, and diner fare that will transport customers back to the past.

Related: The 20 Oldest Ice Cream Shops in America

La King's Confectionery, Galveston, Texas
La King's Confectionery/Yelp

La King's Confectionery

Galveston, Texas
La King's is a sugar wonderland. Besides operating a vintage 1920s soda fountain, the owners make their own candy, including salt water taffy, divinity, pralines, and all kinds of chocolates. They use 19th-century formulas and recipes, and you can watch the whole process from the dining area. Jimmy King started making candy back in 1927, and in 1976, his son opened the current iteration of the business. 

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Strawberry Cheesecake Yogurt, La King's Confectionery, Galveston, Texas
Jeanette N./Yelp

La King's Confectionery: Don't Miss

At the soda fountain in La King's, you can get Purity Ice Cream, the oldest brand of ice cream in Texas. It dates back to 1889, when it opened in Galveston. La King's is now the only spot you can get it, and the company produces only enough to fill the tubs in the fountain. A scoop of coffee bean flake is great on its own, but is even better blended into a frappe.

Aglamesis Brothers, Cincinnati
Elyse F./Yelp

Aglamesis Brothers

Brothers Thomas and Nicholas Aglamesis, immigrants from Greece, founded their first soda fountain in 1908. During the Great Depression, it was named Aglamesis Brothers, and now the third generation of the family operates the soda fountain and candy company. The interior is simple and beautiful, with a white marble soda fountain, pale pink accents and Tiffany-style floral lamps on the bar.

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Aglamesis Brothers, Cincinnati
Michelle D./Yelp

Aglamesis Brothers: Don't Miss

The ice cream at Aglamesis Brothers is homemade with simple ingredients, as is the sorbet-like Italian ice that comes in flavors like champagne and red raspberry — both of which match the pink decor. If a plain cone isn't fancy enough for you, try one of the gourmet sundaes, many of which come with chocolate ice cream. The raspberry hot fudge is made with chocolate ice cream, fresh-crushed raspberry sauce, hot fudge, and plenty of whipped cream.

Zaharakos, Columbus, Indiana
Cara S./Yelp


Columbus, Indiana 
Zaharakos originally opened in 1900, and the interior is still a gem. A long, white marble bar and soda fountain are surrounded by intricate oak detailing and Tiffany-style stained glass, including a huge and intricate lamp on the bar. There's so much history here that there's even a soda fountain museum on the second floor, featuring soda fountains and syrup dispensers from the 1800s. 

Related: The Best Milkshakes in Every State

Zaharakos, Columbus, Indiana
Sahil J./Yelp

Zaharakos: Don't Miss

The onyx soda fountain serves up carbonated water for sodas in all kinds of flavors, including Green River, Dr. Pepper, and a variety of flavored Cokes, including chocolate, red raspberry, and cinnamon. Try a Gom sandwich, which is their version of the sloppy joe, and then finish your meal with a brownie sundae or The Big Z with five scoops of ice cream and three toppings. 

Related: Unique Comfort Food From Every State  

Brooklyn Farmacy, Brooklyn, New York

Brooklyn Farmacy

Brooklyn, New York
The Brooklyn Farmacy only opened in 2010, but it feels like it's been open for decades longer. It's housed in a space that was once an apothecary called Longos Pharmacy, which operated beginning around the 1920s to the 1960s, followed by several more pharmacy-related incarnations before being abandoned for over a decade. The renovation work that the space required was almost too much for current owners Peter and Gia Freeman to take on, and their vision of a modern twist on the classic soda fountain nearly fizzled. But a chance encounter led to Brooklyn Farmacy being featured on the TV show "Construction Intervention," and the pair received the helping hand and TV magic needed to bring the dream to life.

S'more  Amazing, Brooklyn Farmacy, Brooklyn, New York
Ice P./Yelp

Brooklyn Farmacy: Don't Miss

Now the Farmacy serves as a community gathering spot for the neighborhood. Customers come and enjoy egg creams, specialty sundaes like the chocolate-intensive Total Eclipse, and a menu of classic sandwiches like egg salad and pastrami.

The Ice Cream Bar, San Francisco

The Ice Cream Bar

San Francisco 
The Ice Cream Bar is so lovely it looks like it was taken right off a movie set. Modeled after a 1930s-era soda fountain, it features art deco decor with clean lines and mirrors reminiscent of a vintage train dining car. The soda fountain itself was originally from Mackinaw City, Michigan and was driven across the country to its new home.

The Ice Cream Bar, San Francisco
Kelly R./Yelp

The Ice Cream Bar: Don't Miss

Everything at The Ice Cream Bar is made from scratch, including their ice cream, waffle cones, candies, tinctures, syrups, and even the bread for their sandwiches. BLT sandwiches on thick toast are made with heirloom tomato slices and served with homemade pickles. Alcohol is served too, so you can order "remedies" — drinks with ingredients like vermouth in addition to phosphates and honey ice cream.

Shady Glen Dairy Stores, Manchester, Connecticut
Steven P./Yelp

Shady Glen

Manchester, Connecticut
John and Bernice Rieg opened the first Shady Glen Dairy Store in 1948. They owned a dairy farm, and were looking for a way to diversify their business, so they started making ice cream. Today, not much has changed in the diner-like restaurant, where shakes served in a glass alongside the extra in the metal mixing cup are still popular.

Shady Glen Dairy Stores, Manchester, Connecticut
Ann S./Yelp

Shady Glen: Don't Miss

Besides sundaes topped with hot butterscotch or maple nut toppings, Shady Glen's most popular item is Bernice's cheeseburger. As the burger cooks on the flattop, four pieces of cheese are shingled on top, coming into direct contact with the griddle. That cheese turns into a crispy ring around the beef, almost like a cracker. It's so unique and beloved that it was recognized in 2012 by the James Beard Foundation as an American classic.

Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard, Illinois

Doc's Just Off 66

Girard, Illinois
Scores of people drive down historic Route 66 every year, and many of them stop at Doc's Just Off 66. It opened in 1884 as Deck's Drug Store, and the soda fountain was added in 1929 during Prohibition. It was run by three generations of the Deck family, and then reopened in 2007 as Doc's Soda Fountain. In December 2021, Steve and Casey Claypool bought the property and renamed it Doc's Just Off 66, keeping the soda fountain in place.

Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard, Illinois
Doc's Soda Fountain

Doc's Just Off 66: Don't Miss

Deck brothers Bob and Bill realized that they had a treasure trove of antique drug store and soda fountain artifacts that weren't being used (and some that still are, like the fountain itself!), so they created a pharmacy museum within the space. Still on display are all kinds of antique medicine bottles, boxes, and drug store items. It's a great trip down memory lane while sipping on a jerk-poured Green River or cherry Coke soda.

The Pickwick Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, Greenville, South Carolina
Jeff E./Yelp

The Pickwick Pharmacy and Soda Fountain

Greenville, South Carolina
The history of soda fountains and pharmacies are inextricably linked thanks to the 19th-century belief that sodas could function as medicinal remedies. There are a few soda fountains that still act as modern day pharmacies, like The Pickwick. Currently run by the third generation of the Odom family, it opened in 1947 and sports both a soda fountain counter and a retail store and pharmacy today.

The Pickwick Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, Greenville, South Carolina
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The Pickwick Pharmacy and Soda Fountain: Don't Miss

The chrome-covered vintage soda fountain restaurant was closed for a period, but in 2007 was renovated and brought back to its former glory. It features 20 flavors of ice cream and seating for about 50 people. The simple menu includes sandwiches like the Southern staple pimento cheese and chili dogs, flavored Cokes, ice cream sodas and floats, and banana splits.

Elliston Place Soda Shop, Nashville, Tennessee
Elliston Place Soda Shop/Yelp

Elliston Place Soda Shop

Nashville, Tennessee
The Elliston Place Soda Shop, operating since 1939, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular spot for photo shoots, movie filming, and music videos due to its vintage charm. Each booth has a mini jukebox on the wall, but if you sit on a red vinyl stool at the counter, you'll have to use the jukebox at the back.

Elliston Place Soda Shop, Nashville, Tennessee
Elliston Place Soda Shop/Yelp

Elliston Place Soda Shop: Don't Miss

The food at Elliston Place is classic Southern cuisine. Biscuits, grits, and country ham are morning go-tos, while the meat-and-three menu with fried catfish and pot roast is popular for lunch and dinner. A thick-sliced, fried bologna-and-cheese sandwich served with Duke's mayonnaise is something everyone should try at least once. If you still have room, a butterscotch malt, banana pudding, or banana split await for dessert.

Clinton's Soda Fountain, Independence, Missouri
Clinton's Soda Fountain

Clinton's Soda Fountain

Independence, Missouri
Though Clinton's Soda Fountain only dates to 1988, a young Harry Truman used to be a soda jerk in the very same 1800s-era building. Before it became Clinton's, the building housed a pharmacy, shoe store, jewelry shop, and another soda fountain. The marble bar top is 100 years old, and the wood back bar came from another soda fountain in Kansas.

Banana Split, Clinton's Soda Fountain, Independence, Missouri
Clinton's Soda Fountain/Yelp

Clinton's Soda Fountain: Don't Miss

You can still order Harry Truman's favorite item: a sundae made with chocolate ice cream and butterscotch sauce. If that doesn't fit the bill, there's always a classic grasshopper with mint chip ice cream, hot fudge, and Oreos. Phosphates are available in 14 different flavors, ranging from the old favorite, grape, to more modern mango.

Leopold's Ice Cream, Savannah, Georgia

Leopold's Ice Cream

Savannah, Georgia
Founded in 1919 by three brothers from Greece, Leopold's is now owned by one of their sons. Stratton Leopold learned to make ice cream in the shop as a child alongside his father and uncles. He left the business to pursue a career in Hollywood, and he's now a producer. He has worked on films like "Mission: Impossible III" and "The Sum of All Fears." In 2004, he decided to recreate his father's business, including the black marble soda fountain and telephone booth.

Leopold's Ice Cream, Savannah, Georgia
Christina N./Yelp

Leopold's Ice Cream: Don't Miss

The signature ice cream flavor at Leopold's is tutti frutti, a bright-pink mix of rum-flavored ice cream, candied fruit, and Georgia pecans. It's been served since they opened, along with the lemon custard and rum bisque flavors. Besides all kinds of ice cream treats, you can get Greek yogurt parfaits, shrimp salad sandwiches, and club sandwiches made with meats roasted in-house.

Hillside Farmacy, Austin, Texas
Michel F./Yelp

Hillside Farmacy

Austin, Texas
Hillside Drugstore was originally opened in the 1950s by pharmacist Doc Young and his family. A couple decades later it closed, and the building stood vacant for many years until the Hillside Farmacy owners lovingly restored it. It now features copper-topped tables, hexagonal white tile floors, cane chairs, and a beautiful green-lit bar display.

Hillside Farmacy, Austin, Texas
David L./Yelp

Hillside Farmacy: Don't Miss

Hillside Farmacy is as much a restaurant and bar as it is a soda fountain. The menu of modern, locally sourced dishes includes winter squash bisque, crab cakes, kale caesar salad, and oxtail ragout. Its homemade fountain sodas contain flavor combinations like strawberry, basil, and balsamic, and can be made with alcohol. Check out the weekday happy hour for discounts on food and drinks.

Shug's Soda Fountain + Ice Cream, Seattle
Cindy M./Yelp

Shug's Soda Fountain + Ice Cream

Located in the iconic Pike Place Market, Shug's is a new soda fountain that's serving up modern versions of favorite classics. The space is bright and cheery with pastel colors, green plants, and a map of Seattle on an accent wall.

S'mores Sundae, Shug's Soda Fountain + Ice Cream, Seattle
Min L./Yelp

Shug's Soda Fountain + Ice Cream: Don't Miss

Syrups, sauces, and toppings at Shug's are homemade, and the shop serves local Lopez Island Creamery ice cream. Specialty sundaes are outstanding and often awe-inspiring, including the S'more with homemade marshmallows toasted on top, and the Crescent Moon with masala chai sauce over salted caramel ice cream and cinnamon toast brioche croutons. Shug's also serves alcohol, so try a refreshing prosecco float with peach sorbet.

Chocolates, Lagomarcino's, Moline, Illinois
Hannah G./Yelp


Moline, Illinois
With two locations in the Quad Cities, Lagomarcino's has been in business since the Lagomarcino family opened it 1908. The shop makes its own candies in the original copper kettle, as well as its own ice cream for all the soda fountain treats. The shop is now being run the fourth generation of family members.

Sundae, Lagomarcino's, Moline, Illinois
Dan O./Yelp

Lagomarcino's: Don't Miss

Don't go to Lagomarcino's without getting a hot fudge sundae. The recipe for the bittersweet fudge sauce was sold to the family by a peddler in 1918 for $25 and the shop still makes it the same way. It's served in a little glass mug alongside the ice cream. That way, you can pour it on yourself and avoid too much melted ice cream before digging in.

Chugwater Soda Fountain, Chugwater, Wyoming

Chugwater Soda Fountain

Chugwater, Wyoming
If you've always wanted to sip a chocolate malt under the watchful eyes of a beloved taxidermied elk named Wendall, then the Chugwater Soda Fountain should be on your bucket list. Everything about it feels very Wild West, right down to the building that was built in 1914. The town only has about 200 people living in it, so it serves as a community watering hole. You may be one of only a few people siding up to the worn wooden stools, but even five others is a sizeable portion of the local population.

Chili, Chugwater Soda Fountain, Chugwater, Wyoming

Chugwater Soda Fountain: Don't Miss

A big bowl of chili or a barbecue beef sandwich are diner favorites at Chugwater. Breakfast is equally hearty, with biscuits and cream gravy or breakfast burritos smothered in green chili. Shakes, malts, and sodas are available in myriad flavors, including unusual ones like Irish cream, toasted marshmallow, and macadamia nut.

Crown Candy Kitchen, St. Louis
Maggie H./Yelp

Crown Candy Kitchen

St. Louis
Crown Candy Kitchen is the oldest soda fountain in St. Louis, having opened in 1913. It's still being run by the founders' three grandsons, plus their children help out as well. The dining room has small wooden booths and antique Coca-Cola signs and ephemera on the walls. They make all their own candy, desserts, and soda fountain treats.

Heart Stopping BLT, Crown Candy Kitchen, St. Louis
Karen K./Yelp

Crown Candy Kitchen: Don't Miss

Crown Candy is popular at lunch and dinner with their menu of substantial sandwiches and chili. The Heart Stopping BLT includes a mound of crispy bacon piled onto thick-cut bread. Malts made with homemade ice cream are the must-try here, including the Johnny Rabbit Special, a banana malt with whipped cream, nuts, and nutmeg. If you can finish five malts in 30 minutes, you get your name on a plaque on the wall. Only about 60 people have finished them all since 1913.

The Franklin Fountain, Philadelphia
Sari Marissa G./Yelp

The Franklin Fountain

Inspired by a marble portrait of Ben Franklin, who began his adult life nearby in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia, brothers Ryan and Eric Berley opened the Franklin Fountain in 2004. The corner store's design looks older than most, with a tin ceiling, dark wood signs and accents, and a wooden-and-stained glass back bar.

Mount Vesuvius with S'mores and Marshmallows, The Franklin Fountain, Philadelphia
Nick D./Yelp

The Franklin Fountain: Don't Miss

All of the sauces and ice creams are made in house at the Franklin Fountain. Hydrox, the chocolate sandwich cookie that was invented before the Oreo, takes its place in vanilla ice cream. The root beer is made with brown sugar, anise, birch, cinnamon and sassafras, and makes an excellent float. Phosphates are made the old fashioned way with a couple drops of citric or phosphoric acid to give them bite.

Spinning J, Chicago
Spinning J

Spinning J

Located in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, Spinning J is a modern soda fountain and pie shop. The 1928 marble soda fountain, stools and brass foot rail were salvaged from a basement outside Milwaukee. Now customers can enjoy it once again in a cozy space with rich, warm brown and gold color scheme.

Raspberry Lime Meringue Pie, Spinning J, Chicago
Michael U./Yelp

Spinning J: Don't Miss

All the soda syrups are made in house and come in unique flavors like passion fruit, grapefruit ginseng, and Thai tea egg cream. Gelato is used here, not ice cream, so add a scoop for a float. The owners previously ran a pie business, so it's always a great idea to order a slice of s'mores pie, or even a savory chicken or saag paneer pot pie for lunch.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy, South Pasadena, California
James A./Yelp

Fair Oaks Pharmacy

South Pasadena, California
A combination soda fountain, diner, pharmacy and toy store, Fair Oaks Pharmacy offers something everyone will enjoy. They go all-out with decorations for just about every holiday, and there's a large, nostalgic toy and candy section of the shop. It's been a well-known stop near the end of Route 66 since 1915.

Fair Oaks Pharmacy, South Pasadena, California
Stephanie N./Yelp

Fair Oaks Pharmacy: Don't Miss

Fair Oaks' lengthy food menu includes diner classics like pastrami, club sandwiches, patty melts and burgers topped with bacon and avocado. Shakes and malts are made with an entire pint of ice cream and can be topped with hot fudge, crushed cookies, or banana slices. The Kitchen Sink sundae serves at least four people with eight scoops of ice cream and eight toppings. If that's a little too much for you, try a lime rickey or a tart lemon phosphate.

Brent's Drugs, Jackson, Mississippi
Stephen S./Yelp

Brent's Drugs

Jackson, Mississippi
Brent's Drugs opened in 1946, and the soda fountain and classic bar stools are still in the same place today as they were back then. The large dining space was renovated in 2014, but has kept its charm with stainless steel accents and bright teal banquettes, stools, and chairs. Large windows let people see everything going on inside under an orange neon sign.

Brent's Drugs, Jackson, Mississippi
Shercole K./Yelp

Brent's Drugs: Don't Miss

The lengthy food menu is full of Southern specialties, like fried chicken biscuit sandwiches with honey or jelly, and a club sandwich made with pimento cheese. A bowl of cheese grits makes every breakfast extra filling. Shakes help wash everything down and come in flavors like the Ginger Finger with Butterfinger candy and ginger syrup. Always ask about the pie of the day, and always get it a la mode.

St. Francis Fountain, San Francisco
Joseph P. A./Yelp

St. Francis Fountain

San Francisco
The St. Francis Fountain was founded in 1912, and it got a complete makeover and renovation in 2002. Now it's one of the city's most beloved diners and soda fountains and a favorite spot to grab a casual breakfast or lunch, or buy a treat from the large and hard-to-find candy collection. While the inside is fairly nondescript with the usual long dining counter, the exterior neon signs are iconic.

Chef's Mess, St. Francis Fountain, San Francisco
Angelica C./Yelp

St. Francis Fountain: Don't Miss

The breakfast menu at St. Francis Fountain is a standout, and includes everything from standard scrambles and pancakes to a superb huevos rancheros. Chicken cilantro soup and patty melts are favorites at lunch. Wash it all down with a Dreamsicle, a rich drink concoction made with milk, orange juice, vanilla syrup, orange sherbert, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Eddie's Sweet Shop, New York
Jennifer R./Yelp

Eddie's Sweet Shop

New York 

Eddie's Sweet Shop is the oldest ice cream shop in New York City, having opened in 1925. Nothing has really changed much inside, including the equipment, like a decades-old refrigerator. There's lots of dark wood, well-worn stools at the bar, and tile mosaic floors.

Eddie's Sweet Shop, New York
Kristine E./Yelp

Eddie's Sweet Shop: Don't Miss

All of the ice cream at Eddie's is made on the premises using recipes from the original owners in flavors like pistachio pineapple and rum raisin. The sundaes are legendary for their massive size and the footed dishes they're served in. Stop at the candy counter on your way out for even more sugar to take home with you.

Fort Davis Drug Store & Hotel, Fort Davis, Texas
Fort Davis Drug Store & Hotel

Fort Davis Drug Store & Hotel

Fort Davis, Texas
The Fort Davis Drug Store first opened in 1913 inside the Hotel Limpia. In 1950, the business was moved across the street to where it is today. It's still got a red-topped 22-foot-long soda fountain and still operates as a hotel. A wooden exterior facade and Mission-style dark wood booths inside give it a Western feel.

Fort Davis Drug Store & Hotel, Fort Davis, Texas
Dave T./Yelp

Fort Davis Drug Store & Hotel: Don't Miss

The food at Fort Davis Drug Store is simple and filling, like biscuits and cream gravy for breakfast. Third-pound hamburgers and cheeseburgers are piled high with toppings in a toasted bun, while chicken-fried steak is a Texas classic. Cherry limeades and milkshakes are popular in the summer heat, and homemade daily pies are great anytime, even breakfast. 

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