Despite being commonly associated with the simple life of the 1950s, the soda fountain saw its heyday at the turn of the 20th century. A bow-tied soda jerk was as skilled and serious as a modern day mixologist, custom-chipping ice cubes and swirling house-made syrups and bitters with seltzer pulled from the tap. By the time the bottle cap was invented and Prohibition came to an end, these ubiquitous national fixtures began to decline in number and popularity. Even many of the veterans quickly modernized, trading taps for machines, skill for convenience and local suppliers for big brands. Luckily, the institutions that have resisted change are joined by a growing list of new-school folks who are serious about reviving old-school ways, like New York’s beloved Bubby’s, which just opened a traditional fountain at the base of Manhattan’s High Line. Here’s a roundup of the best soda fountains across the country dedicated to keeping this all-American tradition alive.—Christina Liva

Food & Wine

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