America's Best Dive Bars Slideshow
March 9, 2011
Toronado Pub, San Francisco
Bubba's Sulky Lounge, Portland, Maine
Sixteen-ounce cans of Pabst fuel the madness at this sprawling, flea market–fabulous complex featuring an Old West saloon, tons of taxidermy, a collection of lunch boxes and — as if you needed more — a light-up dance floor.
McGlinchey's Bar & Grill, Philadelphia
Smoke hangs heavy in the air at the grotty saloon, where the horseshoe-shaped bar is filled with creased old men puffing unfiltered cigarettes beside slumming twenty-somethings sipping on how-can-they-be-this-cheap microbrews. Chili dogs for a buck and a quarter seal the scummy deal.
Clermont Lounge, Atlanta
Sunken beneath the seamy Clermont Motor Hotel is this proudly sleazy strip joint, where amply proportioned dancers will, once you finish your beer, flatten the can between their bosoms.
Southgate House, Newport, Ky.
Near the Ohio River’s gushing banks sits the circa-1814 mansion where Abe Lincoln once bunked and prostitutes once prowled. Nowadays, the Southgate’s a kooky rocker clubhouse suited for glugging a whiskey-loaded Tommy Gun. It’s named after the weapon’s inventor, who was born at the Southgate.
Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon, Austin
Yelp/Jay B S (jaybsauceda.com)
On Sundays, come to this teensy roadhouse to drain longnecks of Lone Star, grub on gratis hot dogs and bet on a pooping chicken. A chicken coop with a numbered checkerboard floor crowns the pool table. If the fowl defecates on your number, you win!
Salty Dawg Saloon, Homer, Alaska
Halibut fishermen haunt the Salty Dawg Saloon, where currency and women's underwear cover the century-old walls. Tipplers congregate to guzzle salty dogs — salt-rimmed vodka-and-grapefruit greyhounds. Play nice, or your cranium could provide company for the bar’s real human skull.
Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas
“Shut up and drink” is the motto at this scuzzy, 24-hour rocker haunt where you can gamble with your money and your health. Specialties of the house include a bacon martini and the nuclear-green, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink “ass juice.”
Ms. Mae's, New Orleans
Forget Bourbon Street: For one of New Orleans’ finest bars, head uptown to this insanely cheap dump where, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you can buy a potent mixed drink for a dollar. Want a double? That’ll be an extra dollar, please.
Milo's Bocce Garden, St. Louis, Mo.
The nicotine-stained Italian joint offers dual backyard bocce courts where seniors and hepcats alike suck back cheap pitchers of Bud or locally brewed Schlafly Pale Ale, toss a couple frames and scarf down authentic meatball subs.
Zeitgeist, San Francisco
Moto-heads, punkers, and indie rockers alike congregate at this sprawling booze joint with a beer garden, greasy BBQ, and operating hours to make an alcoholic smile. The bar starts serving at 9 a.m. Too drunk to stumble home? Rent a room right above the bar.
The Mutiny, Chicago
There’s never a cover charge at the head-banging hangout, where heavy metal and punk bands often take the stage and beer is served in frosty, 32-ounce “supermugs” sold for as little as $4. A couple of those and you’ll be ready to investigate the King Kong–size urinal.
Mary's Club, Portland, Ore.
Portland has no shortage of strip-clubs, but the venerable Mary’s — it’s existed for nearly 50 years — wins us over with its laid-back vibe, killer jukebox, and more than two dozen kinds of beer served by a friendly crew of female bartenders. As a bonus, there’s a Mexican restaurant attached to the bar.
The 5 Point Café, Seattle, Wa.
Wikimedia Commons/Ricardo Martins
“We cheat tourists and drunks” is one of the slogans at this Seattle legend, where duct tape stabilizes the furniture and the men’s bathroom features a jerry-rigged periscope providing a view of the Space Needle. To sop up the 16-ounce cans of Olympia and 40-ouncers of Olde English, breakfast is served all day and night, including a gargantuan chicken fried steak.
Mac's Club Deuce, Miami
At this antidote to trendy Miami Beach, the neon-drenched fun runs from 8 a.m. to 5 a.m., featuring plenty of pool, cut-rate drinks, and a crowd that runs the gamut from senior citizens to tattoo artists, trannies, and slumming swells.
Gotham City Lounge, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Once a storefront church, this bunker-like bar is now a holy shrine to superheroes and comic books, with collectibles covering every corner. Don’t care for Batman or Robin? You’ll be plenty pleased by the $3 PBR-and-whiskey special.