America's Best Dive Bars

A dive bar is a casual, neighborhood hangout, maybe a little disreputable, maybe just fun

Photo Modified: Flickr/gogostevie

Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis, Minn.

With cocktails strong enough to take the enamel off your teeth and cheap pitchers of Hamms, Palmers is a certain bet to get you sloshed starting at 8 a.m. weekdays, if you need an eye-opener. Understandably, Palmers is popular with punks, bikers, and an assorted grab bag of degenerates, who all comingle lest they get their names added to the lengthy 86d list. Oh, and the free bands are consistently rocking, too.

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The Patriot Saloon, New York City

In this two-floor honky-tonk populated by bums, construction workers, and Wall Street suits alike, pitchers of beer run less than $10, served up by barmaids who dance on the bar top as busty as they are surly. And enter the bathroom only if youve been immunized.

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The King Eddy Saloon, Los Angeles

Yelp/Jasmijn E.

In a skin-deep city built on gloss and sheen, we thank our lucky Hollywood stars that this downtown L.A. Skid Row dive endures. At this former Prohibition-era speakeasy "where nobody gives a sh*t about your name," you can pair your microwaveable cheeseburger and pizza with $2.50 well drinks and cold beer for a couple quarters more. Extra points for the glassed-in smoking room.

Springwater Supper Club & Lounge, Nashville, Tenn.

Yelp/Mariela C.

Formerly a speakeasy that, according to lore, once hid Al Capone, this low-lit Nashville dive is a smoke-shrouded ode to inexpensive excess — well, cheap beer. Sure, you can play darts, pool, and watch bands play on what might be the world’s crappiest, crackliest PA system, but a better bet is getting blotto during the Tuesday-night karaoke blowout.

The Republican, Philadelphia

Yelp/Monica S.

Like a fruit fly, the Republican has a woefully brief life span. The political meeting hall turned after-hours club is only open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. But during that brief, smoke-drenched hour, debauchery reigns supreme. Going to here is always a bad idea, which is exactly why you should go.

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.

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.

Double Down Saloon, Las Vegas

“Shut up and drink” is the motto at this scuzzy, 24-hour rocker haunt where you can gamble your money and your health. Specialties of the house include a bacon martini and the nuclear-green, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink “ass juice.”

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Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon, Austin

Yelp/Jay B S (

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!

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. Dont care for Batman or Robin? Youll be plenty pleased by the $3 PBR-and-whiskey special.

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.

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Mary's Club, Portland, Ore.

Portland has no shortage of strip-clubs, but the venerable Marys its 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, theres a Mexican restaurant attached to the bar.

McGlinchey's Bar & Grill, Philadelphia

Yelp/Dave H.

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.

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.

Ms. Mae's, New Orleans

Wikimedia Commons/Infrogmation

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 about a dollar. Want a double? That’ll be an extra buck, please.

The Mutiny, Chicago

Theres 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 youll be ready to investigate the King Kongsize urinal.

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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.

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Toronado Pub, San Francisco

At first blush, the sticker-strewn tavern on San Francisco’s famed Haight Street may seem like a buck-a-beer watering hole. But closer inspection reveals dozens of tap handles lining the walls and more than 40 craft beers, most sold for barely more than the price of a Bud.

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.

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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.

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