The Best Dive Bar in Every State from The Best Dive Bar in Every State Gallery

The Best Dive Bar in Every State Gallery

Full Story
The Best Dive Bar in Every State
iStock

The Best Dive Bar in Every State

We love a world class bar here at The Daily Meal, trust us. But sometimes, you don’t want a $15 cocktail, a bartender who scoffs at you when you simply want a lager out of a can, or a candlelit speakeasy experience. Sometimes you just want a good old-fashioned dive bar. No matter where you live in the country, from the biggest coastal cities to a small town in Wyoming, we think everyone can appreciate a laid-back drinking atmosphere and some quirky wall décor. So we sought out the best dive in every state.

These places aren’t necessarily the filthiest or the roughest dive bar in every state. You may want to stay clear of those. But these joints offer some very, very important things: cold beers, friendly folks, and a nice getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. At these 51 dive bars, you can walk in happy or walk in grouchy, slouch on a stool, and drink Bud Light out of the bottle without anyone asking any questions.

So whether you’re looking for a new local watering hole or simply want to find new and unusual places with plenty of personality to them while you travel across the county, these are the places for you. So pop open a cold one, put some Led Zeppelin on in the jukebox, and check out the best dive bar in every state.

Alyssa Haak, Carolyn Menyes and Taylor Rock contributed to this article.

Alabama: The Nick (Birmingham)

The Nick/Yelp

Alabama: The Nick (Birmingham)

The Nick in Birmingham has been around for 35 years, and this dive bar/music venue has had its fair share of iconic bands pass through. Black Flag, Jane’s Addiction, and Widespread Panic all played this dive bar before they hit it big. Pass on through and maybe you’ll catch the next big thing.

Alaska: The Salty Dawg Saloon (Homer)

Patrick M./Yelp

Alaska: The Salty Dawg Saloon (Homer)

The Salty Dawg Saloon isn’t just the best dive bar in Homer or the best dive bar in Alaska. It’s the state’s best bar, period. The Salty Dawg is housed in a nineteenth century building, and the friendly bar staff will be quick to pour you one of their signature drinks, including the Duck Fart (a shot composed of Kahlúa, Bailey’s Irish Cream, and Crown Royal).

Arizona: The Buffet (Tucson)

RunAway B./Yelp

Arizona: The Buffet (Tucson)

With no windows, ripped chairs, and walls covered in graffiti, The Buffet in Tucson is a true dive bar. But that’s what makes it great. Well, that and the cheap, stiff Maker’s Mark cocktails, of course.

Arkansas: White Water Tavern (Little Rock)

David G./Yelp

 

Arkansas: White Water Tavern (Little Rock)

Cheap drinks, good food, and good folks can be found at the White Water Tavern in Little Rock. What more can you ask for? This historic bar has survived three raging arson fires, and it’s still standing strong thanks to stiff whiskey cocktails and a fabulous rotation of live musical acts.

California: Zeitgeist (San Francisco)

Kimberly H./Yelp

California: Zeitgeist (San Francisco)

For 30 years, bikers, punkers, and indie rockers alike have been congregating at Zeitgeist in San Francisco. Though the clientele has classed up a bit over the years, the bartenders are still crusty and the barbecue is still greasy. Don’t leave without trying one of their legendary Bloody Marys and drinking it out on the sprawling patio.

Colorado: Ace-Hi Tavern (Golden)

Chris T./Yelp

Colorado: Ace-Hi Tavern (Golden)

Two happy hours a day? Say no more. The Ace-Hi Tavern in Golden, Colorado, caters to the third shifters by opening up at 7 a.m. and running a special drinks menu, which is truly in the dive bar spirit. This bar has been around for over 130 years, with 60 years under this moniker, so its reputation as a world-class dive bar is well earned.

Connecticut: The Spigot (Hartford)

Jon R./Yelp

Connecticut: The Spigot (Hartford)

The Spigot in Hartford is surrounded by shiny, new bars, which makes this dive all the more charming. Their beer on tap ranges from your classic Miller Lite to regional offerings such as DuClaw. This bar comes with all the dive classics, like TVs on the wall, well-worn dart boards, and a jukebox.

Delaware: 1984 (Wilmington)

Celia P./Yelp

Delaware: 1984 (Wilmington)

If you’re a beer drinker, 1984 is the bar for you. Grab a cold one and play Skee-Ball for 50 cents or throw a quarter in one of the pinball machines and go to town. All in all, this dimly lit dive bar has more than 30 arcade games (hello, Ms. Pac Man!), 21 craft beers on tap and 30 bottled varieties. This place has live music, karaoke, trivia and an extensive board game collection. We especially enjoy its motto, which reads, “1984: where introverts come to be extroverts.”

Florida: Mac’s Club Deuce (Miami Beach)

Mac’s Club Deuce/Yelp

Florida: Mac’s Club Deuce (Miami Beach)

Mac's Club Deuce is the antidote you need to counteract the trendiness of Miami Beach. With a happy hour that actually runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., this bar is grimy and old school. But don’t let the clientele scare you off; folks here are actually as friendly as they come. Bring plenty of cash; this bar doesn’t take tabs and you may be there for a while.

Georgia: Clermont Lounge (Atlanta)

Anthony C./Yelp

Georgia: Clermont Lounge (Atlanta)

Is it a dive bar? Is it a strip club? Why not both! At the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta, women dance on the stage while patrons chow down on chicken wings and sip on some ice cold PBR. What could be more divey than that? How about the bar that’s only held together by years and years of duct tape. Yeah, that’s pretty divey.

Hawaii: Smith’s Union Bar (Honolulu)

Dive Bar S./Yelp

Hawaii: Smith’s Union Bar (Honolulu)

Smith’s Union Bar is the oldest bar in Honolulu and the diviest. Patrons will be singing their sloppiest karaoke (it’s just $1 a song) while sipping on their $3 Bloody Marys during happy hour. This bar also has plenty of history. It was the watering hole of soldiers stationed on the USS Arizona, which was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Idaho: Little Dutch Garden (Boise)

Alan L./Yelp

Idaho: Little Dutch Garden (Boise)

Little Dutch Garden in Boise is a true local’s bar. It’s small, cash only, and doesn’t have a liquor license. But if you come here for a cold beer, a game of pool, and the company of some kindly Idahoans, you’ll feel right at home.

Illinois: The Mutiny Corp (Chicago)

Rachelle B./Yelp

Illinois: The Mutiny Corp (Chicago)

Free live music may just be the best thing about Chicago bar The Mutiny. For a dive bar, the sound is actually quite spectacular. But that isn’t the only reason to hit this joint up. The huge steins of beer for dirt cheap prices will keep you happy even if you don’t love punk rock.

Indiana: Red Key Tavern (Indianapolis)

Tracy A./Yelp

Indiana: Red Key Tavern (Indianapolis)

The Red Key Tavern in Indianapolis has a few rules you need to follow. Hang up your coat and hat, use your indoor voice, don’t swear, and, most importantly, the bartender is always right. If you can handle all of that, enjoy the ice cold bottles of beer and cheeseburgers cooked on a flattop grill.

Iowa: Deadwood Tavern (Iowa City)

Nat A./Yelp

Iowa: Deadwood Tavern (Iowa City)

At the Deadwood Tavern in Iowa City, you’ll find townies and University of Iowa students drinking Bud Light together in harmony. It’s not fancy. It’s not cool. It just has good domestic beers, a pool table, and some pinball machines.

Kansas: Kirby’s Beer Store (Wichita)

Cory N./Yelp

Kansas: Kirby’s Beer Store (Wichita)

Kirby’s Beer Store is a Wichita institution. The walls prove it with their layers upon layers of band posters, event fliers, and Wichita State University stickers. The beers are cheap, and there’s almost always live music on the weekends — always without a cover.

Kentucky: Magnolia Bar (Louisville)

Kasen M./Yelp

Kentucky: Magnolia Bar (Louisville)

Better known as “Mag Bar,” the Magnolia Bar & Grille offers all the dive bar essentials: pinball machines, pool tables, a jukebox, and cheap drinks. With a notorious (and arguably disturbing) bathroom that’s rarely cleaned, a pole on the dance floor, and a dance party offered every Wednesday, this is the place for wild nights you’ll never remember and never forget.

Louisiana: The Club Ms. Mae’s (New Orleans)

Matt C./Yelp

Louisiana: The Club Ms. Mae’s (New Orleans)

Ms. Mae's in New Orleans never closes. Literally. It’s open 24/7, 365. Get away from the touristy parts of Bourbon Street, and you just may find Win Butler of Arcade Fire sipping unpretentiously on a $1.50 bottle of Miller High Life or a $4 (stiff) mixed drink.

Maine: Bubba’s Sulky Lounge (Portland)

Ru Y./Yelp

Maine: Bubba’s Sulky Lounge (Portland)

Bubba's Sulky Lounge in Portland has antiques seemingly everywhere — hanging from the ceilings, sitting on the bar, and bolted to the walls. If that isn’t character enough for you, you’ll find plenty of cheap drinks and locals during the day. At night, the dance floor lights up and ‘80s music pumps through the speakers for a dance party that is not to be missed.

Maryland: BAR (Baltimore)

Tessa S./Yelp

Maryland: BAR (Baltimore)

When a place is called simply BAR, you know it’s a true dive. That’s certainly the case for BAR in Baltimore. The décor is simple, just vinyl-covered stools and a black and white checkered floor. The beers are dirt cheap, especially the Natty Light, and the bartenders are crabby. Just drink your beer, do your shot, and leave.

Massachusetts: The Tam (Boston)

Jenna C./Yelp

Massachusetts: The Tam (Boston)

There are absolutely no frills at Boston dive The Tam. You can get a Narragansett tallboy for $3.50, and it simply does not get any better than that. The Tam can get packed at times, but its laid-back vibes never cease.

Michigan: Abick’s Bar (Detroit)

Left: Colette N./Yelp ; Right: Siobhan J./Yelp

Michigan: Abick’s Bar (Detroit)

Abick's Bar is Detroit’s oldest continuously family-operated bar, and the tin ceiling and years’ worth of signs show its age. The drinks are cheap and the jukebox is always rocking. If you’re lucky, you may meet the bar’s mascot: the owner’s adorable mastiff named Shadow.

Minnesota: Palmer’s Bar (Minneapolis)

Tony R./Yelp

Minnesota: Palmer’s Bar (Minneapolis)

With cocktails strong enough to take the enamel off your teeth and cheap pitchers of Hamm’s, Palmer’s Bar in Minneapolis is a certain bet to get you sloshed starting at 8 a.m. weekdays, if you so choose. Oh, and the free bands are consistently rocking, too.

Mississippi: Gil’s Fish Camp (Ocean Springs)

Heather S./Yelp

Mississippi: Gil’s Fish Camp (Ocean Springs)

Gil's Fish Camp in Ocean Springs is a laid-back beach-hut bar with cheap booze, tasty crawfish, and a splendid waterfront view. Pitchers of Shock Top and Bud Light are as cheap as a single beer at some joints, giving true meaning to the phrase “happy hour.”

Missouri: The Hideaway (Saint Louis)

The Hideaway/Yelp

Missouri: The Hideaway (Saint Louis)

A South City staple since 1954, The Hideaway is truly like a bar from another time. You may or may not find patrons smoking inside, but the cheap beers, friendly owners, and plenty of TVs make up for any inconvenience that may cause.  If that doesn’t sound delightfully divey enough for you, on Sundays they offer a Bloody Mary bar for just $5.

Montana: Charlie’s Bar (Missoula)

RunAway B./Yelp

Montana: Charlie’s Bar (Missoula)

With a bar that runs down the entire space, a pool table, and a small-town vibe, even out-of-towners will feel welcome at Charlie's Bar in Missoula. In the back, you’ll find Dinosaur Café, which serves up some of the finest Cajun and Creole food you’ll ever try.

Nebraska: Homy Inn (Omaha)

Will S./Yelp

Nebraska: Homy Inn (Omaha)

Omaha has its fair share of fine dive bars, but Homy Inn just may be the best. The walls are lined with old-school memorabilia, like Elvis posters and vintage baseball cards. Most distinctively, Homy Inn has Champagne on tap! But don’t think that means this place is pretentious; the bubbly is just $5 a glass and poured by the friendliest bartenders you’ll ever meet.

Nevada: Double Down Saloon (Las Vegas)

Belle B./Yelp

Nevada: Double Down Saloon (Las Vegas)

Get away from the glitz of the Las Vegas strip and grab a drink at the Double Down Saloon, where the motto is “Shut up and drink.” Specialties of the house include a bacon martini and the nuclear-green, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink “ass juice.”

New Hampshire: McGarvey’s (Manchester)

Desi M./Yelp

New Hampshire: McGarvey’s (Manchester)

McGarvey’s in Manchester actually has some of the finest bar food in New Hampshire. Whether you’re chowing down on their chicken nachos or burgers, you’ll be more than satisfied. But the beer is cheap and plentiful too, with six seasonal selections on tap. If that all isn’t enough to get you in the door, this dive has karaoke every single night.

New Jersey: Great Notch Inn (Little Falls)

Jeff B./Yelp

New Jersey: Great Notch Inn (Little Falls)

Situated where routes 3 and 46 meet in Little Falls, Great Notch Inn is a true roadside dive bar. Walk inside this neon-lit cabin bar, and you’ll find friendly locals sipping on cheap drinks. The jukebox plays classic rock, the bikers mingle with those who just happen to wander in, and the beer is always cold. What more could you want?

New Mexico: The Matador (Santa Fe)

Jim W./Yelp

New Mexico: The Matador (Santa Fe)

The Matador in Santa Fe is your standard dive bar. Walk down a narrow staircase, and you’ll find punk and metal music blaring from the speakers and a solid selection of bottled beers. Don’t let this small bar intimidate you; the bartenders and patrons are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever find in New Mexico.

New York: McSorley’s Old Ale House (New York City)

Ozana P./Yelp

New York: McSorley’s Old Ale House (New York City)

New York City is certainly not wanting for dive bars. But perhaps there is no more iconic spot than McSorley's Old Ale House. Sawdust (and other dust) covers the floors, and knickknacks litter the shelves. You have two choices for beer: light or dark. That’s it. You can order them in pairs only, but one round costs just $5.50. If that ain’t a good dive, I don’t know what is.

North Carolina: He’s Not Here (Chapel Hill)

William J./Yelp

North Carolina: He’s Not Here (Chapel Hill)

He's Not Here in Chapel Hill has been called the perfect college dive bar, and we can see why. If you ever went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill or are just a Tarheels fan, then you have probably had a 33-ounce Blue Cup — the classic $5 cup of beer here.

North Dakota: Empire Tavern (Fargo)

John A./Yelp

North Dakota: Empire Tavern (Fargo)

Opened after Prohibition in 1936, the Empire Tavern in Fargo has been owned by the same family since 1947. The bar keeps its old-school spirit intact with a working-class client base, stiff drinks, and bartenders who are the epitome of Fargo friendly.

Ohio: Dick’s Den (Columbus)

Phil B./Yelp

Ohio: Dick’s Den (Columbus)

“Why not?” an illuminating sign outside of Columbus’s Dick’s Den asks. And, yeah, why not walk in to this bar, which isn’t too far from Ohio State’s campus. Inside, you’ll find a bar where everyone fits in and live jazz music on most nights. There aren’t many frills to this bar, but that’s just how we like our dives.

Oklahoma: Grady’s 66 Pub (Yukon)

Susan F./Yelp

Oklahoma: Grady’s 66 Pub (Yukon)

Located on historic Route 66 in Yukon, Grady’s 66 Pub has everything you want in a dive bar and not much else. The 16-ounce bottles of Bud Light are cheap and cold, the dart boards are well-used, and there’s live music on many nights. Catch some tunes, drink some brews, and have the time of your life.

Oregon: Reel M’ Inn (Portland)

RunAway B./Yelp

Oregon: Reel M’ Inn (Portland)

Some of the best fried chicken you’ll ever taste can be found at Portland dive Reel M’ Inn. While you nosh on your chicken and jojos, enjoy the quirky wall décor, pool tables, and Bill and Sheri Purdy, some of the friendliest bar owners you’ll ever come across.

Pennsylvania: McGlinchey’s Bar & Grill (Philadelphia)

Dave L./Yelp

Pennsylvania: McGlinchey’s Bar & Grill (Philadelphia)

McGlinchey's Bar & Grill in Philadelphia is dark and dingy, and the smell of cigarette smoke from years past still lingers in the air. And that’s only the beginning of what makes this joint a spectacular dive bar. You can get hot dogs for less than $1 and beer for less than $4 while you sit among Philly’s most colorful characters.

Rhode Island: Nick-A-Nees (Providence)

ken z./Yelp

Rhode Island: Nick-A-Nees (Providence)

With a laid-back ambiance and dog-friendly atmosphere, Nick-A-Nees is a charming dive bar in the middle of Providence. On any given night, you’ll find a local band playing some tunes, a good selection of draft beers, and communal tables that help strangers to become friends throughout the course of an evening.

South Carolina: Southern Belly BBQ (Columbia)

Matt K./Yelp

South Carolina: Southern Belly BBQ (Columbia)

Guests describe this retro bar as “charming,” “funky,” “kitschy,” and “eclectic.” Guests love the fact they can get a free Budweiser just by checking in on Yelp, and they’re obsessed with the Django sandwich, which features smoked pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, Applewood bacon, grilled onions, roasted red peppers, jalapeños and spicy tomato sauce between two fat slices of Texas Toast. There is one universal complaint though, and it’s that the bathroom often lacks soap and paper towels. Maybe just bring some hand sanitizer.

South Dakota: Ice House (Yankton)
istockphoto/laartist

South Dakota: Ice House (Yankton)

Ice House, formerly known as the Pure Ice Company, is unique because the owners encourage patrons to smash their empty beer bottles against a brick wall beneath the loading dock. No, seriously. There are so many broken beer bottles at this place. Oddly enough, Ice House also has a carhop service, meaning guests can legally booze from the comfort of their vehicles. With that being said, please don’t drink and drive. Take a taxi home!

Tennessee: Earnestine & Hazel’s Bar & Grill (Memphis)

Paul W./Yelp

Tennessee: Earnestine & Hazel’s Bar & Grill (Memphis)

Despite having one of the best burgers in America, don’t mistake Earnestine & Hazel’s as a high-class joint. It’s a true dive bar with High Life for cheap and a cool, old-school jukebox with some of Memphis’ favorite sons and daughters on rotation.

Texas: Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon (Austin)

Adrienne M./Yelp

Texas: Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon (Austin)

Considered one of the absolute best dives in the nation, Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin is iconic. On Sundays, come in and drink cheap Lone Stars, eat free hot dogs and play chicken bingo. If the fowl poos on your number, you win! Does it get more Texas than that?

Utah: Cheers to You (Salt Lake City)

Dustin B./Yelp

Utah: Cheers to You (Salt Lake City)

Cheers To You is a true locals’ bar in Salt Lake City. The staff may be a little stodgy, but that can be a thing at dive bars. Get past that, and you’ll find good, cheap beer on tap, soccer on the TV, and pool tables that just beg for you to play a game or two.

Vermont: JP’s Pub (Burlington)

Greg G./Yelp

Vermont: JP’s Pub (Burlington)

It can be hard to find a good dive in Vermont, but JP’s Pub in Burlington checks off all the boxes. Buck Hunter? Check. Live music? Check. Cheap Heady Topper for sale? Yes, please.

Virginia: Lynnhaven Pub (Virginia Beach)

J David H./Yelp

Virginia: Lynnhaven Pub (Virginia Beach)

Lynnhaven Pub is a dark, dank hole-in-the-wall in Virginia Beach with a surprisingly incredible craft beer can selection. If that isn’t enough to get you through the door and into this dive, come for their barbecue. Their tacos are a thing of legend.

Washington: Ballard Smoke Shop (Seattle)

Ballard Smoke Shop/Yelp

Washington: Ballard Smoke Shop (Seattle)

Ballard Smoke Shop is a Seattle institution that’s half restaurant, half lounge; according to its website, the cast of “Deadliest Catch” is often spotted here throwing back pints. Locals and out-of-towners flock here for all-day diner-style breakfast that’ll cure even the nastiest of hangovers and drinks stiff enough to put hair on your chest, but not burn a hole in your wallet.

Washington D.C.: The Pug

Paul D./Yelp

Washington D.C.: The Pug

“No politics, no bombs, no idiots” are the rules at The Pug. If you want to get away from the hoity-toity parts of D.C., take refuge here — just, seriously, don’t ask for an Irish Car Bomb. In addition to a pork rinds vending machine, you’ll also find a laid-back staff and reasonable prices — two true rarities in this town.

West Virginia: Doug’s Topside Tavern (South Charleston)

Lloyd W./Yelp

West Virginia: Doug’s Topside Tavern (South Charleston)

Not all dive bars serve steak on the weekends, but not all dives are Doug’s Topside Tavern in South Charleston. Friendly regulars and the even friendlier Doug will greet you with some true Southern hospitality and a bottle of cold beer. Can’t ask for more than that, can you?

Wisconsin: Silver Dollar Tavern (Madison)

Steven T./Yelp

Wisconsin: Silver Dollar Tavern (Madison)

There’s a lot of cheap beer in Wisconsin, but the $8.50 pitchers at the Silver Dollar Tavern in Madison are hard to beat. You’ll find all your classic dive tropes here: shuffle board, pool, ATMs, dart boards, a jukebox and poker machines. It’s a great laid-back respite from your everyday life.

Wyoming: The Virginian Saloon (Jackson)

Chris C./Yelp

Wyoming: The Virginian Saloon (Jackson)

Wyoming is quite the elusive state, and The Virginian Saloon in Jackson is fittingly hard to nail down. Inside, you’ll find a roaring fire, cheap beer, and good whiskey. That’s nothing to complain about. And now that you’ve finished your American tour of dive bars, class up your drinking (a bit) with the country’s best bars, period.

More From The Daily Meal

The Oldest Bar in Every State

The 101 Best Burgers in America for 2018

20 Reasons Why You Should Drink a Glass of Wine Every Day

These Restaurants Want You to Dine in Your Pajamas

The Best Discontinued Snack Foods From the Decade You Were Born

You've just watched...

Dive bars

The Best Dive Bar in Every State Gallery