Dive bars are everywhere. But a great dive bar? That is difficult to find. It needs to be equally parts shady and welcoming, employ bartenders that deliver strong pours, and host regulars that spend more time on their dedicated stool than at home. When you find a dive bar that you love, you’re a loyal customer for life. To see where the pros go to unwind, we asked 14 bartenders about their favorite dive bars in the United States. Hit one up the next time you’re in the mood for a good beverage in a no-frills joint.
“Chez Jay in Santa Monica—it's ideal for beachside drinking and cool, steakhouse vibes. It's an institution there, having opened back in 1959 and a great spot to add to your bucket list.” - Caio Maggi, Brigitte
“Mickey’s Tavern in Nashville, TN. They are our next door neighbors at Walden, and the staff is also super sweet. They’ve got a great selection behind the bar, but our favorite part is how easy it is to meet new people there. They are everything dive bar—no DJ’s, no bands, no karaoke, no trivia nights. It's the most popular dive bar in East Nashville right now." - Robyn Donnelly, Walden