Food & Drink

The Best Dive Bar in 15 Boston 'Hoods

Published On 03/11/2015 Published On 03/11/2015
Silhouette Lounge
Crossroads Irish Pub
Flickr/David Salafia
Erik Christensen/Thrillist
Flickr/Jill Robidoux
Flickr/Josh Michtom
Flickr/Scott Beale
L Street Tavern
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1. Silhouette Lounge 200 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134 (Allston Brighton)

Free popcorn, pool & darts, $8 pitchers of 'Gansett or PBR, and a jukebox. Welcome to Silhouette Lounge, your go-to dive in Allston.

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2. Beacon Hill Pub 149 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114 (Beacon Hill)

A well-loved dive bar with everything you could ask for: cheap drinks, a jukebox, and foosball. Pull up a stool and have yourself a $3 'Gansett tall boy, neighbor!

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3. Crossroads Irish Pub 495 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02215 (Back Bay)

The once-shuttered Crossroads has returned from the brink thanks to new owners who thankfully didn’t change a single thing. A favorite of earthy locals, nerdy MIT frat guys, and Man U maniacs, this plucky Irish dive has two grizzled, dimly lit floors of taps and distractions including darts, board games, and skee-basketball (as awesome as it sounds). The whole operation is low-key and easy on the wallet. Be sure to stop by on Hump Day for a free cheese pizza with every pitcher.

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4. Mary Ann's 1937 Beacon St, Brighton, MA 02135 (Allston Brighton)

Mary Ann’s, where every night is amateur night, endures as the paradigm for all college dive bars for all time. Period. BC students and alumni flock here for $1.50 Busch Lights, the signature stench, and sloppy make-out sessions. The bar’s best attributes include the “industrial chic” boarded-up windows and the excellent chance that someone will barf on your shoes.

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5. Cantab Lounge 738 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139 (East Cambridge)

Cantab Lounge is a Central Square dive with a country vibe. If the Tuesday bluegrass isn't your scene, come back on Wednesday for the Underground Poetry Slam.

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6. Old Sully's 56 Union St, Charlestown, MA 02129 (Charlestown)

Once you leave this locals' haunt, if you're not convinced of its charm, you're probably the only one. The throwback pub-like atmosphere charmed even Ben Affleck who shot it in his film The Town, the Irish-influenced accents of the characters matching up with the Irish-American heritage of the venue.

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7. The Corner Pub 162 Lincoln St, Boston, MA 02111 (Chinatown)

Yeah, it has $3 brown bag shots dispensed from a screw-top bottle of surprise. Classy. When owners Pam & Matt Chin took over in early 2008, they spruced up the place and added a surprisingly impressive menu with gems like Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls and gigantor Turkey Clubs. But The Corner Pub didn’t lose its cozy come-one-come-all vibe or its embrace of good-natured debauchery.

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8. Sligo Pub 237A Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144 (Somerville)

Sligo Pub is a narrow, no-frills Davis Square dive. The pub features cheap beers, a jukebox, and patrons' carvings on every wood surface.

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9. Eddie C's 34 Maverick Sq, Boston, MA 02128 (East Boston)

From the outside, Eddie C’s is a grey, impenetrable stone block. Inside you’ll find a slightly softer edge courtesy of the genial bartenders, budget pitchers (< $9), and free snacks (mini pretzels, Cheez Doodles). The “Old Guard” hunkers down at Eddie C’s all day on Saturdays playing cards, eating tripe (a specialty), and keeping track of the races. Best dive bar feature: a cardboard sign in the window that reads “Eddie’s Italian Kitchen.”

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10. Courtside 291 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141 (East Cambridge)

East Cambridge's favorite karaoke dive hides the mic on Sundays when the Chicago Sports Club of New England floods the joint to watch da Bears on 12 high-defs, meaning the only singing you'll hear will be fans homaging "I'm Jimmy Mac and I'm here to say..."

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11. Biddy Early's 141 Pearl St, Boston, MA 02110 (Financial Dist Waterfront)

Biddy Early’s has your back and then some. This zero-frills FiDi landmark is textbook hole-in-the-wall: cramped/dirty bathrooms, beer-soaked floor, and labor union stickers on the walls. (And also a two-man saw.) Suits and scamps alike escape their troubles here with $1.50 PBRs, Keno, and that nudie picture “spot the difference” video game. True Grit Award: it has a working cigarette machine.

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12. Sullivan's Tap 168 Canal St, Boston, MA 02114 (North End)

Sullivan's Tap is a Bruins bar with plenty to offer. Boasting the "Longest Bar In Boston," Sully's is stacked with pool tables, pop-a-shot hoops, and arcade games to keep you entertained well after the game.

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13. Wally's Cafe 427 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02118 (South End)

Wally’s is a veritable time machine transporting you back to the days when smoke-filled juke joints reigned supreme. And they still do at this nearly 70 year old family-run nightclub icon. You won’t mind the no frills vibes and aroma of nights long since past once the incredible jazz jams fill this cozy space.

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14. L Street Tavern 658 E 8th St, Boston, MA 02127 (South Boston)

Perfect for jukebox junkies, L Street Tavern's a South End dive known for its loud atmosphere, good drinks, and overall extreme Boston pride. It's equipped with a TV to watch the Bruins win (or lose... let the debate begin).

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15. The Tam 222 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116 (Chinatown)

A quintessential Boston dive, The Tam delivers heavy-handed pours that are perfect for beginning, ending, or completely forgetting your night out on the town. $3 'Gansett cans and the complete lack of a men's room door complete the vibe.