Ah, the dive bar. There is no better barometer to gauge a city’s bar scene than its most grimy and beloved local dives. Luckily, for Louisvillians, we have a number of watering holes that can claim the dive distinction, several of which we highlighted for you last year. Since then we’ve updated the list to include another handful of spots that wear their dive bar badge with pride. These are the best dive bars in Louisville for 2016:
The 13 Essential Louisville Dives
Don’t let the name fool you; the only thing Magnolia Bar & Grill serves up is some of the stiffest drinks around with a side of the most impressive jukebox in town. It’s not only one of Louisville’s essential dives, it’s one of the country’s, too.
If you’re looking for a place to grab a cold one with your pops and watch the game with one of the best burgers in town, then look no further than KK.
Home to one of the best (and no cover) dance parties in the city and some seriously cheap drinks, this spot a go-to for essentially every hipster in Lou.
Feel free to judge this book by its cover, as this spot kinda wants you to do that. It's essentially synonymous with the dive bar scene in Louisville, and was always intended to be a dive, which not all of them are...
The best part about this place? The bar staff. They’re all old enough to be our grandparents, which adds a certain charm to the place, and it also means they pour heavy -- really heavy. But not to worry, they’ve got a full-service kitchen to soak up all that booze.
Old Louisville’s gay-friendly dive bar has all-day happy hour specials, karaoke nights, and the distinction of being the only bar in Louisville with plush stuffed animals on its awning.
It serves the coldest, cheapest beer in town, and has karaoke Wednesday through Saturday -- if this palace doesn’t scream dive bar to you, then we honestly don’t know what will.
Perhaps Louisville’s most well known dive bar, the Bambi is always a good idea, particularly if you are looking for something greasy to soak up their dirt cheap brews (opt for the burgers and wings). The time-honored tradition of the ‘Bambi Walk’ is indeed named for this dive considering it’s the official, unofficial, starting point, but don’t ask the bartender if you get a t-shirt once you finish. This isn’t truly their rodeo, they’re just the meeting point.
“So we ended up at Akikio's...” many a Louisvillian has uttered these words when recanting tales of wild nights out on Bardstown Rd. Go immediately if you are a karaoke enthusiast or if you’ve had one too many and want to show the world your inner Kid Rock featuring Sheryl Crow.
Open until 4am every day of the week, Nachbar is a mellow watering hole in Germantown that is totally cool with you bringing your dogs, who’ll watch jealously as you down one of their many craft beers. Also, be sure and hit the patio on warm summer nights.
While there are many things about Patrick’s that make it a dive bar (cheap booze, pool tables, karaoke, etc.), the saloon-style urinal doors really pushed it over the top to earn its inclusion on this year’s list.
If you just so happened to head over to the east end of town because you were getting your nails done at Jeannie Nails, and now find yourself in desperate need of cheap well drinks, satisfyingly greasy bar bites, and a horseshoe shaped bar, this is the Middletown move.
Live music is the name of the game at Stevie Ray's, Louisville’s most divy blues bar, which has been rocking on Downtown’s Main Street since 1994.
1. Magnolia Bar & Grill1398 S 2nd St, Louisville
2. Kern's Korner2600 Bardstown Rd, Louisville
3. Seidenfadens Cafe1134 E Breckinridge St, Louisville
4. Third Street Dive440 S 3rd St, Louisville
5. The Back Door1250 Bardstown Rd, #116, Louisville
6. T. Eddie's Bar & Grill1154 Logan St, Louisville
7. Teddybear's Bar And Grill1148 Garvin Pl, Louisville
8. Bambi Bar2701 Bardstown Rd, Louisville
9. Akiko's1123 Bardstown Rd, Louisville
10. Nach Bar969 Charles St, Louisville
11. Patrick's3202 Frankfort Ave, Louisville
12. Mr. G's Lounge10432 Shelbyville Rd, Louisville
13. Stevie Ray's230 East Main Street, Louisville
Located within Old Louisville -- a historic preservation area comprised almost solidly of impressive Victorian architecture, the dimly lit dive has the requisite pool tables, a pinball machine, and a loaded punk-heavy jukebox. Heavy-handed and friendly bartenders make already cheap pints and pours even better.
If you’re looking for a place to grab a cold one with your pops and watch the game with one of the best burgers in town, then look no further than KK, one of the best dive bars in Louisville.
Home to one of the best (and no cover) dance parties in the city, along with some seriously cheap drinks, Seidenfaden's is a go-to for essentially every hipster in Lou.
Feel free to judge this book by its cover, as this spot is essentially synonymous with the dive bar scene in Louisville. Cheap drinks. Live music. Why not?
This Highlands dive(ish) bar is a classic local watering hole with a wide array of fans, from newly-21 frat boys to 60-something bikers, and the walls are decorated with the painted-on faces of patrons past and present, young and old, not to mention a simple drink menu featuring strong, yet cheap libations.
f the coldest, cheapest beer in town with karaoke Wednesday through Saturday doesn’t scream dive bar to you, then we honestly don’t know what will. Head to this Germantown bar if that's your jam.
This Louisville gay bar is a total hole in the wall, and we mean that in the best possible way. Load up on cheap drinks and hobnob with a rowdy crowd while you get your dance on to 80s' club bangers.
A rickety structure in the Highlands neighborhood houses this infamous dive bar, where locals have been flocking for years to kick back with a cold beer or a shot of bourbon. The real reason you're coming to Bambi, though, is to indulge in the beloved Bambi Burger, which you can order in one of five ways: no sides, with chips, with fries, with onion rings, or with your choice of appetizer. No matter what, this juicy delicacy comes topped with American cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and mayo -- just like a classic watering-hole burger should be.
Get your party on at this neighborhood karaoke spot and dive bar just outside of downtown Louisville. The drinks may be stiff, but the crowd is friendly and the mood, lively and fun.
On the surface, this Germantown drinkery just your run-of-the-mill, neighborhood bar with a good outdoor area (and it’s dog-friendly!), a great beer selection, and inexpensive drinks. But some would say Nach Bar is the soul of young Louisville’s music-loving, sort-of-hipster, just-wanna-hang-out-somewhere-tonight youth.
Patrick’s is the Beer Depot’s divey neighbor, and it gets a lot of things right -- the liquor flows cheaply, you can shoot pool before singing karaoke on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the urinals are armed with swinging, saloon-style doors. What more could you want? Seriously, we want to know, because at the moment, this place isn’t getting the love it so rightly deserves.
This cool as hell dive bar offers ample drinks, plenty of seating, an extensive bar menu, and hosts nightly karaoke sessions. What more could you want in a night out?