Get Change From a $10 and Still Catch a Buzz at These NYC Dive Bars
New York City is full of beautiful, fancy places to sip tipples, but when it comes to getting down, dirty, and actually getting a drink that won’t cost you $16, nothing beats a classic dive bar. And New York City dives are a breed of their own -- they’re the bars that make even the least neighborhood-y neighborhoods feel like home, where you can always count on cheap booze, bad lighting, a wonderfully surly bartender or two, and at least one guy chugging whiskey at 11am. These are the absolute best dives NYC has to offer.
Est. 1916 | Lower East Side
THE Lower East dive bar staple. Charles Hanson’s 169 Soul Jazz Oyster Bar (yes, that is the full name) has basically every random thing you could ever think of, all thrown together seamlessly: good music, oysters, a disco ball, leopard-print pool tables, and pickle martinis (seriously).
Est. 1994 | Alphabet City
Craving a taste of the Old West in the middle of Manhattan? Look no further than Doc’s, where the jukebox blasts Johnny Cash and Bud heavys are downed like water.
Est. 2008 | West Village
The name pretty much says it all -- this place is rusty, and it likes it that way. Kick back with cheap Caribbean-style cocktails and hang with local patrons at this go-to dive that actually resembles your Grandma’s house in Florida, not a boat.
Est. 1996 | West Village
Open daily till 4am, Reservoir is a favorite of NYU students and village residents alike, and there are plenty of reasons why -- loads of flat screen TVs, notoriously tasty wings, and classically dim dive lighting.
Est. 1933 | Hell’s Kitchen
Rumored a prohibition-era speakeasy frequented by Al Capone, everything about Rudy’s is seriously legit. You’re greeted by a 6-foot-tall pig (relax, it’s a statue) before entering, and inside there are crazy-cheap brews, whiskey-a-plenty, and free Ball Park Franks.
Est. 2013 | Lower East Side
An unassuming nook along Essex Street, Beverly’s brings the dive bar charm with kooky neon lighting, slim surroundings, and shots of whiskey for just $6.
Est. circa 1937 | Alphabet City
Sure, you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover. But one look at 7B’s weathered brick exterior, arched doorways, and Tudor-style windows, and you know you’re in for a legendary dive bar. Toss back one of the 31 on-tap brews, blast tunes from the punk rock-heavy jukebox, and take pictures you’ll probably regret the next day in the old-school photo booth.
Est. 1975 | Alphabet City
This throwback joint is all about the dive bar essentials -- shooting pool, pounding brews, and doing it all on the cheap.
Est. 2006 | East Village
Its slogan is “Shut Up and Drink,” so you know this place is down for a good time. Double’s is a bit of a dump, sure, but with trippy murals, blaring punk rock music, and bacon martinis!!!!, there are plenty of reasons to pitstop here.
Est. 1973 | Financial District
A Downtown staple for over 40 years, Jeremy’s does its customers right with insanely tasty fried clams, 32-ounce beers served in Styrofoam cups (for $9.50!), and bras casually hanging from the ceiling.
Est. 1862 | East Village
It’s been around since 1862, and offers a choice between either “light” or “dark beer.” It’s the king. No further explanation needed.
Est. 1995 | Upper East Side
The antidote to UES pretentiousness, Iggy’s is part karaoke hotspot, part dive bar mecca, with a 100ft long bar, loads of flat screen TVs, 24 beers on tap, and riotous singalongs that everyone gets into.
Est. circa 1920s; est. as Spring Lounge circa 1970s | Nolita
Open bright and early at 8am, this beloved neighborhood dive has a great craft beer selection, an always-diverse crowd, and free beer-braised hot dogs on Wednesdays. Also, people used to called it “Shark Bar”... which is just pretty great.
Est. 1927 (purportedly) | Hell’s Kitchen
After decades in business, Holland Bar has become an NYC time capsule, with pictures of regulars and newspaper clippings lining the dark and well-worn walls. But beyond the aesthetics, Holland is simply a good old-fashioned watering hole with a laid back clientele and a reliable assortment of brews.
Est. 1890 | Red Hook
This unassuming bar has been the ideal spot to hang out, kick back, and grab a cold one in Red Hook for more than a century. There’s regular live music, a devoted clientele, and bartenders who’ll happily listen to your real or imaginary woes.
Est. 2005 | East Williamsburg
The antithesis of a country club, with cheap drinks and janky but glorious mini-golf set up in the backyard. Plus, it’s the place where the pickleback originated! (Get a pickleback.)
Est. 1880 | Nolita
Nostalgia runs deep at this Nolita dive. The booze is good, the service is friendly, and with a litany of patron photos, movie posters, and Sinatra memorabilia lining the walls, it’s the perfect snug spot to grab a low-key drink.
Est. prior to this very moment | Alphabet City
The Library’s a classic, old, very dirty (in the best possibly way) neighborhood bar with projectors showing old VHS tapes, a two-for-one happy hour, and the greatest jukebox in all of New York City.
Est. 1956 | Chelsea
Dark surroundings, a pool table, a dart board, and beer -- what else could you possibly need?
Est. The Past | Nolita
Botanica’s super-dark and intimate, plus it’s got happy hour until 8pm, and a huge space in the back where you will definitely not have cellphone service... which really just allows you to enjoy those $9 Ginger Yum-Yums in peace.
Est. 1990 | Noho
One of the best places to start your night, and it’s conveniently located just outside the Bleecker Street subway stop! This dive’s got tons of space, good beer, darts, pool tables, and TVs.
Est. 2004 | West Village
A Philadelphia bar with the obnoxious fans to prove it, Wogies does its home-city right with reasonably priced booze, unparalleled Philly cheesesteaks, and killer subs like the Atomic Avalanche (steak, American cheese, pepperoni, hot peppers, fried mozzarella bars, and marinara sauce).
Est. 2006 | East Williamsburg
duckduck has this incredible ability go from a cute after-work drink spot to a bustling 2am dance party. It’s the perfect place to end your night in Williamsburg, with dart boards, mismatched vintage furniture, cheap beer/shot combos, and an always-great selection of ‘90s hip-hop.
Est. circa 1911 | Williamsburg
Margaritas in giant Styrofoam cups! Now THAT is living, my friend.
Est. 2003 | Tribeca
This honky-tonk dive with an impressive display of “lost” bras has a country-blaring jukebox and pitchers of Pabst for only $8.
Est. circa 1997 | East Village
Owned and operated by it’s namesake, Ludwika “Lucy” Mickevicius, this ABC bar is a local favorite for canned beers and pool. Hours can be erratic, but with Lucy herself (now in her 70s) opening and bartending the joint herself, it’s still worth checking out.
Est. 2013 | Williamsburg
A Williamsburg honky-tonk dive with free live music and a crazy frozen coffee drink (named Uncle Willie’s Frozen Coffee -- after Willie Nelson, of course). It’s like a coffee slushy with bourbon and brandy in a to-go coffee cup for six bucks. Remember the original Four Loko? This is absolutely nothing like that. It’s amazing.
Est. 1967 | Tribeca
A Tribeca neighborhood classic with cheap drinks, a shuffleboard table, and a highly entertaining, surly bartender.
Est. circa 2005 | East Village
Super tiny, super dirty (again, in a great way), with an excellent beer selection, including lots of German and Belgian brews.
Est. 2014 | Williamsburg
Dirt cheap cocktails in enormous goblet-size glasses. Loud metal music from the jukebox. A sizable backyard. Plus, it’s owned by the same guys as Skinny Dennis, so you can get a “coffee thing” here too!
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