New York

Get Change From a $10 and Still Catch a Buzz at These NYC Dive Bars

7B Horseshoe Bar
7B Horseshoe Bar | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
7B Horseshoe Bar | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

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.

169 Bar

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).

Doc Holliday’s

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.

The Rusty Knot

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.

Reservoir Bar
Reservoir Bar | Jazz Guy/Flickr

Reservoir Bar

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.

Rudy’s Bar & Grill

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.

7B Horseshoe Bar/Vazacs

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.

Cherry Tavern

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.

Double Down Saloon

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.

Jeremy’s Ale House
Jeremy’s Ale House | Jazz Guy/Flickr

Jeremy’s Ale House

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.

Iggy’s Karaoke Lounge & Bar

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.

spring lounge
Spring Lounge | Jolie Greenstone/Thrillist

Spring Lounge

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.

Holland Bar

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.

Bushwick Country Club

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.

The Library

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.

Billymark’s West

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.

Bleecker Street Bar
Bleecker Street Bar | Jessie Daniels/Flickr

Bleecker Street Bar

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.

Turkey’s Nest Tavern

Est. circa 1911 | Williamsburg

Margaritas in giant Styrofoam cups! Now THAT is living, my friend.

The Patriot Saloon

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.

Skinny Dennis

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.

Nancy Whiskey Pub

Est. 1967 | Tribeca

A Tribeca neighborhood classic with cheap drinks, a shuffleboard table, and a highly entertaining, surly bartender.

124 Old Rabbit Club

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.

Rocka Rolla

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!

Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Christine Fischer is a freelance writer for Thrillist who spends an offensive amount of time in dive bars. Follow her on her website, Facebook, or Twitter.
Our Newsletter
Become a Local Insider in New York
Get our expert guides to your new favorite city.
By Signing Up, I Agree to the Terms and Privacy Policy.