Food & Drink

20 bars we hope never close, ever

Published On 01/14/2014 Published On 01/14/2014
Jeremy's Ale House
David Blend
Flickr/Alan Turkus
FLICKR/EDEN, JANINE AND JIM
Flickr/Eden, Janine and Jim
Flickr/James Cridland
169 Bar
Flickr/Brian Clift
Yelp/Ralph R.
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1. Mama's Bar 34 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

Mama's in the East Village is a dive bar in every sense of the word, except for the fact that they are serving up some of their own "house infusions" like bacon-infused bourbon. Just think of the possibilities...

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2. Jeremy's Ale House 228 Front St, New York, NY 10038 (Downtown)

This South Street Seaport-adjacent ale house offers serious brews (in 32oz Styrofoam cups) and old school charm. Open for over 40 years, Jeremy's remains a longstanding local favorite due to its lack of pretension; generous pours; and fresh, affordable seafood menu (where else in New York can you eat a lobster roll for under $10?). Well-worn bras hanging from the ceiling and nautical, vintage bric-a-brac accentuate the dive bar decor.

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3. Fat Cat 75 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Fat Cat's impressive rows of ping pong, pool, and shuffleboard tables, plus Scrabble galore, will boggle the mind even before the shockingly good live jazz gets going. Don't expect to get a table right away -- especially on the weekends -- but if you're interested in entering one of its gaming tournaments, check out their website for an updated list of dates, times, and prices.

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4. Milano's Bar 51 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

At this Nolita gem, rock tunes blare from the jukebox and stools are littered with barflies who have been coming for years. Milano's has been in operation since the 1880s (with a short break due to a little something known as Prohibition), and it’s the kind of establishment where the scents are as much a design fixture as the Christmas lights, faded pictures, and memorabilia on the walls. You don’t come here for fancy cocktails: you come here to drink.

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5. Peter McManus 152 7th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

Peter McManus Cafe is the perfect dive bar in Chelsea serving up cheap drinks without all of the attitude you'd likely find at other places in the area.

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6. Old Town Bar 45 E 18th St., New York, NY 10003 (Union Square)

While many other bars are trying to create it, old-school New York charm comes naturally to this institution, which has been slinging drinks since 1882 (then known as Viemeister’s). The charm, however, is not the only anachronism that makes it so popular: Old Town also boasts a mahogany bar, distressed mirrors, a dumbwaiter, and high, tin ceilings.

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7. WXOU Radio Bar 558 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

The WXOU Radio Bar is a cash-only watering hole in the West Village. They have a kick-ass jukebox and a sign above the bar that reads "No Red Bull"...

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8. Hi-Life 477 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024 (Upper West Side)

You will be drawn to the Hi-Life in the UWS be their prominent neon street signs and cheap beer. This Art-Deco bar has a cozy feeling, an inviting atmosphere and flame-grilled burgers. That's the Hi-Life.

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9. Vazacs Horseshoe Bar / 7B 108 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009 (Alphabet City)

Vazacs Horseshoe Bar, also known as 7B, is an East Village staple with a star-studded history. The arched castle-like doors and rough brick exterior served as the façade of the Life Café in the movie Rent, and the interiors were used for The Godfather, Part II and Marvel's Jessica Jones. To East Village/Alphabet City locals, it's known as the perfect dive to meet your friends and throw back some cheap beers.

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10. Waterfront Ale House 540 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016 (Midtown East)

BBQ and craft brews are the name of the game at this Midtown establishment. They have a selection of over 20 rotating craft beers and another 80+ bottles both domestic and international.

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11. Sly Fox 140 2nd Ave, New York, NY (East Village)

Four dollar for a PBR and a shot, yes please. The Sly Fox has been serving up this special for ages and all right under our noses in the East Village.

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12. Nancy Whiskey Pub 1 Lispenard St, New York, NY 10013 (Tribeca)

This Tribeca dive has been serving up burgers, whiskey, and shuffleboard games since 1967. It's consistently named one of the best dive bars in the city, likely for its sub-$5 drinks and decidedly charismatic bartenders who'll serve your hot fries with a wink and smile.

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13. Rudy's Bar & Grill 627 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036 (Hells Kitchen)

Rudy's Bar is one of the oldest dive bars in New York City history, and one of the first bars to get a liquor license when prohibition ended in 1933. It's got a pretty extensive list of draft and bottled beers for a dive (all at fantastically low prices), and free hot dogs with the purchase of any drink. The staff at Rudy's is always friendly and inviting, making it a favorite among tourists and locals alike.

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14. Johnny's Bar 90 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

A colorful, lively tavern and taproom, Johnny's in the West Village is a neighborhood dive, through and through. No matter the day of the week, neighborhood barflies zip into this cozy counter space (the bar is roughly the size of a subway car) and knock a few back after hours. The collage-like aesthetic of the narrow, brick-walled interior space only adds to its friendly and intimate feel.

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15. 169 Bar 169 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Drenched in colored light and decked out in palm trees,169 Bar may read a tad tacky, but that’s because it is. It’s earned that right after being around since 1916 (when its original name was the “Bloody Bucket”). Strip­tease dancers perform on a tiny platform alongside worn red booths as a fun­loving crowd guzzles cheap beer, frozen cocktails, and oyster Bloody Mary shooters (yes, they have a raw bar, but expect to be served on paper plates). A leopard­ print billiards table lives in the small back room, just don’t be shy about asking patrons to move for that winning shot.

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16. Tempest Bar 407 8th Ave, New York, NY 10001 (Chelsea)

The Tempest is another dive bar in Chelsea but without all the sparkles and shiny countertops that adorn many of the watering holes in the area. Come by for a round or two of darts or to give it a go on their new pool tables.

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17. McSorley's Old Ale House 15 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003 (Lower East Side)

Opened in 1854, McSorley’s is the oldest still-running saloon in NYC, and was one of the last “Men Only” pubs in NY (until 1970). When you visit, you’ll truly feel like you’ve stepped into a bit of city history -- after all, you'll be sitting at the very same counter Abe Lincoln and John Lennon did. McSorley’s also keeps it real with just two beers -- the house ale, light or dark, and nothing else.

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18. The Turkey's Nest 94 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Right across from McCarren Park, Turkey's Nest is a dive bar in Williamsburg known for serving drinks in huge styrofoam cups. It has all the fixins of an actual dive: cheap drinks, pool tables, a few TVs, and a jukebox.

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19. Billymark's West 332 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001 (Midtown)

Billymark's West has all the staples of a conventional dive bar, a jukebox, pool table and stiff drinks. Billymark's West is a certified hidden gem in the sea of Midtown.

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20. Boxcar Lounge 168 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

Boxcar has happy hour deals every night of the week for you and your friends to enjoy. They also have an awesome backyard patio that can be enjoyed in the summer or winter via their retractable awning.