NYC’s Dive Bars

If you are searching for the perfect casual, no frills hangout then one of the city’s dive bars might be your safe haven from the growing popularity of the $15 cocktails and $8 beers gaining prominence in the city’s nightlife. Unguarded and generally unmarked doors provide entrance to dimly lit, laid back drinking dens where the featured drink is generally a PBR and a shot for $5. Beat up foosball tables, Jagermeister machines and well-played jukeboxes are the staples of these haunts. So gather your friends and enjoy a few rounds without having to take out a line of credit.

Max Fish: Come early as the small front room around the bar gets crowded on weekends or fight your way past the crowd to the back room, which offers seating around a graffiti covered pool table that makes you feel like you are hanging out in your friend’s basement.

178 Ludlow Street near Houston

Johnny’s Bar: One of few rare dive bars in the West Village, Johnny’s is marked by a simple outdoor neon sign reading “Bar.” Inside, this narrow bar offers little standing room, so come early to grab a coveted seat at the bar. If the eclectic mix of patrons in the bar don’t provide enough entertainment the jukebox is on the most varied in the city.

90 Greenwich Avenue at 12th Street

Welcome to the Johnson’s: Like an discarded time capsule from the 1970’s, this bar is a popular favorite on the Lower East Side. The inside of the bar, lined with faux wood paneling,  is furnished with a Pac-Man tabletop game, well-worn living room furniture and tiny black and white television playing movies on loop. Either embrace the living room feel or crowd around the pool table in the back, no one is going to care if you rest your PBR can on the table.

123 Rivington Street near Essex


Blue & Gold Tavern: Nothing fancy about this place, which is probably why mixed drinks have remained under $5. If you’re lucky you will snag one of the coveted tables around the perimeter of the bar, but more likely, you will be dealing with standing room only. Just try not to stake out a spot by the pool table because no matter how crowded the bar gets, there is usually a group who will still be defending their right to have a game.

79 E. 7th Street near 1st Avenue

Holiday Cocktail Lounge: The decor of this East Village landmark consists of decades old cigarette smoke stained walls and cracked wood furniture. It’s never really crowded so getting to the bar is not a problem. This dim haunt would be a more than suitable place to hunker down and drink through a job loss or bout of depression.

75 St. Marks Place between 1st & 2nd Avenue

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