Exploring the Best Dive Bars in New York City

New York City is a paradise for beer aficionados and savvy travelers alike. From the iconic Jimmy's Corner in Times Square to the lively atmosphere of Lucky 13 in Gowanus, there are plenty of dive bars to explore in the Big Apple. Whether you're looking for a place to grab a cheap beer or a unique atmosphere to enjoy a cocktail, these dive bars have something for everyone. One of the few truly great bars in Times Square is Jimmy's Corner.

Established in 1971, this no-frills spot is run by Jimmy and his wife Swannie and is a museum of Jimmy's career as a boxing coach. The walls are adorned with photos, gloves, and other memorabilia from his time as a boxer. The bar is known for its clean drinks and charismatic atmosphere, making it a perfect spot to grab a beer or two.

Spring Lounge

, also known as Shark Bar, is another no-frills spot located in Chichi Nolita.

Open at 8am six days a week (10am on Sundays), this dive bar offers outdoor dining, sidewalk seating, and an array of drinks including beer, shots, rosé wine, sparkling white wine, and seasonal specialties.

Lucky 13

is Gowanus' best metal bar in almost a decade. With its always-crowded space and recently added sidewalk seating, this popular venue fills up quickly so be sure to arrive early and stay late to enjoy the live music, dancing, and festive atmosphere.

Billy-Marks East

is located on the corner of 29th and Novena in Chelsea.

This dive bar has an unappealing exterior but offers cheaper drinks than what you'll find several blocks away. Inside you'll find games on the television screens and a pool table for those looking for some entertainment.

Kettle of Fish

has been operating on 92nd Street since 1942 and is famous for its regulars Kerouac and Ginsburg of the Beat Generation as well as its musicians from the 1960s. This dive bar has been moved from its original MacDougal Street space to Christopher Street but still attracts a mixed crowd of gay men and Greenbay Packers fans.

Lucy's Bar overlooks Thompson Square Park and is often home to a democratic mix of East Village locals and young people looking for a break from the neighborhood's hipster dives. The walls are full of photos and the bar offers sweet and savory service along with beer, whiskey, and other drinks.

Milano's Bar

has been around since 1880 and has seen its fair share of change over the years. This dive bar has tile floors that have suffered from years of wear and tear but still offers cheap drinks for those looking for an old-school experience.

Reif's Bar on the Upper East Side has been around since 1942 and offers games on its television screens as well as a pool table. The cozy backyard full of grills gives this dive bar an inviting atmosphere that makes it stand out from other bars in the area.

Johnny's Bar

has an old-school vibe that makes you feel like you've stepped back in time with its worn-out leather booths and vintage decor.

Paul's Bar

is one of the newest dive bars in New York located in Bedford-Stuyvesant with beautiful exposed brick walls and lush accessories that brighten up the atmosphere. Unofficial membership guarantees entry to New York's wild party nights such as New Year's Eve and Halloween at this West Village bar which was once home to customers who organized a “sip” to raise awareness about discrimination against gay bars in 1966. The atmosphere here is very pleasant so sit down at the bar for a drink or two and you'll be chatting with your fellow patrons in no time. Visiting dive bars in New York makes you want to drink a cheap but powerful vodka soda while reading a Bukowski novel. From drinking hundreds of vodka sodas at crowded college bars to serving carefully crafted cocktails at upscale restaurants, there's not much you haven't done behind a bar. Nowadays Red Hook locals (who look like longshoremen) and “tourists” (as non-Red Hook locals call) flock to this dive bar to drink strong drinks, laugh, throw their empty glasses slam the door, all while enjoying the cozy atmosphere.

Destiny Silva
Destiny Silva

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