8 of the Best: Dive Bars

We love beers here at Coolector HQ and we also love places to drink it where we’re left to our own devices and the noise levels are not ear-splitting and that’s why we’ve always got a soft spot for the much maligned dive bar setting. There are some truly amazing dive bars dotted all over the world and we take a look at 8 of the best below:

Badfish Bar, Berlin

Taking inspiration from New York style dive bars, Badfish in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood of Berlin is positively overflowing with everything you could ask for from a dive bar – namely, an unparalleled selection of whisky, craft beer and the sort of understated, no nonsense environment where you can just sit and enjoy a beverage either alone or with friends. The Badfish Bar in Berlin has dark woods and exposed brick that sets the right aesthetic tone for a dive bar but throws in things like happy hour specials, free popcorn, a jukebox chock full of classics not to mention a fully functioning frozen margarita machine to keep the good times coming.

The Ear Inn, New York

New York is the home of the dive bar truth be told and the wonderfully old school Ear Inn, established back in 1817, is one of the best of the bunch. This quintessentially New York styled dive bar is located close to the Hudson River in downtown Manhattan and boasts an interior which has remained, more or less unchanged, for decades or possibly even centuries and this is testament to what a dive bar should be all about. This Manhattan watering hole has excellent burgers to go alongside their extensive range of beers and cocktails and is definitely worth a visit the next time you find yourself in New York and craving a laid back dive bar.

Motel Bar, Liverpool

Located on one of Liverpool’s backstreets, a little off the beaten path you’ll find Motel Bar, an excellent example of the American style dive bar making its way over to the UK. If you like your dive bars suitably neon lit, with dingy corners to lurk in (as we do here at The Coolector), Liverpool’s Motel Bar is where you should be gravitating towards if you find yourself in our backyard as it boasts not just the perfect dive bar ambience but also a mighty fine line up of beers, cocktails and snacks.

Bukowski’s Tavern, Boston

Another on the list we’ve had the pleasure of frequenting here at Coolector HQ, the Bukowski Tavern in Boston is what a dive bar should be all about and takes its inspiration from one of our favourite writers, Charles Bukowski. This small but perfectly formed dive bar in Boston’s famously cool Cambridge area of the city is, somewhat excellently in this day and age, a cash only bar that does nothing but beer, wine and food in a true dive bar setting. Their Americana-style cuisine, made with the freshest ingredients in a casual setting has kept their patron’s coming back for the last 20 years.

Slim Jim’s Liquor Store, London

London has got it’s fair share of cool dive bars to be honest but one of the most authentic must be Slim Jim’s Liquor Store in the Islington area of the city. This belter of a dive bar has shelves filled with carefully curated whiskeys and liquor and if whiskey is not for you you can try one of their classic cocktails or, our go-to beverage, a cold craft beer. This joint has an award winning Jukebox which is loaded with all the classics, from Zepplin to Guns ‘n’ Roses and they’ve also got plenty of live music to enjoy every Saturday night.

I Hate Pigeons, Bangkok

Certainly one of the more unusually named establishments on the list, I Hate Pigeons in Bangkok describes itself as a dive bar and thrift store so if you want to get loaded and pick up some random bits and pieces, this is the ideal watering hole for you. I Hate Pigeons is kitted out with bare cement, stealthy looking all-black furniture, understated wall art and more than their fair share of psychedelic visuals so, if that’s your vibe, this is where you should wind up in Thailand’s capital city. A chalkboard full of craft beers will keep you entertained for the night.

Griffon Pub, South Carolina

Located in the Charleston area of South Carolina, the Griffon Pub is a dive bar based down by the water and is the polar opposite of the foodie scene for which the city is becoming increasingly renowned. This fantastically downbeat bar will invariably be packed with locals enjoying the stellar line up of craft beers on tap and it’s impossible to ignore the decades old collection of dollar bills pinned throughout the bar which will immediately draw the eye. The great tap list is joined by an equally as excellent selection of fried food to give you something to wash down.

Atomic Liquors, Las Vegas

With the excellent claim to fame of having Las Vegas’ oldest freestanding bar, Atomic Liquors is the place to go if you’re looking for an authentic dive bar in Sin City. With a thoroughly impressive line up of beers on offer and a constantly changing rotation which means you’ll never tire of frequenting here, Atomic Liquors is a great establishment for rounding off our list of some of the world’s best dive bars. Located in downtown Las Vegas, away from the Strip, this cracking bar is an institution for the city’s hardened drinkers and the likes of the Rat Pack and the Smothers Brothers drank here after their nightly shows, so if you want to experience Vegas history, head here.

Leo is the owner of The Coolector and writes about the stuff he loves. And some stuff that he merely likes.