Philadelphia has many upscale dining and drinking establishments; however when we don't want to spend six dollars a beer or stand in a crowd of sweaty people all fighting to get in, we go to one of the 10 best dive bars in Philadelphia. They’re comfortable places where we can get a bite to eat after work or a late night drink on the way home. Whatever the reason for drinking is, the dive bar is a very important element to any big cities bar scene. Here are some of our favorites.
- Atlantis: The Lost Bar might as well run pipes right from the Philadelphia Brewing Company straight to it’s taps. Located across the street from PBC at 2442 Frankford Avenue, The Lost Bar has all the PBC classics on tap for three bucks a piece.
- Les and Doreen’s Happy Tap, 1301 E. Susquehanna Ave., is the quintessential Irish dive bar. Leprechauns are painted on the wall and the bartender is always ready for an engaging conversation on politics and local gossip. This heart of Fishtown dive bar offers a pub menu filled with dive bar classics like chicken wings and cheese steaks as well as very reasonably priced draft beer and shots.
- Midtown Restaurants II and III don’t have that dive bar charm. The dimly lit back bar and secret entrance on Ranstead St of Midtown IV at 2013 Chestnut St. are part of a great atmosphere to drop right off the face of the earth. All that delicious diner grub is available back there too.
- The Pub On Passyunk East, or POPE at 1501 E. Passyunk Avenue, is a great spot to try one of their 14 draft beers. Like obscure bottled beers? This dive bar has 80 and their all categorized by style on a giant chalkboard above the bar. The menu is a step up from typical dive grub, and includes traditional pub items like shepherds pie and fish and chips.
- Don’t be fooled by this bars sleek exterior and modern interior. Tazia, formerly Ly Michaels, at 101 North 11th Street is the best dive bar in Chinatown. Sit at a table and enjoy some Tuna and Smoked Salmon Carpaccio or get some Dim Sum at their full bar and sample the rotating selection of Draft beer and cocktails.
- The El Bar at 1356 N Front St doesn’t have a flashy beer list or serve food, maybe a hot dog here and there. This dive is a place where bar goers can still get a three dollar city wide special. Had a good week? Then upgrade the city wide special to a Kensinger special for a dollar more. Either way, a few of these and you’ll be stumbling to the next watering hole.
- Every Friday and Saturday Bob and Barbara’s flips into a swinging club featuring a live jazz band and all the drinking and dancing you can handle. The city wide specials are three dollars, and the band plays classic jazz and be-bop that impossible to sit still to.
- Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar at 2006 Chestnut Street features two pianos facing each other with players ready to play your favorite song piano style. Yes piano man is played at least once a night, but the napkins provide a written outlet for bar patrons to request a song of their own. Drinks are a little on the pricey side, but the atmosphere makes it worth it.
- If home cooked polish food sounds delicious, Jovan’s Place at 2327 E. York Street is the spot. Sit at the bar and enjoy eastern European entrees like Beef Goulash and Stuffed cabbage just like grandma makes. This dive bar has a homey feeling, and the motherly polish server adds a little bit of old world charm.
- The best dive bar in Philadelphia is Mako’s on the corner of 4th and South Street. This place has taps, food, three floors and just about everything else anyone could ever ask for in a dive including 49 cent PBR cans and a pretty face serving it to you. The proximity to late night grub spots like Lorenzo’s Pizza and Jim’s steaks make Mako’s a must stop along South Street.
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