Step away from the heart-shaped candies and teddy bears. Let’s be real, those are unwanted Valentine’s gifts anyway. Flip the script and plan a casual night out sipping cheap beers, playing darts, and downing chicken wings with your main squeeze. If you’ve never hit the dive bar scene, Valentine’s Day is the day to do it. No reservations or flowers required.
*We polled our Community Managers from around the country to uncover the diviest of the dives.
Photo Credit: Jackson W.
Rite Liquors (Chicago)
Rite Liquors is known as a slashie around Chicago. A dive bar/liquor store where one can down drinks while playing scratch off lotto, then take the same beverage/entertainment combo to-go. Whether you ‘dine in’ or ‘carry out’ you’re almost certain to encounter the entertaining kind of crowd that a dive bar attracts.
Dirty Frank’s (Philadelphia)
You probably won’t find love, but you will find solace at the bottom of your shot glass at Dirty Frank’s. This Philly institution dates back to the Prohibition era and is known for its cheap, cash-only drinks.
Photo Credit: Mark F.
Barcelona Bar (New York, NY)
They specialize in shots and currently have more than 100 different versions that you can try. For a real crowd pleaser, you must order the Harry Potter or the Indiana Jones. One involves fire, the other involves whips and silly hats. Have you even lived?!
Photo Credit: Vassilena G
Mayfair (New Orleans, LA)
While New Orleans is chock-full of dive bars, Mayfair is the perfect escape from canoodling lovers right off of St. Charles. Leave your cellphone at home and get buzzed in this neighborhood hideaway with pool tables, poker machines, and a mecca of I-Spy opportunities from their ever-changing cornucopia of tchotchkes hanging from the ceiling. Drinks are simple, bartenders are sweet.
Meister’s Bar (Columbus, OH)
Meister’s is *the* dive bar for your V-day night out that just so happens to also be the home of dee-licious deep dish pizza. Throw in their hard-to-find location, darts and billiards, and blaring jukebox — and you’ve got yourself a five-star night in Cbus.
Photo credit: Claude H
The Saloon (San Francisco, CA)
The oldest bar in the city of San Francisco, The Saloon, has been serving patrons since 1861. Known for its live music, particularly blues and soulful rock and roll, it always attracts a lively crowd ready to dance. Upon arrival, you’ll notice the row of motorcycles parked out front and leather draped patrons bellied up to the bar drinking Budweiser. Mind your P’s and Q’s — don’t stare and remember to bring cash.
El Chapultepec (Denver, CO)
This place has history and soul, having occupied it’s corner in downtown Denver for more than over 80 years. Pay your $2 cover (for the live jazz or blues band) and make sure you have extra cash for drinks because they don’t take cards. If you’re feeling sassy try their signature grasshopper shot complete with an edible dehydrated grasshopper, but beware — this drink isn’t for the weak-of-heart.
Photo credit: Jake J
Tom’s Tavern (Detroit, MI)
If you’re unlucky in love you’ll find comfort and family at Tom’s. Don’t be afraid, it just looks structurally unsound, but it’s solid as a rock inside. Knock on the door to gain entry to a world of friendly folks, cheap cocktails, and surprise food as owner Ron cooks up whatever he feels like like cookin’ to share with the group. As Meredith E says, “I’ve had the best baklava in my entire life here and washed it down with delicious champagne (of beers).”
Photo Credit: Katia M
Croke Park/Whitey’s (Boston, MA)
No, not that Whitey — the bar’s namesake is the former owner and South Boston icon whose legacy of free pool and dirt cheap drinks lives on 30 years after his tragic end. No food, cash only — Croke Park/Whitey’s is the definition of a dive, but don’t take our word for it… just read the shirt behind the bar.
Club 21 (Portland, OR)
With its oddly fascinating combination of taxidermy, dioramas, and vintage bar signs, Club 21 feels like the result of a special hug between Instagram and Etsy. Come for the fried pickles and build-your-own burgers, but stay for the killer tunes, multiple pinball machines, and Buck Hunter — perfect for taking out that anti-Valentine’s Day aggression! And since nobody else is doing the job, their gas fireplace will be happy to keep you warm, all night long.