Photo: Rudy's Bar & Grill

The 11 Best Dive Bars in Manhattan

Restaurants + Bars Insider Guides
by Aryana Azari Aug 1, 2018

Nightlife in Manhattan can get frustrating with bars having double-digit cocktails on their menus, cover charges at the door, and an increasingly pretentious hipster scene. If you’re not from here, you’ll be annoyed to learn that even well drinks are expensive. “But at home…” you might begin to say, but stop right there. The midwest this isn’t, and that vodka cranberry is really $10. Thankfully, there’s one last holdout of the NYC drinks scene where you can avoid uppity cocktailians and save some money: dive bars. From iconic city mainstays to exciting newcomers, these 11 dive bars are some of the best places to get drinks in the city. Just don’t show up dressed to the nines or expecting a laundry list of Prohibition-era cocktails — and make sure you bring cash.

1. 169 Bar

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169 Bar is a mix between a dive bar and a nightclub that’s been in operation since 1916. The interior is designed around New Orleans in the ‘70s, so think colorful lighting, retro red and black leather booths, beachy palm trees in the corners, and a pool table. If you get hungry, try ordering the oyster platter or dumplings. There’s a $3 beer-and-shot special, and you can order via text.

Where: 169 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

2. Barracuda

You’ll need to have the address handy to visit Barracuda because the outside offers no help. It’s a simple black door that’s pretty easy to miss if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The inside of this gay bar is stylish with colorful, low-hanging lights, and there’s even a small stage for DJs and the occasional drag show. It opens just in time for the perfect after-work drink, and then the vibe transforms completely for the nighttime crowd. Drink, dance, and have fun.

Where: 275 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10011
Hours: Monday to Sunday 4:00 PM – 4:00 AM

3. Doc Holliday’s

Western-themed Doc Holliday’s is a surefire hit for those looking to get a good drink at a good price. Draft beers start at $5, and you’ll definitely be able to snag one of the many booths. The interior is where western meets the 1980s, with Old West decor covering the walls and ‘80s music playing through the night.

Where: 1141 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

4. The Rusty Knot

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The Rusty Knot is a kitschy spot with an island theme that sits right on the western edge of Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. It actually does have amazing, unpretentious cocktails for the right price, including the classic Mai Tai, Zombie, and the signature Rusty Knot: a frozen mojito. Food is served all night, so you can sober up from those potent tiki drinks with a pretzel dog, guac and chips, tacos, or quesadilla before you head home. Oh, and the jukebox is free.

Where: 425 West St, New York, NY 10014
Hours: Opening is Monday to Friday at 4:00 PM and Saturday to Sunday at 2:00 PM. Closing is not set.

5. Reservoir Bar

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This dive bar caters to sports fans and New York University students. The food menu is more extensive than at other dive bars — they even deliver if you’re feeling extra lazy — and there’s a lengthy list of draft and bottled beers to match. Whether you want an IPA or a cider, you’ll be taken care of here, but try not to order a complicated cocktail lest you look like an outsider.

Where: 70 University Pl A, New York, NY 10003
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:30 AM – 4:00 AM, Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

6. Rudy’s Bar and Grill

Located in Hell’s Kitchen, Rudy’s is rumored to have first operated as a speakeasy in 1919 and has been frequented by the likes of Al Capone and celebrities like Paul McCartney and Drew Barrymore. Once Prohibition ended, the Midtown spot was one of the first places to obtain a liquor license in the state. The mascot is a pink pig, Baron, whose statue sits right outside the entrance. It’s an intimate space with a long bar that has stools underneath and a few red booths in the back, so don’t arrive at the tail end of your night if you’re looking to sit while you drink. Beers are offered at $3 a pop, and a free hotdog comes with any drink purchase.

Where: 627 9th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Hours: Monday to Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 AM, Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

7. Double Down Saloon

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Double Down Saloon, sibling to the original location in Las Vegas, has one golden rule: “You puke, you clean.” That attitude is emblematic of the chaotic, anarchic energy of the bar, one of the last remnants of New York’s punk scene. A self-proclaimed “boozeatorium,” the bar has a menu that boasts an interesting array of original creations, such as the Double Down Lager and Bacon Martini. During happy hour, there are two-for-one domesticated beers and well drinks.

Where: 14 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
Hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

8. Bleecker Street Bar

This Noho sports-bar staple has been a local favorite since it opened in 1990. It’s right on the corner of Bleecker and Crosby Street, so there’s plenty of room inside. Happy hour runs from opening until 8:00 PM on the weekdays, on Sunday it runs all day, and there’s even a late-night version from midnight until 4:00 AM, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll miss the specials. There’s $5 Budweiser and Bud Lite, as well as the bar’s Amber Ale. All well mixed drinks are $5, and you can get a glass of wine for $6. Plus, it has an epic Bloody Mary in the daytime.

Where: 56-58 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:30 AM – 4:00 AM, Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

9. Broadway Dive

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If you’re on the Upper West Side for a night out, head to Broadway Dive. It has over 20 draft beers, three draft wines, and all the typical liquors you would expect of a neighborhood joint — but the focus here is on whiskey of all kinds. Besides drinking, there’s live music and weekly trivia games to partake in.

Where: 2662 Broadway, New York, NY 10025
Hours: Monday to Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

10. Spring Lounge

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The Spring Lounge is a bar that operated illegally in the 1920s during Prohibition; it was a “to-go” drink spot where patrons basically filled buckets with beer and then left. After a couple name changes, it became the Spring Lounge in the ‘70s, but locals just call it the Shark Bar because of the shark-themed decor. Besides the stuffed sharks, the inside is reminiscent of old-school dives with wooden tables and stools. There’s a strong Irish vibe here too, making it an epic place to spend St. Patrick’s Day.

Where: 48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
Hours: Monday to Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 AM, Sunday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM

11. Jimmy’s Corner

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Jimmy’s Corner is a shrine to boxing and one of the last inexpensive places to drink in the Times Square area. It’s been in business for over 45 years and is owned by Jimmy Glenn, friend and trainer to Muhammad Ali when the professional boxer trained at the gym on 42nd Street. Pictures of the two together are among the boxing memorabilia that decorates every inch of the walls. The house drink is called Jimmy’s Hurricane, a blend of spiced rum, juices, and amaretto, but if you don’t want a mixed drink, there’s always the $3 beers.

Where: 140 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036
Hours: Monday to Friday 11:30 AM – 4:00 AM, Saturday 12:00 PM – 4:00 AM, Sunday 3:00 PM – 4:00 AM

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