clock menu more-arrow no yes
dive bar with u-shaped bar and patrons on either side
Bob and Barbara’s on South Street
A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

Drink Away Valentine's Day at These Essential Philly Dive Bars

When cheap beer matters more than a romantic atmosphere

View as Map
Bob and Barbara’s on South Street
| Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

For some, going out to drink at a bar is a special occasion that calls for a craft cocktail list and a trendy locale. This map is not for those people. These are the places to go with a few friends, or even on a low-key date, for shots, beers, unpretentious wine, loud conversation, and charmingly surly bartenders. These are Philly's chillest, come-as-you-are bars.

This Valentines Day, forget flowers, bubbly, and a meal that costs half a week's pay. Tie one on with the mix of characters and cheap drinks that are standard at Philly's essential dive bars.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fiume

Copy Link
229 S 45th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 387-2424

With its impressive whiskey and beer selection, Fiume almost crosses over into hip, but the poky and inconspicuous space that seems to double as a storage area tips the scales to dive. Find it in West Philly above Ethiopian standby Abyssinia.

2. McCusker's Tavern

Copy Link
2601 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 339-9238
Visit Website

McCusker's has been a South Philly neighborhood bar of note for more than 50 years, with particular popularity among sports fans. The 1970s-chic decor features wood paneling, baseball memorabilia, and a dartboard.

3. Bob & Barbara's Cocktail Lounge

Copy Link
1509 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 545-4511
Visit Website

The "cocktail lounge" moniker might make Bob and Barbara's seem upscale, but rest assured, this is a tried-and-true dive complete with the original shot-and-a-beer special — best known around these parts as a citywide — plus weekly drag shows and live music on weekends.

Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

4. Wine Dive

Copy Link
1506 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

If you prefer a glass of bordeaux blanc but a dive bar atmosphere, the closest thing is this new South Street bar and bottle shop serving wine, cocktails, and beer in a funky space inspired by the ’70s. There’s even a citywide section of the menu with combos like Miller High Life with Fernet and Corona Light with mezcal.

Society Hill Films

5. Oscar's Tavern

Copy Link
1524 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 972-9938
Visit Website

Everybody knows Oscar’s. The always-busy Center City dive attracts all sorts, with the added bonus of booths, beer specials, and filling fried food.

6. Dirty Frank's

Copy Link
347 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 732-5010

A Washington Square West staple since 1933, Dirty Frank's and its partially kitschy decor (and sticky floors) attract everyone from punks to artsy types to after-work Center City crowds.

7. Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

Copy Link
1200 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 365-1169
Visit Website

Known for its longstanding tradition of giving customers free shots, complete with a candle, on their birthdays, Ray's is both cheerful and definitely a dive. They still allow smoking inside.

8. 12 Steps Down

Copy Link
831 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 238-0379
Visit Website

12 Steps Down has the benefit of a windowless subterranean location to enhance the dive-y feel. The food — chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, and the like — is surprisingly good, but note that smoking is allowed.

9. Tattooed Mom

Copy Link
530 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 238-9880
Visit Website

Easily the most aesthetically wild spot on this map, Tattooed Mom's eye-catching walls are almost wholly covered in graffiti-style art. The decor and soundtrack (mostly punk with some hip-hop) means Mom’s does verge on falling out of the dive bar category, but its half-priced happy hour drinks save it. Also look for nightly food specials, lots of vegan options, and arts and crafts projects on Sundays.

Tattooed Mom [official]

10. El Bar

Copy Link
1356 N Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 634-6430
Visit Website

Cheap, a touch dingy, and with a pleasant courtyard in warmer months, El Bar is a Fishtown staple. Like a lot of spots on this map, it’s cash only.

11. Atlantis the Lost Bar

Copy Link
2442 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 739-4929
Visit Website

Atlantis the Lost Bar has a cool name and, for some bars, that would be enough. But this cash-only Kensington corner joint also has a pool table, weekly specials, bloody marys with elaborate garnishes on Sundays, and chill bartenders. Plus, rumor has it that bringing fido along for a beer is kosher.

1. Fiume

229 S 45th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

With its impressive whiskey and beer selection, Fiume almost crosses over into hip, but the poky and inconspicuous space that seems to double as a storage area tips the scales to dive. Find it in West Philly above Ethiopian standby Abyssinia.

229 S 45th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

2. McCusker's Tavern

2601 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145

McCusker's has been a South Philly neighborhood bar of note for more than 50 years, with particular popularity among sports fans. The 1970s-chic decor features wood paneling, baseball memorabilia, and a dartboard.

2601 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19145

3. Bob & Barbara's Cocktail Lounge

1509 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Photo by A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

The "cocktail lounge" moniker might make Bob and Barbara's seem upscale, but rest assured, this is a tried-and-true dive complete with the original shot-and-a-beer special — best known around these parts as a citywide — plus weekly drag shows and live music on weekends.

1509 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

4. Wine Dive

1506 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Society Hill Films

If you prefer a glass of bordeaux blanc but a dive bar atmosphere, the closest thing is this new South Street bar and bottle shop serving wine, cocktails, and beer in a funky space inspired by the ’70s. There’s even a citywide section of the menu with combos like Miller High Life with Fernet and Corona Light with mezcal.

1506 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146

5. Oscar's Tavern

1524 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Everybody knows Oscar’s. The always-busy Center City dive attracts all sorts, with the added bonus of booths, beer specials, and filling fried food.

1524 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

6. Dirty Frank's

347 S 13th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

A Washington Square West staple since 1933, Dirty Frank's and its partially kitschy decor (and sticky floors) attract everyone from punks to artsy types to after-work Center City crowds.

347 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

7. Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

1200 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Known for its longstanding tradition of giving customers free shots, complete with a candle, on their birthdays, Ray's is both cheerful and definitely a dive. They still allow smoking inside.

1200 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147

8. 12 Steps Down

831 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

12 Steps Down has the benefit of a windowless subterranean location to enhance the dive-y feel. The food — chicken fingers, cheeseburgers, and the like — is surprisingly good, but note that smoking is allowed.

831 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

9. Tattooed Mom

530 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Tattooed Mom [official]

Easily the most aesthetically wild spot on this map, Tattooed Mom's eye-catching walls are almost wholly covered in graffiti-style art. The decor and soundtrack (mostly punk with some hip-hop) means Mom’s does verge on falling out of the dive bar category, but its half-priced happy hour drinks save it. Also look for nightly food specials, lots of vegan options, and arts and crafts projects on Sundays.

530 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

10. El Bar

1356 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Cheap, a touch dingy, and with a pleasant courtyard in warmer months, El Bar is a Fishtown staple. Like a lot of spots on this map, it’s cash only.

1356 N Front St
Philadelphia, PA 19122

11. Atlantis the Lost Bar

2442 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Atlantis the Lost Bar has a cool name and, for some bars, that would be enough. But this cash-only Kensington corner joint also has a pool table, weekly specials, bloody marys with elaborate garnishes on Sundays, and chill bartenders. Plus, rumor has it that bringing fido along for a beer is kosher.

2442 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

Related Maps