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A curved bar with red leather stools with backs, black and white tiled floor, and a neon green backsplash with alcohol. Society Hill Films

Beer Specials, Bar Stools, and Pub Food: Here Are the Essential Philly Dive Bars

When all that matters is a Citywide and a basket of fries

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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.

Tie one on with the mix of characters and cheap drinks that are standard at Philly's essential dive bars.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

McMenamin's Tavern

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A visit to McMenamin’s Tavern on Germantown Avenue would be worth it for the fish and chips alone — they’re almost transcendentally good for pub food — but the beer specials and spacious inside and outdoor seating make it a great place for long hangs and groups.

Delmar Bar & Lounge

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If your dive bar doesn’t have a jukebox and a pool table, is it even a dive bar? At Delmar Bar & Lounge in Germantown, both are present and accounted for, which means the atmosphere is lively and the music is good.

Atlantis the Lost Bar

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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, rotating drinks specials, bloody marys with elaborate garnishes on Sundays, and chill bartenders.

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

Oscar's Tavern

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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.

Dirty Frank's

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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.

Bob & Barbara's Cocktail Lounge

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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.

Wine Dive

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If you prefer a glass of bordeaux blanc but a dive bar atmosphere, the closest thing is this 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.

A curved bar with red leather stools with backs, black and white tiled floor, and a neon green backsplash with alcohol. Society Hill Films

Tattooed Mom

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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 means Mom’s does verge on falling out of the dive bar category, but its happy hour drinks save it. Also look for nightly food specials and lots of vegan menu options.

12 Steps Down

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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,

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

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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. There’s rowdy karaoke every Friday night.

Metal Steve sings Coldplay’s “Yellow” at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar Friday Karaoke with DJ Lars as a crowd of people sing along Natalie Piserchio

McCusker's Tavern

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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.

McMenamin's Tavern

A visit to McMenamin’s Tavern on Germantown Avenue would be worth it for the fish and chips alone — they’re almost transcendentally good for pub food — but the beer specials and spacious inside and outdoor seating make it a great place for long hangs and groups.

Delmar Bar & Lounge

If your dive bar doesn’t have a jukebox and a pool table, is it even a dive bar? At Delmar Bar & Lounge in Germantown, both are present and accounted for, which means the atmosphere is lively and the music is good.

Atlantis the Lost Bar

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, rotating drinks specials, bloody marys with elaborate garnishes on Sundays, and chill bartenders.

El Bar

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

Oscar's Tavern

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.

Dirty Frank's

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.

Bob & Barbara's Cocktail Lounge

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.

Wine Dive

A curved bar with red leather stools with backs, black and white tiled floor, and a neon green backsplash with alcohol. Society Hill Films

If you prefer a glass of bordeaux blanc but a dive bar atmosphere, the closest thing is this 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.

A curved bar with red leather stools with backs, black and white tiled floor, and a neon green backsplash with alcohol. Society Hill Films

Tattooed Mom

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 means Mom’s does verge on falling out of the dive bar category, but its happy hour drinks save it. Also look for nightly food specials and lots of vegan menu options.

12 Steps Down

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,

Ray's Happy Birthday Bar

Metal Steve sings Coldplay’s “Yellow” at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar Friday Karaoke with DJ Lars as a crowd of people sing along Natalie Piserchio

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. There’s rowdy karaoke every Friday night.

Metal Steve sings Coldplay’s “Yellow” at Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar Friday Karaoke with DJ Lars as a crowd of people sing along Natalie Piserchio

McCusker's Tavern

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.

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