Best Dive Bars in Cincinnati: Where to Find Cheap Drinks and Good Times

Cincinnati is a city known for its vibrant nightlife, and dive bars are an essential part of that scene. These casual, unpretentious bars offer a laid-back atmosphere and affordable drinks, making them a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re looking for a spot to grab a cold beer after work or a place to let loose on the weekend, Cincinnati’s dive bars have got you covered.

From the iconic City View Tavern in Mt. Adams to the cozy Rosie’s Tavern in Hamilton, there are plenty of dive bars to choose from in Cincinnati. Each bar has its own unique character and charm, but they all share a commitment to providing a fun and welcoming environment for all. Whether you’re a regular or a first-time visitor, you’re sure to feel right at home at any of these establishments. So sit back, relax, and enjoy a cold one at one of Cincinnati’s best dive bars.

History of Best Cincinnati’s Dive Bars

dive bar cincinnati

dive bar cincinnati

Cincinnati has a rich history of dive bars that dates back to the early 20th century. These bars were originally established to serve the working-class population of the city, offering cheap drinks, simple food, and a place to unwind after a long day at work. Over time, they became an integral part of the city’s culture, attracting a diverse crowd of locals and visitors alike.

Many of the city’s oldest dive bars are located in the downtown area, which was once the heart of Cincinnati’s industrial district. These bars were frequented by factory workers, dockhands, and other blue-collar workers who would gather after their shifts to drink, socialize, and blow off steam.

One of the oldest and most famous dive bars in Cincinnati is Arnold’s Bar and Grill, which has been in operation since 1861. Located in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Arnold’s is renowned for its classic cocktails, live music, and cozy atmosphere. Other notable dive bars in the downtown area include Japp’s Since 1879, The Drinkery, and Neons Unplugged.

In recent years, Cincinnati’s dive bar scene has expanded to include a variety of bars located throughout the city’s many neighborhoods. These bars range from classic dive bars with a gritty, no-frills atmosphere to more upscale bars that offer craft cocktails and artisanal food.

Despite the changes in the city’s bar scene, Cincinnati’s dive bars remain an important part of the city’s culture and identity. They offer a glimpse into the city’s rich history and provide a unique and authentic experience for visitors and locals alike.

Top Rated Best Dive Bars in Cincinnati

Cincinnati is known for its vibrant nightlife, and dive bars are a staple of that scene. These bars offer a laid-back atmosphere, cheap drinks, and a chance to rub elbows with locals. Here are three of the top-rated dive bars in Cincinnati:

The Comet

Located in the Northside neighborhood, The Comet has been serving up drinks and food since 1993. This dive bar is known for its extensive beer selection, which includes local brews and hard-to-find bottles. The Comet also has a full menu of vegetarian and vegan options, making it a favorite among those with dietary restrictions. The bar hosts live music and other events throughout the week, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Northside Tavern

Northside Tavern is another popular dive bar located in the Northside neighborhood. This bar has been around since the 1800s and has a rich history in Cincinnati. Northside Tavern is known for its live music, with local and national acts performing on a regular basis. The bar also has a large outdoor patio, which is perfect for enjoying a drink on a warm summer night.


MOTR Pub is located in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and is known for its craft beer selection and live music. The bar has a laid-back atmosphere, with a mix of locals and tourists enjoying drinks and conversation. MOTR Pub also serves food, with a menu that includes pub favorites like burgers and fries. The bar hosts live music seven nights a week, making it a popular spot for those looking for a night out.

Overall, Cincinnati has no shortage of dive bars, but these three are some of the best in the city. Whether you’re looking for cheap drinks, live music, or a laid-back atmosphere, these bars are sure to deliver.

Hidden Gems

Cincinnati is home to many dive bars, but some are true hidden gems that are worth seeking out. Here are three dive bars that locals swear by:

Knockback Nat’s

Located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, Knockback Nat’s is a popular spot for locals looking for a laid-back atmosphere and cheap drinks. The bar is known for its extensive beer selection, with over 100 different beers on tap. In addition to beer, Knockback Nat’s also serves up classic dive bar fare like burgers and wings. The bar is open late, making it a great spot to grab a drink after a night out.

The Drinkery

Tucked away in Over-the-Rhine, The Drinkery is a cozy dive bar that has been a favorite of locals for years. The bar has a great selection of craft beers and cocktails, and the bartenders are always happy to make recommendations. The Drinkery also hosts live music and events throughout the week, making it a great spot to catch some local talent.

The Listing Loon

The Listing Loon is a small, unassuming dive bar in Northside that has become a favorite of locals in recent years. The bar has a great selection of craft beers and wines, as well as a rotating menu of small plates and snacks. The Listing Loon also hosts trivia nights and other events throughout the week, making it a popular spot for locals looking for a fun night out.

Overall, Cincinnati has no shortage of great dive bars, but these hidden gems are definitely worth checking out. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere or a great selection of drinks, these bars have something for everyone.

Best Dive Bars in Cincinnati with Live Music

Cincinnati is home to some of the best dive bars with live music. These bars are perfect for those who want to enjoy some good music with a cold beer. Here are two of the best dive bars with live music in Cincinnati.

Arnold’s Bar and Grill

Arnold’s Bar and Grill is a historic dive bar located in Downtown Cincinnati. It has been around since 1861 and is the oldest bar in the city. The bar is known for its live music, which is usually performed by local bands. The music ranges from blues to rock, and there is always something for everyone.

Arnold’s Bar and Grill has a cozy atmosphere, with dim lighting and vintage decor. The bar has a wide selection of beers, including local craft beers. They also serve classic pub food, such as burgers and sandwiches.

The Southgate House Revival

The Southgate House Revival is a dive bar located in Newport, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati. The bar is housed in a historic building that was once a church. The bar has three stages and hosts live music every night of the week.

The music at The Southgate House Revival ranges from rock to country to blues. The bar has a great sound system and a spacious dance floor. They also have a wide selection of beers and cocktails.

In addition to live music, The Southgate House Revival also hosts art shows and other events. The bar has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and is a great place to hang out with friends.

Overall, Arnold’s Bar and Grill and The Southgate House Revival are two of the best dive bars with live music in Cincinnati. They offer great music, drinks, and atmosphere, and are definitely worth checking out.

Best Dive Bars in Cincinnati with Unique Themes

If you’re looking for a dive bar with a unique twist, Cincinnati has a few options that won’t disappoint. Here are two dive bars with themes that make them stand out from the rest:

The Video Archive

Located in the historic Northside neighborhood, The Video Archive is a dive bar that pays homage to the VHS era. The bar is decorated with retro movie posters and VHS tapes, and even has a hidden entrance that looks like a video rental store.

Aside from the unique decor, The Video Archive also has a great selection of craft cocktails and local beers. Their signature drink, the “Blockbuster,” is a mix of bourbon, honey, lemon, and ginger beer.

The Video Archive also hosts movie nights in their back room, which is decked out with cozy couches and a projector screen. It’s the perfect spot for a low-key date night or a night out with friends.

The Rook

The Rook is a dive bar in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood that combines two things that don’t seem to go together: board games and cocktails. The bar has a huge collection of board games that customers can play while they enjoy their drinks.

The Rook’s cocktail menu is equally impressive, with creative concoctions like the “Battleship,” which is made with gin, blue curaçao, lemon, and tonic. They also have a great selection of local beers on tap.

In addition to board games, The Rook also has a shuffleboard table and a dart board. It’s a great spot to hang out with friends and enjoy a few drinks while you play some games.

Overall, if you’re looking for a dive bar with a unique theme, The Video Archive and The Rook are definitely worth checking out.

Check also
Best Dive Bars In Ohio
Best Dive Bars In Cleveland


In conclusion, Cincinnati is home to a variety of dive bars, each with its unique atmosphere and charm. Whether you’re looking for a place to grab a cheap drink with friends or a spot to catch the game, there’s a dive bar in Cincinnati for you.

Some of the top dive bars in Cincinnati include Murphy’s Pub, which has been serving locals for over 20 years, and Dive Bar, which offers cheap drinks and a laid-back atmosphere. Another favorite is Rosie’s Tavern, which is known for its friendly staff and lively atmosphere.

For those looking for a dive bar outside of the city, the suburbs of Cincinnati also offer some great options. Silver Grove’s dive bar is a popular spot just a few miles beyond the Dollar General, while the suburban dive bars in Greater Cincinnati offer a unique experience.

No matter which dive bar you choose to visit in Cincinnati, you’re sure to have a great time. So grab a few friends, head out to a dive bar, and experience the city’s unique nightlife scene for yourself.


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