Best Dive Bars in Philadelphia: A Guide to the City’s Top Spots for Cheap Drinks

Philadelphia is a city rich in history, culture, and nightlife. For those who enjoy a good dive bar, Philadelphia has plenty of options to choose from. Dive bars are known for their cheap drinks, laid-back atmosphere, and lack of pretension. Here are some of the best dive bars in Philadelphia that are worth checking out.

McGlinchey’s Bar is a staple of the Philadelphia dive bar scene. Located in Center City, this bar has been serving cheap drinks since 1952. The dimly lit interior, jukebox, and pool table give it a classic dive bar feel. The cash-only policy adds to the authenticity of the experience.

Dirty Frank’s is another popular dive bar in Philadelphia. This bar has been around since 1933 and has a loyal following. The walls are covered in local art, adding to the eclectic vibe. The jukebox and pinball machine provide entertainment, and the drinks are cheap and strong. Whether you’re a regular or a first-time visitor, Dirty Frank’s is sure to impress.

Historical Best Dive Bars in Philadelphia

Dive Bars in Philadelphia

Dive Bars in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city with a rich history, and its dive bars are no exception. Here are a few of the historical dive bars in Philadelphia that are worth checking out:

McGillin’s Olde Ale House

McGillin’s Olde Ale House is the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia. It was established in 1860 and has been serving up cold beers and good times ever since. The bar has a classic old-school feel with a long wooden bar, vintage decor, and a friendly atmosphere. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why.

Dirty Frank’s Bar

Dirty Frank’s Bar has been a fixture in Philadelphia’s dive bar scene since 1933. It’s a no-frills bar with a laid-back atmosphere and a loyal following. The walls are covered with vintage posters, stickers, and other memorabilia, giving the bar a unique and eclectic vibe. It’s a great place to grab a cheap drink and hang out with friends.

That’s it for the historical dive bars in Philadelphia. While there are plenty of other great dive bars in the city, these two are definitely worth a visit for their historical significance and unique atmosphere.

BestThemed Dive Bars in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is home to some of the most unique and quirky dive bars in the country. One of the most interesting categories of these bars is the themed dive bar. These bars often have a specific theme that is reflected in the decor, drinks, and overall atmosphere. Here are two of the best themed dive bars in Philadelphia:

Raven Lounge

Located in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, Raven Lounge is a gothic-themed dive bar that is perfect for those who love all things dark and mysterious. The bar is decorated with black walls, red velvet curtains, and a variety of taxidermy animals. The drinks at Raven Lounge are also themed, with names like “The Dark Arts” and “The Raven’s Eye”. The bar also hosts regular events like goth nights and live music performances.

The Trestle Inn

The Trestle Inn is a 60s-themed dive bar located in the Callowhill neighborhood. The bar is decorated with retro furniture and vintage posters, and the bartenders wear go-go boots and mini skirts. The Trestle Inn is known for its whiskey selection, and the bar offers a variety of whiskey flights for those who want to sample different types. The bar also hosts regular events like soul and funk dance parties.

These themed dive bars offer a unique and memorable experience for those looking for something different from the typical bar scene. Whether you’re into gothic or 60s nostalgia, these bars are sure to transport you to another time and place.

Best Dive Bars in Philadelphia with Live Music

Philadelphia is known for its vibrant music scene, and what better way to experience it than at a dive bar with live music? Here are two dive bars that offer a unique experience for music lovers.

Bob and Barbara’s

Bob and Barbara’s is a South Street staple that has been around for over 50 years. This dive bar is known for its famous “Citywide Special” – a shot of Jim Beam and a PBR for only $3. The bar also has live music every night of the week, with a focus on jazz and blues.

On Sundays, Bob and Barbara’s hosts the “Longest Running Drag Show in Philadelphia,” which has been a weekly event for over 20 years. The show features local drag queens who perform to a packed house. If you’re looking for a fun and unique night out, Bob and Barbara’s is the place to be.

Johnny Brenda’s

Johnny Brenda’s is a Fishtown institution that has been around since 2003. This dive bar is known for its impressive selection of craft beers and its intimate music venue. The bar hosts live music several nights a week, with a focus on indie rock and alternative music.

The venue has a capacity of 250 people, making it the perfect spot for an intimate concert experience. Johnny Brenda’s has hosted a variety of notable acts over the years, including The War on Drugs and Kurt Vile. If you’re looking for a dive bar with great beer and live music, Johnny Brenda’s is the place to be.

Best Dive Bars in Philadelphia with Unique Drinks

Tattooed Mom

Tattooed Mom is a popular dive bar in South Street with a quirky, artsy vibe. The bar offers a wide variety of unique drinks that are sure to satisfy any adventurous drinker’s palate. Some of the standout drinks include:

  • Mom’s Green Tea Shot: A mix of Jameson, peach schnapps, and green tea, served as a shot.
  • Rainbow Unicorn: A colorful concoction of vodka, blue curacao, grenadine, and pineapple juice, garnished with a rainbow lollipop.
  • Mom’s Grown-Up Juice Boxes: A playful take on a childhood favorite, these drinks come in a juice box and feature adult beverages like vodka and rum.

Oscar’s Tavern

Oscar’s Tavern is an old-school dive bar in Center City that has been around for over 40 years. Despite its humble appearance, the bar has a loyal following thanks to its friendly atmosphere and unique drinks. Some of the must-try drinks at Oscar’s include:

  • Oscar’s Famous Bloody Mary: This spicy, savory drink is made with a secret blend of spices and garnished with a pickle, olive, and celery.
  • The Oscar: A potent mix of tequila, triple sec, and grapefruit juice, served in a salt-rimmed glass.
  • The O-Bomb: A twist on the classic Jägerbomb, this drink combines Jägermeister and Red Bull with a splash of cranberry juice.

Both Tattooed Mom and Oscar’s Tavern offer a wide variety of unique drinks that are sure to impress even the most seasoned bar-goer. Whether you’re in the mood for a playful, colorful cocktail or a classic drink with a twist, these dive bars have something for everyone.

Check also
Best Dive Bars in Pittsburgh


Philadelphia is home to many dive bars that cater to all kinds of people. From the gritty and grungy to the hip and trendy, there is something for everyone. While some may argue that dive bars are a dying breed, Philadelphia proves that they are alive and well.

Whether you’re looking for a cheap drink, a place to catch a game, or just a spot to hang out with friends, dive bars in Philadelphia have got you covered. From the classic and historic to the new and modern, each bar has its own unique charm and character.

One thing that sets dive bars apart from other bars is their authenticity. They are not trying to be something they’re not. They are not catering to a specific crowd or trying to be the next big thing. They are just a place to grab a drink and have a good time.

Overall, Philadelphia’s dive bars offer a unique and authentic experience that cannot be replicated. They are a testament to the city’s rich history and culture, and a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the true essence of Philadelphia’s bar scene.


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