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

Reading, Pennsylvania may not be the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of dive bars, but the city has a surprising number of hidden gems for those in search of a no-frills drinking experience. From gritty neighborhood haunts to historic watering holes, Reading’s dive bars offer a unique glimpse into the city’s blue-collar roots.

One of the best dive bars in Reading is the Pike Cafe, a local institution that has been serving up cheap drinks and live music since the 1950s. The bar’s walls are covered in memorabilia from the city’s industrial past, and the jukebox is stocked with classic rock and roll. The Pike is a popular spot for bikers, but everyone is welcome to pull up a stool and enjoy a cold beer.

Another must-visit dive bar in Reading is the Speckled Hen, a cozy pub that feels like it has been frozen in time. The bar’s wood-paneled walls and stained glass windows create a warm and inviting atmosphere, and the friendly regulars are always happy to chat with newcomers. The Speckled Hen is known for its extensive selection of craft beers and ciders, as well as its hearty pub fare.

History of Best Dive Bars in Reading, PA

Reading, PA has a long and rich history of dive bars, which are often characterized by their cheap drinks, laid-back atmosphere, and unpretentious clientele. These bars have been a staple of the city’s nightlife for decades, and many of them have become beloved institutions in their own right.

The origins of dive bars in Reading can be traced back to the early 20th century, when the city was a bustling industrial center with a large working-class population. In those days, dive bars were often the only places where workers could go to unwind after a long day on the job. They were typically located in working-class neighborhoods and catered to blue-collar clientele.

Over the years, dive bars in Reading have evolved and changed with the times. Some have closed down, while others have been renovated and modernized. But even as the city has grown and changed, dive bars have remained a constant presence, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Today, there are many dive bars in Reading that cater to a diverse range of customers. Some are known for their live music, while others are popular for their cheap drinks and friendly staff. But no matter what their particular appeal may be, they all share a common thread: a commitment to providing a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere where customers can unwind and enjoy themselves.

Top 5 Best Dive Bars in Reading, PA

Dive Bars in Reading, PA

Dive Bars in Reading, PA

Mike’s Tavern

Mike’s Tavern is a classic dive bar in Reading, PA. It’s been around for over 50 years and has a loyal following. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, and the drinks are cheap. If you’re looking for a laid-back spot to hang out with friends, Mike’s Tavern is a great choice.

The Ugly Oyster

The Ugly Oyster is a dive bar with a unique atmosphere. The walls are covered in graffiti, and there’s a pool table in the middle of the room. The bartenders are friendly, and the drinks are reasonably priced. If you’re looking for a place to play some pool and have a few drinks, The Ugly Oyster is a great option.

3rd & Spruce Cafe

3rd & Spruce Cafe is a dive bar with a great selection of beer. They have over 200 different kinds of beer, including many craft beers. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the bartenders are knowledgeable about the beer selection. If you’re a beer lover, 3rd & Spruce Cafe is a must-visit.

The Pike Cafe

The Pike Cafe is a dive bar with a rock and roll vibe. They have live music on the weekends, and the walls are covered in posters of famous rock bands. The atmosphere is lively and fun, and the drinks are reasonably priced. If you’re looking for a place to listen to live music and have a few drinks, The Pike Cafe is a great choice.

Sterling Guest Hotel Bar

The Sterling Guest Hotel Bar is a dive bar located in the Sterling Guest Hotel in Reading, PA. It’s a small bar with a friendly atmosphere. The drinks are reasonably priced, and the bartenders are knowledgeable about the area. If you’re staying at the Sterling Guest Hotel and looking for a place to grab a drink, the hotel bar is a convenient option.

Unique Features of Reading’s Dive Bars

Authentic Atmosphere

Reading’s dive bars are known for their authentic atmosphere that takes you back in time. These bars have a rustic, vintage feel that is hard to find in modern bars. The dim lighting, old wooden furniture, and vintage decor create a cozy and intimate atmosphere that is perfect for a night out with friends.

Affordable Prices

One of the best things about dive bars in Reading is their affordable prices. These bars offer some of the cheapest drinks in town, making them a popular spot for college students and locals on a budget. You can enjoy a night out without breaking the bank, and still have a great time.

Friendly Local Crowd

Reading’s dive bars are known for their friendly local crowds. These bars attract a diverse group of people, from college students to blue-collar workers, creating a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. You’ll find that the regulars are always happy to strike up a conversation and make new friends.

Live Music

Many of Reading’s dive bars feature live music, adding to their unique charm. You can enjoy a pint of beer while listening to local bands play everything from classic rock to blues. The live music scene in Reading is thriving, and dive bars are at the forefront of it.

In summary, Reading’s dive bars offer a unique and authentic experience that is hard to find in modern bars. They have an affordable price point, a friendly local crowd, and often feature live music. If you’re looking for a night out that’s full of character and charm, then Reading’s dive bars are the place to be.

Safety Tips for Visiting Dive Bars in Reading,PA

Visiting dive bars can be a fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable time:

  • Always bring a friend or group of friends with you. This is especially important if you’re visiting a new dive bar or one that you’re not familiar with.
  • Avoid getting too drunk. It’s easy to get carried away with cheap drinks and a lively atmosphere, but it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Take note of the exits and keep an eye out for any potential trouble.
  • Keep your valuables safe. Don’t leave your phone, wallet, or other valuables unattended.
  • Don’t engage in any illegal activities. This includes drug use or dealing, as well as any other illegal activities that may be taking place.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a fun and enjoyable experience at any dive bar in Reading, PA.

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In conclusion, Reading, PA has a variety of dive bars that cater to different preferences. Each of the bars mentioned in this article offers a unique experience, from live music to karaoke and pool tables.

For those looking for a classic dive bar experience, the Pike Cafe and the Peanut Bar are great options. Both bars have been around for decades and have a loyal following. The Pike Cafe is known for its cheap drinks and live music, while the Peanut Bar is famous for its peanuts and old-school atmosphere.

For those looking for a more modern dive bar, the Blind Hartman’s Tavern and the Canal Street Pub are worth checking out. Blind Hartman’s has a large selection of craft beers and a laid-back atmosphere, while the Canal Street Pub has a cozy interior and a great selection of food.

Lastly, for those looking for a dive bar with a unique twist, the Chatty Monks Brewing Company and the Reverb are great options. Chatty Monks offers a variety of craft beers brewed on-site and a lively atmosphere, while the Reverb is a music venue that also serves drinks and has a great selection of pool tables.

Overall, Reading, PA has a diverse selection of dive bars that are worth exploring. Whether you’re looking for a classic dive bar experience or something more modern, there’s something for everyone in this city.


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