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The Best Dive Bars In NYC

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When you’re young, broke and beautiful and living in (or adjacent to) Manhattan there are a lot of great dive bars just a subway stop away. From a tatted up staff to a punk rock mosh pit by the kitchen these are the bars that wear their history on their stained bathroom tiles. If you prefer your bartender wears a uniform and  takes Apple Pay then these aren’t the places for you.

Grab your Purell and pull up a seat.

CLOCKWORK BAR| Canal St. and Hester St – Chinatown

Clockwork Bar puts on no pretenses. It has sticker and graffiti covered walls, cheap drinks and no frills. This punk dive bar plays music from the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag with some metal thrown in for good measure. This is the bar you come to when you’ve had a long ass week, the world is getting on your nerves and you want to drink without breaking the bank.

Actual YELP review- “Is it being from Philly that makes me love how fucking crusty it is here? Don’t care.”

HOLLAND BAR| 532 9th Ave – Hell’s Kitchen

This cozy cash-only dive bar takes dollar bills with notes from their customers written on them and tapes them up on the wall. Why? Why the fuck not? Holland Bar won’t take your credit cards or any of your shit. There are no tables just a limited number of seats at the bar. They’ve got a jukebox, cheap cocktails and shots of moonshine with a side of cherries.

Actual YELP review- “This place is a real shithole. I love it. My beer smelled like rubbing alcohol and a transvestite complimented me on my shorts.”

JOHNNY’S BAR| 90 Greenwich Ave – West Village

Johnny’s Bar has cheap beer, great service and hundreds of sketches of Burt Reynolds on the walls (seriously, it’s like their thing). It’s the very definition of an old school dive bar. It’s definitely a small space so don’t wait til the last minute to come out and try to find a seat. Come early and hang out with the local characters.

Actual YELP review- “Lost more brain cells here than can be counted.”



The Library is a very unique dive bar. They’ve got shelves along the walls lined with books and they have a big screen projector that shows movies on a wall in back. What other bar does that? With ample room it’s a great change of pace from the over crowded clubs and bars in the area.

Actualy YELP review- “This bar is a piece of shit and that’s why I love it. Give me a spot where the locals and the bartender bust chops, half the seats are ripped/broken, there’s an unidentifiable smell and the drinks are cheap and I’m a happy man.”


You won’t find fancy micro brews at this place but you will find darts and a pool table. The old school jukebox plays Chuck Berry while the blue-collar crowd stands on the sticky floors. Pull up a seat and listen to Billy himself tell you about the grittier years of living in NYC.

Actual YELP review- “This is not a place for posh entertainment. This is a place to get drunk after work and go home.”

Well, wtf are you waiting for?


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Joe DeLong - NYC Editor

Joe DeLong - NYC Editor

Former stand up comic, radio show host, mayoral candidate and fetish webcam model. Now I'm the male equivalent of a crazy cat lady.

1 Comment

  1. Jay Schuurman
    April 20, 2020 at 7:22 am

    Break Bar in Astoria, Commodore in Williamsburg