> City: Oklahoma City
The signature cocktail here sets the tone: It’s called the Lunchbox; it’s made with fresh orange juice, light beer, and amaretto in a frosty mug; and the bar claims to have served more than 2 million of them since it was invented accidentally in the 1990s. Reviewers describe Edna’s as a classic dive bar, with decor featuring dollar bills stapled to the walls. Bar namesake Edna Scott, who died in 2014, used to dance on the bar every time somebody played “Great Balls of Fire” on the jukebox.
Oregon: Montavilla Station
> City: Portland
“[A] true dive and I mean that in the best way,” wrote a Yelper earlier this year. “It’s full of locals who know each other; some ride motorcycles, others chain smoke and start drinking at 9AM.” Another hailed it as a “Great spot to have a stiff drink and some cheap food” (like $2 hot dogs, $4 mac & cheese wedges, and chili cheese fries for $4.75). A sign of the times: One Yelp review from September noted that there were “appropriate socially distant tables inside.”
> City: Pittsburgh
“Gooski’s is always first up when you ask anyone for the best dive bar in town,” reports Thrillist, “and rightly so.” A Yelp reviewer notes that the place “is very dim, red lighting fills the bar area, smoke floats in the air and noise is abundant” (Philadelphia law allows smoking in bars under some conditions) and “Graffiti covers everything, including the ATM.” “Tattoos not required, but recommended,” cracks Pittsburgh CityPaper.
Rhode Island: Nick-A-Nee’s
> City: Providence
A self-described “heavenly dive,” dog-friendly and cash-only, Nick-a-Nee’s is known for its live music and friendly atmosphere. It’s a great change of pace “if you need a break from trendy,” according to one Yelper. Another, praising “the most amazing vibe,” adds that “the setting is wildly unpretentious” and “the beer’s ice cold!” And a review from a visitor from Massachusetts says that it’s the “Best dive bar in New England.”
South Carolina: The Hidden Tavern
> City: Lexington
“Great place to hang out, drink, shoot pool, play darts,” according to one local on Yelp. The pondside Tavern offers live music, karaoke, and an occasional fish fry or oyster roast, and there’s highly informal outdoor seating. “Best bar in the greater Columbia, Lexington area,” in the words of another Yelp review, and “Service is great” and “Drinks stay flowing.” One critic on Google said it was “A bar where the bartender is more drunk than you” and recommended that readers “stay far away” — but that just adds to its dive-bar cred.