Kansas: Fat Matt’s Vortex
> City: Kansas City
Built over an old crematorium (tours of the basement are available), this local institution in Strawberry Hill features bartenders full of character, flatscreen TVs, a pool table, icy cold beer, and a signature cocktail called Grog/Witches Brew.
Kentucky: Chevy Chase Inn
> City: Lexington
“The cocktails are cheap [and] [t]he ambiance is dark, dirty, vintage, and brooding, in the best way” at this old-school dive bar (said to be the city’s oldest continuously operating watering hole), according to one Yelp comment. Another warns, “This place is not for posers! Zero poser policy!” Live music and a good choice of carry-in food options nearby are added attractions, and “Beer comes canned and ice cold.”
Louisiana: Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge
> City: New Orleans
With one of the great rundown-dive-bar exteriors – complete with a large sign advertising Regal Beer on tap (the Bourbon Street brewery that produced it closed down in 1962) – Snake & Jake’s has been called a “bucket list dive bar destination” on Yelp. The site also notes that “The drinks are cheap, the staff is friendly and accommodating, and the bar dog is a friendly pup….” Reversing the usual morning-to-late-night policy of many dive bars, this one’s open from 7 p.m. till 7 a.m. And the holiday decorations stay up all year long.
Maine: Ruski’s Tavern
> City: Portland
Uncommonly for a dive bar, Ruski’s serves what many reviewers hail as excellent food – including hearty breakfasts. Yelpers call the place “unpretentious, casual, and…a great mix of locals of all ages and backgrounds” and note that “The drinks are strong, the service is warm and the music will keep you bopping.”
Maryland: Mount Royal Tavern
> City: Baltimore
Come to this Belvedere dive bar, writes one Yelper, for “Cheap drinks, great music, diverse crowd, artwork on the ceiling and funny postings behind the bar,” as well as bartenders full of great tales to tell. One local notes “It’s grimy, dimly lit and a little sticky. I fell in love with it immediately.”
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