Downtown Sacramento

Sacramento, California

From the ultra-divey Chambers Room to boozy putt-putt, what better way to experience downtown Sacramento.
Beck Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Interior
As the downtown area of a major city, it should come as no surprise that downtown Sacramento hosts a wild variety of bar and restaurant options, from perhaps the most divey dive bar in the city (Chambers Room) to a number of more modern spins on old concepts (Coin-Op Game Room, for example). The city’s downtown core even includes Old Sacramento, a touristy spin on Old West-style living that includes things like Western theme restaurants and general stores.

But the diversity of options in this part of town is what makes a crawl here compelling, the mix of divey and polished bars and restaurants a nice slice of Sacramento compactly offered across a handful of city blocks. There are gems to be found throughout Sacramento’s downtown core, the ideas floated below only a portion of what can be found on a stroll through the city.

Here, we’ve prioritized affordable options, a pair of the city’s best dive bars and enough trendy game-based drinking establishments to satisfy even the most dive bar-adverse friends in your crew.

Crawl Map

All Stops

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The Stops

1. Back Door Lounge

1112 Firehouse Alley, Sacramento, CA 95814
Google Map
(916) 442-5751

Old Sacramento is worth a stroll despite some of the district’s more tourist-focused establishments in the riverfront area. And stroll is the operative word here because Back Door Lounge can be hard to find, around a corner, off the main strip, down a sloping alley to a red door that if you’re lucky has a sandwich board in front of it directing drinkers to Old Sacramento’s best bar. The space is an explosion of red, from the walls to the carpet to the lighting, the kind of place that looks like the Rat Pack could have retreated here for a beer or ten after a show. Back Door Lounge is a ‘lounge’ in every sense of the term, opened in 1968 and largely untouched since.

2. Fanny Ann's Saloon

1023 2nd St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Google Map
(916) 441-0505
Web Site Link

Now Fanny Ann’s Saloon is no authentic dive bar, to be sure, and it exists to serve the Old West theme of Old Sacramento, but it’s just too fun to pass up including here. Opened in 1973, every layer of the space has been caked with some kind of Old West-themed apparatus, from the stagecoach over the bar to the wagon wheels affixed to the ceiling. The historical roots are legit here too, while Fanny Ann’s opened in 1972, the building dates back to wreck of a Civil War-era ship of the same name, supposedly salvaged after a fire in 1869 and used as the foundation for the building that exists today. True or not, on visual appeal alone, Fanny Ann’s is worth a visit while exploring Old Sacramento.

3. Chambers Room

701 J St #2501, Sacramento, CA 95814
Google Map

Downtown Sacramento proper is a far cry from Old Sacramento, so be prepared for the transition. Chambers Room is as divey as it gets in the city, a small outpost on one of the area’s lesser-used streets, a combination dive bar and lottery stop that draws all types of drinkers into its windowless interior. The space dates back to the 1970s despite the modern art pieces that can be found displayed in the rear of the space. The ceiling here looks like it has been cracked in two, the ravine in reverse painted black and decorated to add more character to a space already overflowing with it. A drinking session along the bar’s padded rail will no doubt offer a view of all manner of Sacramento resident, that’s to be sure.

4. Tipsy Putt

630 K St #120, Sacramento, CA 95814
Google Map
(916) 872-0772
Web Site Link

Tipsy Putt is not our usual inclusion on a bar crawl given that Sacramento’s location is part of a small and growing chain of mini golf-focused California bars. But there’s something about a mid-crawl pit stop for some indoor mini golf and something called Duffleboard, a signature offering at Tipsy Putt that amounts to tabletop mini golf with small, flat putters. Reservations can be made here for the more punctual bar crawl planners and the usual array of bar food can be found here from nachos to tacos to burgers. The same spirit can be found at nearby Coin-Op Game Room for those a little more interested in drinking while playing arcade games rather than mini golf.

5. Torch Club

904 15th St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Google Map
(916) 443-2797
Web Site Link

Returning to a proper dive bar neon sign is always a comforting sight on a bar crawl and Sacramento’s Torch Club provides just that. The blazing red sign with the martini glass and large red arrow is a classic, a sign about as subtle as a dive bar named Torch Club. The red, windowless exterior fits the bill as well, though the confines inside are well updated by dive bar standards. Live music is a frequent occurrence here, the small stage hosting bands most weekend evenings. Keep an eye out for a cover here, though the blues bands that often grace the Torch Club stage are well worth the outlay.

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East Sacramento

Neon shamrocks and pasties can't be wrong.

Midtown Sacramento

Epic dive bar signage off the beaten path.