Charlottesville Dive Bar Guide

Dive Bars On The Fringes

Charlottesville can feel a little too classy for divey drinking, but options exist on the edges.
Painted Lady Lounge - Detroit Dive Bar - Interior
Durty Nelly's

A sprawling college campus, good weather and a small town vibe combine to create fertile dive bar ground in Charlottesville. The heart of the city is anchored by a large, pedestrian-only district that is, frankly, a little too nice to spark a deep set of dive bar options. And though most of Charlottesville carries that same, polished feeling, strong options can be found on the fringes.

One such fringe can be found in LW’s Livery Stable, a somewhat subterranean option in close proximity to the decidedly more upscale heart of Charlottesville. Similarly, Miller’s Downtown looks a little too swanky on the outside, but a less polished atmosphere can be found on floor 3, far above the classic tavern look below.

The University of Virginia does border a divey option or two, including the perpetually packed outdoor scene at Coupe’s, but the best dive bar in the city, Durty Nelly’s, sits outside both campus and the downtown core. Rare is the combo of dive bar and deli, but Durty Nelly’s is just such an abomination and well worth a visit for a sandwich, live music, karaoke or all three.

Dive Bar Map

Our Charlottesville Dive Bar Recommendations

While we’ve done our fair share of drinking, we haven’t yet hit every Charlottesville Dive Bar. The recommendations below are sorted into tiers to help guide your choices depending on how much time you have to explore Charlottesville. Where we’ve reviewed a location, a score is given.

SFG Reviews

We’ve been lucky enough to visit the locations below in Charlottesville. Each location includes a full review and SFG score to help you decide on how to prioritize your travels.

Durty Nelly's

SFG Rating: 9 out of 10
As close to Milwaukee as Virginia is going to get.

SFG Recommendations

We have not yet been lucky enough to visit the Charlottesville options below, but research, word of mouth and reader submissions have led us to recommend these must-visit options.

LW's Livery Stable

Divey drinking on the edge of downtown Charlottessville.
Google Map

Other Options

Below you’ll find the truly deep cuts, gems in waiting that we have not yet been able to visit. Let us know if you find a particularly potent destination.


9 Elliewood Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Google Map

Miller's Downtown

109 W Main St, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Google Map

The Double Horseshoe Saloon

1522 E High St, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Google Map

Trinity Irish Pub

1505 University Ave, Charlottesville, VA 22903
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

8 + 3 =