Boston Dive Bar Guide

Blue Collar, Irish, Perfect Dive Bar Atmosphere

Two of life’s greatest gifts are dive bars and Irish pubs and while certainly not every Boston dive bar holds an Irish pedigree, the city’s undeniable Irish influence has embedded in its residents a deep love and appreciation for the no-frills drinking that dive bars provide. Blue collar roots, historic buildings, cultural influences from all over the world, all of the makings for a great dive bar atmosphere are present in Boston and can be seen in the options throughout the city.

Of course there are dive bars squarely in the Venn diagram overlap between Irish pub and dive bar, Biddy Early’s perhaps the best example. The space looks like a hardware store mixed with an Irish pub and there’s really no higher praise for a dive than that. Sligo Pub in Somerville pulls a similar vibe in a different part of town, a slender 1937 shotgun-style dive in an unassuming strip.

Paddy’s Lunch in Cambridge may be the perfect Boston dive bar, a space that looks like a converted family room opened in 1934 and largely left alone every since. This is a small bar in a residential area populated by regulars and locals and it has been that way for decades. Whitey’s Pub or Croke Park (pick a name) takes that same aesthetic but takes it to Southie, where no sign graces the exterior of the building and yet regulars have been streaming in since 1933.

Boston’s dive bar selections are as diverse as the city’s neighborhoods, including downtown-style dives like Sullivan’s Tap, the only respectable choice for drinking before or after a Bruins or Celtics game. The story of Boston is a friendly one for the development of dive bars and though the pressures of real estate prices continue to take their toll on Boston’s options, stalwarts exist in every corner of the timeless city.

Boston Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Paddy's Lunch

A lonely dive bar on the end of a residential street, Paddy's is a 1934 classic and maybe the perfect Boston dive bar.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Charlie's Kitchen

Like a diner crossed with a dive bar across two floors, this is Harvard's double cheeseburger king.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Sligo Pub

"On an unassuming street" is the start of many a great dive bar review, including this one for shotgun-style Sligo Pub.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Cantab Lounge

The Cantab has seen renovations over the years, but live music still packs in tight dive bar-friendly crowds.
Review Rating: 6 of 10

Boston Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Allston

Silhouette Lounge

200 Brighton Ave
Allston, MA 2134
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Downtown

Biddy Early's

141 Pearl St
Boston, MA 2110
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Downtown

The Tam

222 Tremont St
Boston, MA 2116
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Hull

Jo's Nautical Bar

125 Main St
Hull, MA 2045
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Jamaica Plain

Fireside Tavern

30 Hyde Park Ave
Boston, MA 2130
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Randolph

Lynwood Café

320 Center St
Randolph, MA 2368
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South Boston

Croke Park / Whitey's

268 W Broadway
Boston, MA 2127
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West End

Sullivan's Tap

168 Canal St
Boston, MA 2114
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Other Dive Bar Options

Beacon Hill Pub

149 Charles St
Boston, MA 2114
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BK's Pub

4272 Washington St
Roslindale, MA 2131
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Brendan Behan Pub

378 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 2130
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Bukowski Tavern

50 Dalton St
Boston, MA 2115
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Delux Café

100 Chandler St
Boston, MA 2116
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Dudley Chateau

20 Crest Rd
Wayland, MA 1778
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Eddie C's

34 Maverick Square
Boston, MA 2128
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Eire Pub

795 Adams St
Boston, MA 2124
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Fit-Z's Bar & Grille

451 Main St
Watertown, MA 2472
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Goal Post Bar & Grille

226 Water St
Quincy, MA 2169
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Hub Pub

18 Province St
Boston, MA 2108
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Malachy's Saloon

51 Granite St
Quincy, MA 2169
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Manet Lunch

1099 Sea St
Quincy, MA 2169
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Model Café

7 N Beacon St
Boston, MA 2134
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Murphy's Law

837 Summer St
Boston, MA 2127
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Paddy Barry's

1574 Hancock St
Quincy, MA 2169
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Shannon Tavern

558 E 3rd St
Boston, MA 2127
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State Park

One Kendall Square Building 300 Lower Level
Cambridge, MA 2139
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The Connection

40 Union St
Holbrook, MA 2343
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The Shanty FKA Sully's Sand Trap

327 Bridge St #3A
Weymouth, MA 2191
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Toad

1912 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 2140
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Tom English's Cottage

118 Emerson St
Boston, MA 2127
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Touchie's Shamrock Pub

501 E 8th St
Boston, MA 2127
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Twelve Ben's

315 Adams St
Dorchester, MA 2122
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What Did We Miss?

2 + 8 =

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