California is closely associated with densely packed cities flocked to by people from all around the country. But Sacramento flies under the radar in that respect, a city that might just be the perfect size, taking advantage of California weather without the crowds. As far as dive bars go, the ingredients make for a particularly potent set of destinations, the city’s downtown core quickly dissipating into chains of residential neighborhoods perfect for corner dive bars.
Sacramento’s dive bar heavy hitters exist on the fringes of the city, Swiss Buda
embodying the classic California strip mall dive but with a robust backstory that includes the intentional misspelling of Buddha as one of its chapters. The Trap
, aptly named in the way it absolutely evaporates a sense of time within what looks like a lean-to barely hanging on, anchors south Sacramento in a building said to date to the 1860s. And maybe the best of the lot, Mother Lode Deli & Bar
, exists on a backroad of a backroad northeast of the city with one of the best dive bar karaoke nights in the country.
Neighborhood haunts are prolific, including the appropriately named Round Corner
, you guessed it, a curved façade on a residential corner with a deep appreciation for a game of pool. Socal’s Tavern
, Club 2 Me
, Cheaters Sports Bar
, they all weave themselves naturally into the fabric of the community that surround them, all serving up a welcoming vibe populated by locals and regulars.
And there is more to be found, from a surprisingly pure British pub drinking experience in Bonn Lair
to a hidden, back alley discovery in an otherwise touristy area in Back Door Lounge
. All told, for those who haven’t had the chance to experience Sacramento, there are dive bar surprises around each corner, a network of extremely livable and attractive neighborhoods paving the way for community watering holes throughout.