Our Favorite Dive Bars in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for its restaurant and bar scene – and for good reason. With its delicious food and refreshing drinks, you’ll want to go out every night here.

group of happy friends laughing while drinking at a dive bar in philadelphia

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the though of going to a crowded and chaotic bar can be enough to make me want to stay in. That’s why I like dive bars.

With warm and welcoming atmospheres, laid-back customers, and games, dive bars are always perfect for having some harmless fun.

I’ve put together a list of my favorite dive bars for you to try next time you’re in town. From live music, to karaoke, to pool tables, these bars are suer to keep you entertained. Whatever kind of bar you prefer, you’re bound to find one you’ll love on this list. Keep reading to find out more!

Best Dive Bars in Philadelphia

Bob and Barbara’s Lounge

1509 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
Phone: (215) 545-4511
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If you like music, you’re going to love Bob and Barbara’s Lounge. This local bar offers live jazz music so you can enjoy drinks in a relaxing spot.

The lively atmosphere at this bar makes it the perfect place to let loose and unwind.

With a wide variety of drinks, low prices, and everyday specials you can’t miss, people love Bob and Barbara’s Lounge.

They don’t offer much in the realm of food, so be sure to eat before you visit!

McCusker’s Tavern

2601 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145
Phone: 215-339-9238
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Having been in operation for over 55 years, McCusker’s is a staple in the Philadelphia area and well-known by locals. When it comes to dive bars, Philadelphia delivers in the form of McCusker’s.

Within the Melrose neighborhood, you can find the tavern at the intersection of 17th and Shunk.

You can find a limited food menu at the bar in addition to a large drink assortment. McCusker’s often has special events, especially when significant sports events are on the horizon.

Although you don’t need an excuse, these opportunities provide the perfect reason to gather with your friends and enjoy a good time.

El Bar

1356 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: (215) 634-6430

A great casual bar perfect for every occasion is El Bar. This neighborhood dive bar can be your new go-to spot to visit with friends or even a date.

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As a cash-only establishment, it’s important to bring the appropriate form of payment.

Offering a variety of delicious drinks and a bit of food, you leave happy and full. Make sure to try a hotdog when you visit, they’re quite popular.

Don’t forget to stop by for their weekly live music and karaoke nights!

Oscar’s Tavern

1524 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: (215) 972-9938

Looking for an old-school vibe in your dive bar? We suggest Oscar’s Tavern. This neighborhood bar has a laid-back atmosphere with a community like no other.

Featuring a jukebox and inviting interior, you’ll never want to leave.

Oscar’s Tavern has numerous great reviews raving about the drinks, service, and company you’ll encounter.

One thing is for sure, you have to try any of their drafts, a cheesesteak, or a long island iced tea to get the full experience!

Ray’s ‘Happy Birthday’ Bar

1200 E Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: (215) 365-1169
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As a bar with a story behind it, it’s no wonder Ray’s ‘Happy Birthday’ Bar is a well-liked spot in town. This long-standing bar opened in the 1930s and has been pleasing customers ever since.

The service and atmosphere are especially appreciated here, as shown by all of the reviews left by happy visitors.

With events almost every night, Ray’s ‘Happy Birthday’ Bar keeps its patrons entertained and happy. Stop by for open mic nights or even karaoke nights on Fridays!

12 Steps Down

831 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: 215-238-0379
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My favorite things about 12 Steps Down are the scratch-made food they serve from their kitchen and the wide selection of local beers and spirits behind the bar.

You can always find the exact drink you’re looking for, and you won’t be disappointed in your food either.

Situated in the Bella Vista district, this pub is at the top of the list of the best dive bars Philadelphia offers.

With a location just across the street from the Italian Market on 9th Street, you will easily find this fun and laid-back bar with adjacent parking on the side streets.

Tattooed Mom

530 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone: 215-238-9880
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The Tattooed Mom is exactly what every mom in the greater Philadelphia area needs – a relaxing environment where they can show up how they are, enjoy good food, and visit with friends over a drink.

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You don’t have to aim to impress at this dive bar; just show up ready to appreciate your downtime.

You can find this establishment on the outskirts of the Society Hill neighborhood. In the middle of South Street, the bar fits in seamlessly with the other entertainment venues and can’t be missed.

I recommend the Cosmo Cloud to anyone who wants to check the place out; it is the best of the best.

Now that you’ve read this list, the next time you want to relax after a long day or week, you’ll know exactly where to go. Philadelphia is filled with little dive bars, but these are certainly the best ones out there.

Which bar will you try first? Let us know! Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you mention it below and we’ll check it out!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.