Kansas: The Keyhole Tavern
The Keyhole is a private club (something to do with the liquor license), but membership is open to anyone ($10 a year). The house specialty is a Tang shot — Tang and vodka, $1 a drink. There are cheap beers on tap, and the bartenders get high marks. The place is also, noted one Yelper approvingly, “small enough that someone, or something, will stop you from falling off your bar stool” — useful in any true dive bar.
Kentucky: Chevy Chase Inn
> City: Lexington
“The cocktails are cheap [and] [t]he ambiance is dark, dirty, vintage, and brooding, in the best way” at this old-school dive bar, according to one Yelp comment. Another warns, “This place is not for posers! Zero poser policy!” Live music and a good choice of carry-in food options nearby are added attractions, and “Beer comes canned and ice cold.”
Louisiana: Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge
> City: New Orleans
With one of the great rundown-dive-bar exteriors — complete with a large sign advertising Regal Beer on tap (the Bourbon Street brewery that produced it closed down in 1962) — Snake & Jake’s has been called a “bucket list dive bar destination” on Yelp. The site also notes that “The drinks are cheap, the staff is friendly and accommodating, and the bar dog is a friendly pup….” Reversing the usual morning-to-late-night policy of many dive bars, this one’s open from 7 p.m. till 7 a.m.
Maine: Evelyn’s Tavern
> City: South Portland
“The decor is charmingly bare bones, consisting mostly of wood paneling and knickknacks, both of which have probably been there since Evelyn’s was founded in 1978,” according to Maine Today. There’s no draft beer (but Pabst tallboys are $2) and only simple cocktails are made. And it’s cash only at this nondescript-looking neighborhood joint.
> City: Baltimore
There’s no doubting the dive bar credibility of this Fell’s Point establishment. Some Yelp comments: “[G]rungy, scary, and really looks like a bar set up in a biker gang’s basement,” “[T]his is a cheap shot-and-a-beer place with a jukebox and a pool table,” “Bartender…needs a shower, but still a nice guy, doing shots behind the bar and talking with his regulars.” In other words, the real thing.