Kansas: Louise’s Bar
> City: Lawrence
“Here’s what you get here:,” a fan wrote on Yelp earlier this year. “A couple classic bar games, cheap drinks, and a house-party vibe with your neighbors. In other words, it’s nearly perfection.” Another reviewer, earlier in the decade, described the old wooden bar, mismatched chairs, “impossibly too much graffiti that is apparently encouraged,” and “massive schooners of cheap swill” — a perfect portrait of a classic dive bar. Nightly specials include $6.50 double Bloody Marys on Sundays and $2.25 domestic bottled beer on Tuesdays.
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…” The bar is currently closed “due to COVID-19” and is raising money through a GoFundMe page. For now, New Orleans bars may open only for takeout business, and Snake & Jake’s owner Dave Clements told NOLA.com that he preferred to remain shuttered until he could seat patrons again.
Maine: Downtown Lounge
> City: Portland
“If you are looking for trendy, hipster vibes, this is not your place,” wrote one local on Yelp last year. “This is a dive bar…” Maine Today elaborated, calling it a cross between a dive bar and a diner with “appropriately dim lighting” and “red walls covered with old photographs, old license plates and old road signs.” The place is currently open only Wednesday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., and it posts its pandemic-era rules on Facebook, including “Four per table,” “Two drink minimum unless food ordered,” “Try to stay in booth,” and “No jukebox.”
Maryland: Nautical Lounge
> City: Pasadena
“Dimly lit with karaoke, pool tables, a juke box, keno, a take out store attached, and fully of friendly locals,” according to a post on Foursquare. “What more could you ask for in a neighborhood dive?” And a visitor from nearby Baltimore wrote on Yelp, “[E]ven if you aren’t a regular you’ll definitely leave feeling like one.” Maryland now allows limited seating in bars, and owners of this establishment also announced in September that they were “Super excited to let everyone know that you can come, hang out and drink on our porch 10pm-1:30am.”