clock menu more-arrow no yes
The exterior of a dive bar on the corner of a city street at dusk. Signage reads Silhouette in black cursive, and a colorful mural is painted over one side of the bar’s dark exterior.
The Silhouette is one of Allston’s great dives
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

11 of Boston’s Best Dive Bars

Drink cheaply at these fine establishments

View as Map
The Silhouette is one of Allston’s great dives
| Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

There are few things more crucial in this world than the neighborhood dive. Everyone deserves an unpretentious space with bartenders who call themselves bartenders (and not something that sounds like an advanced degree was necessary to secure the gig) and who sling $3 beers and strong drinks that won’t cut into rent budgets. Drinkers aren’t always looking to sip on a finely crafted Sazerac — sometimes a ‘Gansett will do just fine.

Here are 11 of the greatest dive bars in Boston proper.

Further reading: Boozin’ in Boston: Where to Have a Few Weeknight Pops in the South End; Boston’s Most Essential Bars

This map was originally published on November 29, 2017; it is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Eddie C's

Copy Link
34 Maverick Square
Boston, MA 02128
(617) 567-9395

Eddie C’s is a Maverick Square institution. It’s cash only — because of course it is — and the jukebox is analog (and the tunes are killer). The PBR pitchers are the right price ($10), as is Jameson on the rocks ($6). And those Jamesons are strong — they’ve been described as a “townie pour.”

2. Sullivan's Tap

Copy Link
168 Canal St
Boston, MA 02114

Sullivan’s recently changed ownership, but it didn’t magically become a non-dive bar when it did. This is the spot to hit before a Celtics game for a cheap lager and some top-notch townie accents.

3. Irish Village

Copy Link
224 Market St
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 787-5427

Irish Village is in good company in Brighton, which is lousy with Irish pubs.

Dark wooden exterior of a bar with signage that reads Irish Village in gold, in an old-fashioned font
The “IV” has a great old facade
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

4. Biddy Early's

Copy Link
141 Pearl St
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 654-9944
Visit Website

Biddy Early’s is cheap and constantly soaked in beer. It’s also one of a precious few places in the city where townies and slickly-dressed finance bros intermingle effortlessly.

5. Model Cafe

Copy Link
7 N Beacon St
Boston, MA 02134
(617) 254-9365

The Model Cafe is one of Allston’s two great dive bars. Musicians and artists and skateboarders and locals occupy the space in sublime concert, sucking back very strong drinks and very cheap beers. The line on weekend nights gets long, so get there early. Fair warning: On Fridays and Saturdays, the Model turns into a dance club. It’s infinitely fun. Say hey to the doorman — obviously named Sully — and engage him in conversation about the Bruins. Read more: The Model Cafe Is the Model of a Good Neighborhood Bar

Bar exterior at night, featuring an elaborate stone facade lit red by the neon signage, which reads Model Cafe in a Medieval-looking font
The Model Cafe has a swanky exterior
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

6. Silhouette Lounge

Copy Link
200 Brighton Ave
Allston, MA 02134
(617) 206-4565

Ah, the Silhouette Lounge. What is there to say about the Sil that hasn’t been said already? Pitchers are cheap (PBR for $9.50, anyone?), drinks are cheap (and massive, and strong), there’s free popcorn, there’s a pool table, there are many dart boards, and there is an internet-connected jukebox. Play any song imaginable, challenge a local to a game of pool (and don’t be surprised when that pool game ends in defeat to one of the many sharks that occupy the space around the Sil’s table), and chat with Irene, who might be the best bartender in the city/country/universe.

The exterior of a dive bar on the corner of a city street at dusk. Signage reads Silhouette in black cursive, and a colorful mural is painted over one side of the bar’s dark exterior.
The Silhouette at dusk
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

7. Corner Pub

Copy Link
162 Lincoln St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 542-7080
Visit Website

The food at the Corner Pub isn’t half bad for a dive bar; try one of a dozen deep-fried egg roll varieties, stuffed with fillings like mac and cheese or chicken pot pie. The draft list is also pretty great, too, especially for the drinker who likes local craft brew.

Overhead view of a long white plate with four diagonally cut, large pieces of deep-fried egg roll stuffed with meat, with a white-ish-pink dipping sauce to the side
Egg rolls, anyone?
Corner Pub/Official Site

8. Delux Cafe

Copy Link
100 Chandler St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 338-5258

Most dive bars don’t offer very good food, or any food at all. Delux Cafe breaks that mold. Grab a Miller High Life, and also try the half chicken with potato hash. Read more: Delux Cafe Has Defied — and Nourished — Its Neighborhood

Exterior of a bar with the word DeLux in large white letters on a black background. The exterior wall is brick, and there’s a barred window with black shutters on it. A red interior peeks through the front door.
Delux Cafe is the rare dive bar with great food
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

9. Boston Eagle

Copy Link
520 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 542-4494

The Eagle is one of the oldest — and definitely the grittiest — gay bars in the city. It might feel as though it doesn’t fit in with the modern version of the South End — but it’s the modern version of the South End that doesn’t fit in with the Eagle.

10. Croke Park (aka Whitey’s)

Copy Link
268 W Broadway
Boston, MA 02127
(617) 606-5971
Visit Website

PBR is $1.50. [Cue: Stampede of hipsters from Allston to Southie.] Guinness is $4. [Cue: Stampede of suburban dads to Southie.] It’s cheap; the drinks are strong (the bar’s words); one guy “can say with 100% certainty that this place is, by far, the worst bar in Boston” and “at no point did [he] feel like [he] wasn’t about to be stabbed by the locals”; and the head bartender was in Mystic River as Sean Penn’s body double. “Is that my cheap domestic lager in there?!” Note: Outside food is welcome.

A line of people in green clothing and St. Patrick’s Day paraphernalia are lined up down the sidewalk in front of a bar
A St. Patrick’s Day line outside of Croke Park
Croke Park/Official Site

11. Shannon Tavern

Copy Link
558 E 3rd St
Boston, MA 02127
(617) 269-9460
Visit Website

Patrons can play pool and drink cheaply, but the Shannon Tavern’s big selling point as one of the city’s finest dive bars is that it has one of the only (the only?) bubble hockey tables in Boston. Game over.

1. Eddie C's

34 Maverick Square, Boston, MA 02128

Eddie C’s is a Maverick Square institution. It’s cash only — because of course it is — and the jukebox is analog (and the tunes are killer). The PBR pitchers are the right price ($10), as is Jameson on the rocks ($6). And those Jamesons are strong — they’ve been described as a “townie pour.”

34 Maverick Square
Boston, MA 02128

2. Sullivan's Tap

168 Canal St, Boston, MA 02114

Sullivan’s recently changed ownership, but it didn’t magically become a non-dive bar when it did. This is the spot to hit before a Celtics game for a cheap lager and some top-notch townie accents.

168 Canal St
Boston, MA 02114

3. Irish Village

224 Market St, Brighton, MA 02135
Dark wooden exterior of a bar with signage that reads Irish Village in gold, in an old-fashioned font
The “IV” has a great old facade
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Irish Village is in good company in Brighton, which is lousy with Irish pubs.

224 Market St
Brighton, MA 02135

4. Biddy Early's

141 Pearl St, Boston, MA 02110

Biddy Early’s is cheap and constantly soaked in beer. It’s also one of a precious few places in the city where townies and slickly-dressed finance bros intermingle effortlessly.

141 Pearl St
Boston, MA 02110

5. Model Cafe

7 N Beacon St, Boston, MA 02134
Bar exterior at night, featuring an elaborate stone facade lit red by the neon signage, which reads Model Cafe in a Medieval-looking font
The Model Cafe has a swanky exterior
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

The Model Cafe is one of Allston’s two great dive bars. Musicians and artists and skateboarders and locals occupy the space in sublime concert, sucking back very strong drinks and very cheap beers. The line on weekend nights gets long, so get there early. Fair warning: On Fridays and Saturdays, the Model turns into a dance club. It’s infinitely fun. Say hey to the doorman — obviously named Sully — and engage him in conversation about the Bruins. Read more: The Model Cafe Is the Model of a Good Neighborhood Bar

7 N Beacon St
Boston, MA 02134

6. Silhouette Lounge

200 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134
The exterior of a dive bar on the corner of a city street at dusk. Signage reads Silhouette in black cursive, and a colorful mural is painted over one side of the bar’s dark exterior.
The Silhouette at dusk
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Ah, the Silhouette Lounge. What is there to say about the Sil that hasn’t been said already? Pitchers are cheap (PBR for $9.50, anyone?), drinks are cheap (and massive, and strong), there’s free popcorn, there’s a pool table, there are many dart boards, and there is an internet-connected jukebox. Play any song imaginable, challenge a local to a game of pool (and don’t be surprised when that pool game ends in defeat to one of the many sharks that occupy the space around the Sil’s table), and chat with Irene, who might be the best bartender in the city/country/universe.

200 Brighton Ave
Allston, MA 02134

7. Corner Pub

162 Lincoln St, Boston, MA 02111
Overhead view of a long white plate with four diagonally cut, large pieces of deep-fried egg roll stuffed with meat, with a white-ish-pink dipping sauce to the side
Egg rolls, anyone?
Corner Pub/Official Site

The food at the Corner Pub isn’t half bad for a dive bar; try one of a dozen deep-fried egg roll varieties, stuffed with fillings like mac and cheese or chicken pot pie. The draft list is also pretty great, too, especially for the drinker who likes local craft brew.

162 Lincoln St
Boston, MA 02111

8. Delux Cafe

100 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116
Exterior of a bar with the word DeLux in large white letters on a black background. The exterior wall is brick, and there’s a barred window with black shutters on it. A red interior peeks through the front door.
Delux Cafe is the rare dive bar with great food
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Most dive bars don’t offer very good food, or any food at all. Delux Cafe breaks that mold. Grab a Miller High Life, and also try the half chicken with potato hash. Read more: Delux Cafe Has Defied — and Nourished — Its Neighborhood

100 Chandler St
Boston, MA 02116

9. Boston Eagle

520 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

The Eagle is one of the oldest — and definitely the grittiest — gay bars in the city. It might feel as though it doesn’t fit in with the modern version of the South End — but it’s the modern version of the South End that doesn’t fit in with the Eagle.

520 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116

10. Croke Park (aka Whitey’s)

268 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127
A line of people in green clothing and St. Patrick’s Day paraphernalia are lined up down the sidewalk in front of a bar
A St. Patrick’s Day line outside of Croke Park
Croke Park/Official Site

PBR is $1.50. [Cue: Stampede of hipsters from Allston to Southie.] Guinness is $4. [Cue: Stampede of suburban dads to Southie.] It’s cheap; the drinks are strong (the bar’s words); one guy “can say with 100% certainty that this place is, by far, the worst bar in Boston” and “at no point did [he] feel like [he] wasn’t about to be stabbed by the locals”; and the head bartender was in Mystic River as Sean Penn’s body double. “Is that my cheap domestic lager in there?!” Note: Outside food is welcome.

268 W Broadway
Boston, MA 02127

11. Shannon Tavern

558 E 3rd St, Boston, MA 02127

Patrons can play pool and drink cheaply, but the Shannon Tavern’s big selling point as one of the city’s finest dive bars is that it has one of the only (the only?) bubble hockey tables in Boston. Game over.

558 E 3rd St
Boston, MA 02127

Related Maps