1. Gruene Dance Hall – Gruene, TX
Built in 1878, Gruene Hall is the oldest dance hall in Texas. The biggest country acts in history have graced its antique wooden stage.
2. 5 Point Cafe & Bar – Seattle, WA
This bar is all about tradition. That’s why they banned Google Glass before the frames became available to the public. But beware: They’ve been “cheating tourists-n-drunks since 1929.”
3. Rudy’s Bar & Grill – Hell’s Kitchen, NY
Two things make this dive a must-visit: 1) Cheap beer, and 2) Free hot dogs with every beer purchase. And by “hot dogs,” we mean as many as you can eat.
4. Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar – Philadelphia, PA
You gotta respect a bar that opens at 7 a.m. Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar has it all: the history, the atmosphere, and the friendly owner and bar staff. Come thirsty, and party like it’s your birthday.
5. Santa’s Pub – Nashville, TN
Cheap drinks and cheaper entertainment — and, oh yeah, it’s in a double-wide. The karaoke at this Nashville establishment lasts ‘til 3 a.m. and is almost as deplorable as the bar’s theme.
6. Christina’s Place – Chicago, IL
Guinness costs only $3 a pint, and the bar is open until 4 a.m. daily (and 5 a.m. on Saturday nights). This is the dive bar Chicago was destined to produce.
7. The Tam – Boston, MA
Visit this Boston staple for drinks of Irish-level strength as well as an erotic photo hunt. As an added bonus, you can bring your own food inside. Word to the wise: It’s cash only, so make sure to take out a $20 (or two) from an ATM beforehand.
8. Yamhill Pub – Portland, OR
Nicknamed “The Yamhole,” this Portland watering hole is just about as divey as they come. Crotchety regulars, graffiti in layers like a debauched Italian fresco, and drinks that could take the paint off of a boat. It doesn’t get any more awesomely worse.
9. The Happy Burro Chili & Beer – Beatty, NV
With a bar wide enough to fit three patrons snug, and a spicy bean chili famous across the state, the Happy Burro is the perfect pit stop for travelers looking to kick back and chat with locals — and kick back a few cold ones, of course.
10. Zeitgeist – San Francisco, CA
San Francisco’s got more than a handful of great dive bars to choose from, but Zeitgeist’s enormous backyard, great (cheap) beer selection, and awesome (also cheap) burgers make it the winner for us.
11. Zog’s Pool – Chapel Hill, NC
Our friend who recommended that we check out Zog’s described it as “basically some post-apocalyptic-looking dive that seriously must break every fire code in existence, yet still manages to stay open” — and we’ll leave it at that.
12. Nye’s Polonaise – Minneapolis, MN
Walking into Nye’s feels like walking through a time machine, or onto the set of a Twin Peaks episode. An old-school restaurant and piano lounge on one side and an old-fashioned dive bar with booths where you’ll often find polka bands playing on the other, this place has a little bit of something for everyone.