Nightlife & Music

Best Philadelphia Dive Bars

September 23, 2010 11:30 AM

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(photo credit: yelp.com)

(photo credit: yelp.com)

If nothing else, Philly is great a blue-collar town. In fact, when my father’s father came to South Philly from Italy in 1904, it was a great blue-collar town back then. And as every good student of loca history knows, one of the best blue-collar offerings to this American culture is none other than the dive bar. And Philly being one of the bluest of collars, certainly has it’s share of wonderful dives. I do believe I’d put any of the Philly dirt-floors against this of any other town… Pittsburgh, Scranton, even Brooklyn. So here’s the shortlist, although, kudos goes out to so many close contenders.

1frank Best Philadelphia Dive Bars

(photo credit: dirtyfranks.wordpress.com)

Dirty Frank’s Bar

347 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.732.5010
dirtyfranks.wordpress.com

The famous mural on its outside features Frank Zappa, Frankenstein, Benjamin Franklin, and other famous Franks (they even have a frankfurter!). A corner dive bar in a neighborhood that went upscale long ago, and yet, it holds its character and ambience. Inside you’ll find an cheap microwaveable food, a good selection of cheap drinks, plenty of free reading material, art on the walls, and one of the most eclectic crowds that you’ll encounter.

dolphin Best Philadelphia Dive Bars

(photo credit: myspace.com/dolphintavern)

Dolphin Tavern

1539 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
215.467.1752
myspace.com/dolphintavern

Cheap drinks, 50 cent pool tables, and the varied crowd all congregate at this 50-yr-old dive where the go-go dancers dance to classic rock every Friday and Saturday. The juke box is a wonderful amalgamation of country, 90’s, rap, and Def Leppard. The Dolphin is a classic bar to go to for a good time, in fact, Every self-respecting Philadelphian needs a Dolphin story, whether your looking to remember it the next day or not. The owner, “Mom” is a firecracker of a woman she has kept me up and running for 50 years.

doobies2 Best Philadelphia Dive Bars

(credit: phillyskyline.com)

Doobies

2201 Lombard St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
215.546.0316

Doobie’s is like the basement of that uncle you saw at most a couple times a year during your childhood because he lived too far away. Three steps down the stairs, you lose the light from the kitchen and begin to take in the dull light from the single-room basement. You hear music, soft and muffled. The small, windowless neighborhood bar is where you can arrive any time and pretend it’s happy hour. Limited beer selection but good food. Oh, and a warning, do not come here if you require Canadian products, as Doobie’s boycotts the Great White Northerners due to the Canadian government’s refusal to stop clubbing baby seals, and I am not kidding.

mcglinch wide Best Philadelphia Dive Bars

(photo credit: myspace.com/glinch)

McGlinchey’s

259 S. 15th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215.735.1259
myspace.com/glinch

McGlinchey’s is a great Center City dive, the cheapest drinks and yet it also provides one of the most well rounded beer selections. The place can be dingy, the bartenders can be surly, and the bathroom can be a cesspool, however it also does allow smoking for better or worse. It has one of the best jukebox’s that you’ll find in the city, table top Ms. Pacman to play, hot dogs that are actually good, and one of the most eclectic bar crowds that you’ll ever come across. Overall a fun place to be. It’s a great mix of hipsters, Yuppies, and old men

Bob & Barbara’s

1509 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
215.545.4511
myspace.com/bob_and_barbaras

The grandmother of all dive bars, it’s tiny & weird and both in a good way. B&Bs is the place where you can see the young and the old interacting, all in the name of alcoholic beverages. Easily one of the most timeless dive bars that you’ll ever find. The first thing that you’ll notice when you walk in is their extensive collection of Pabst Blue Ribbon memorabilia. At least, that will be the case if they aren’t hosting a game of bingo were you can win pornography, their famous drag show or a jazz band. When you’re looking to experience something totally different with your cheap drinks, and oh, you MUST obey the “NO Journey On The Jukebox” rule – they’re serious.

tattoo Best Philadelphia Dive Bars

(photo credit: myspace.com/tattooed_mom)

Tattooed Mom’s

530 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
215.238.9880
myspace.com/tattooed_mom

The only thing that outdoes the decor are the special nights is it makes up a special every day of the week, Taco Tuesday, Pierogie Wednesday, and Craft Sundays, are just a few of the reasons to enjoy Tattooed Mom’s. Beer selection is small, but mostly made up of good stuff. Their menu is actually pretty impressive. In addition to the requisite bar food, they have comfort food like pierogie, tater-tots & BLTs. And there’s more: veggie corn dogs and other vegetarian menu items. there are free lollipops and free plastic toys to play with. Upstairs has an exceptional punk fueled jukebox and a killer pool hall. Oh, make sure you sit in the bumper car!

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