It’s been a rough few years for dive bars in Miami. The oldest bar in town, Tobacco Road, was demolished to make room for another Brickell high rise. Classy dive Fox’s Lounge shut its doors in mid-2015 after 69 years of boozing up the neighborhood. Luckily, there are still a few dives (and dive-like bars) still standing in the Magic City. If dark lighting, seedy (but often friendly) patrons, juke boxes, and the faint smell of cigarette smoke appeal to you, you’ll want to check out any and all of the following.
This is the dive bar to which all other Miami dives are compared. It’s a favorite spot of snarky food traveler, Anthony Bourdain. It’s a raunchy beach dive with cheap, strong drinks, pool tables and interesting characters. It’s also open nearly 24/7, and provides a different experience depending on the time of day you visit.
222 14th St., Miami Beach; 305-531-6200
Located near the Falls in that quiet, bougie area where Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay meet, Corbett’s inserts a much-needed dose of dive to the neighborhood. They’ve got stiff drinks that are just the right price thanks to weekly specials, plus munchies for when the drunk cravings kick in. Corbett’s is open till 5 a.m., giving the degenerates (and the merely curious) of southern Miami a second home.
12721 S. Dixie Hwy, Pinecrest; 305-238-0823
While Churchill’s is mainly known as a music venue (one of the best and longest-standing ones, at that), it’s also a great dive. Take a seat at the bar any time a show isn’t happening and order a frosty beer or a well-drink (it’s a dive and you don’t get fancy cocktails at dives), then shoot some pool or play tunes at the juke. The faint (or sometimes strong) aroma of nicotine and booze mixers is ever-present, as are the few gutter punks that remain in this town.
5501 NE 2nd Ave., Little Haiti; 305-757-1807
For those in the Miami Springs and Hialeah areas, there’s no better dive than Bryson’s. Just a stone’s throw away from Miami International Airport, this pub serves up good food and better drinks. They’ve got karaoke nights and other specials, and it’s not quite as dive-y as Mac’s, but it still satisfies the itch for debauchery.
3790 Curtiss Pkwy, Miami Springs; 305-871-9534
This hidden gem of a dive is located on the bottom floor of the Seagull Hotel (formerly a Days Inn) right on the edge of South and Mid Beach. You can easily spend a day on the water and walk over to end your night at Free Spirits. It’s definitely among the divier places on this list, but that just means the drinks are stronger with more of an anything-goes vibe.
100 21st Street, Miami Beach; 305-532-5399
This Coral Terrace bar (you know, that area between Coral Gables and Westchester you never know what to call) is certainly one of the best dives in Miami, especially for karaoke lovers. It’s certainly seedy, but that’s never a bad thing. The bartenders here treat you right, the prices are always fair, and there’s plenty of seating inside and out.
2200 SW 57th Avenue, Coral Terrace; 305-266-6071
North Bay Village isn’t the first place you’d think to go to for dive bar atmosphere, but it’s still the location of one of the 305’s most interesting joints: Happy’s Stork Lounge & Liquor. Plenty of folks just come by to purchase booze to take home, but others stick around for some Alabama Slammers and to see what might happen next. This is a bare bones dive, with the requisite juke box and pool table, and certainly keeps the locals happy.
1872 79th Street Causeway, North Bay Village; 305-865-3621
All of Kendall, South Miami and Pinecrest have danced a night away at Bougie’s at one time or other. This neighborhood joint located just off Sunset Place isn’t exactly a scummy dive with its college-age crowd on certain nights, but it’s still a nice, dark place for a cold one. If you’re seeking tranquility at the bar though, try going on a night when they don’t have live music.
7221 SW 58th Ave., South Miami; 305-669-8577
The Grove is certainly not lacking in bars and restaurants, but while some are slightly more upscale, Barracuda is more of a no-frills joint. While it has a strong appeal to the University of Miami drinking-age demographic, it’s also a nice boozy hole-in-the-wall for Grove locals. Dozens of beers on draft, a video game at the bar, plus pool tables off to the side solidify its place on the list.
3035 Fuller Street, Coconut Grove; 305-918-9013
The cool thing about Mike’s is that it’s hard to get to, so only folks who really want to go there do. It’s located in Edgewater, just far enough from the Wynwood hipster crowd and the yuppie downtown and Brickell scene, on the 9th floor of condo highrise. Parking is a bit of a pain, but if you want a quality dive (that isn’t scary but still has character), complete with darts, this is a good option.
555 NE 15th Street, 9th Floor, Edgewater/Omni; 305-374-5731
Jada Coles is something of a high-end dive. It’s not expensive by any means, but it is a bit nicer than most dive bars. Still, it retains some of the hallmarks of the neighborhood bar, like generally cheap domestic beers, the requisite chainsmokers just outside, and a pool table. They also host karaoke and live bands, if that’s your thing.
2845 Coral Way, Coral Way; 786-391-3698
People go to Billy’s for one reason and one reason alone: a happy hour that lasts a full 8 hours, from 4 p.m. to midnight. Okay, maybe for two reasons: They’re also open late — 5 a.m. late. Oh, and they also have poker and trivia nights. Basically, it’s the best dive on the north side.
732 NE 125th Street, North Miami; 305-899-9986
Scully’s has been serving up well-priced drinks and solid grub to Kendall area folks for over two decades and show no signs of slowing down. They’ve been featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” for good reason. This is definitely a locals’ hangout, but all are welcome, and with karaoke and live bands, quarter pool tables, and laissez-faire attitude, they’re definitely among the top dives in the city.
9809 SW 72nd St., East Kendall; 305-271-7404
Point Lounge is the preferred dive of heavy smokers, since it’s one of the few places left in Miami where smoking indoors is permitted. That said, it’s a great example of what a dive should be, complete with 2-for-1 drinks during happy hour (that extends into the weekends). This is one of those few gems that still has yet to get discovered by the masses, so head there if you seek a quiet night at a dive.
2202 NE 123rd St., North Miami Beach; 305-893-4471