Downtown Dive Bars
The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600 https://www.roxyhotelnyc.com

Downtown Dives

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New York City’s drinking scene is as vibrant as it is varied. There’s a wide range of options, including speakeasy-style haunts, stylish wine bars, and subterranean cocktail lounges. Finding a dark drinking den is easy. But finding a quality dive bar in one of the world’s most expensive cities? You might need some help. Tip: head downtown. But first, take a look below at our downtown dive bar picks, many of which feature pool tables, jukeboxes, and inexpensive beers on tap. 

Josie’s 

If you’ve ever asked for an East Village dive bar recommendation, you’ve probably heard of Josie’s on East 6th Street. Just look for the carved wooden bear and the neon beer signs. Inside, you’ll find Alphabet City residents perched at the bar, shooting pool, and selecting tunes from an old-school jukebox. With its decent drink prices and no-frills atmosphere (think: low ceilings, a deer head on the wall, and red and black checked floors that are often sticky), Josie’s has all of the characteristics of a perfect dive bar.  

520 East 6th St; T. (646) 590-0044

Sophie’s 

Sophie’s is still the grungy gold standard for very divey dive bars. Tucked away on East 5th Street, this shoebox-sized and signless decades-old Alphabet City watering hole has a few rickety tables and well-worn seats, a sticker-covered pool table, arcade games, a jukebox, and solid beers. The crowd is mostly local, the vibes are unpretentious, and a pitcher of PBR will cost you $20.  

507 East 5th St; T. (212) 228-5680

Park Side Lounge

This Lower East Side veteran (est. 1908) feels like your typical dive bar when you first step inside. In other words, there’s a pool table, a jukebox, and a sticker-bombed bathroom. But make your way to the back, and you’ll enter a performance space that hosts everything from wild dance parties and live music to trivia nights and comedy shows. 

317 East Houston St; ​​T.  (212) 673-6270

Jeremy’s Ale House 

At this popular South Street seaport dive (est. 1974), customers drink beer from huge Styrofoam cups, music blares from the jukebox, and a bunch of bras artfully dangles from the graffitied ceiling. There’s a well-selected draft list, the crowd is a mix of longtime customers and curious tourists, and you can eat here, too: chicken wings, corned beef sandwiches, and fried calamari are on the menu at this self-proclaimed “last of the great NYC dive bars.” 

228 Front St; T. (212) 964-3537

Ray’s 

This Lower East Side joint looks like a classic dive bar. It has a pool table, a disco ball, a jukebox, tattooed bartenders, red retro bar stools, wood-paneled walls, black-and-white checkered floors, etc. Then there’s the eyebrow-raising cocktail menu, featuring 14-$18 tipples with names like Ray Liotta, Lana Del Rey, and Ray Romano. Opened in 2019, Ray’s calls itself a “hometown bar” on their website, and we’d agree. We also suggest ordering their tasty bar food like mozzarella sticks, cheeseburgers, and onion rings if you’re hungry for a snack. The place is always packed with the downtown set, but keep your eyes open if celebrity sightings are your thing—co-owner Justin Theroux is just one of the famous regulars at this lively drinking den. 

177 Chrystie St

Clandestino

Opened in 2005, Clandestino continues to be a hip and cozy locals’ favorite on the Lower East Side. Nestled on Canal Street, this long and narrow hole in the wall has a pressed tin ceiling and a few arcade games. It’s the perfect candlelit haunt for casual date nights and catching up with and/or making friends. You’ll also likely spot a few Dimes Square skateboarders and fashion world types. As for the reasonably-priced drink menu? There are plenty of beers on tap, lots of French wines, and killer cocktails.

35 Canal St 

Niagara

Where have all the leather-biker jacket-clad punk types gone? Many are all grown up and still visiting this classic East Village dive across the street from Tompkins Square Park. Some are sipping beers and cocktails at the neon-lit bar, while others are spilling out onto Avenue A and smoking cigarettes. Open since 1997, the bar and occasional live music venue has hosted a range of head-turning artists, including Murphy’s Law, Bad Brains, Caveman, and Steve Buscemi. There’s artwork from Yoshitomo Nara and Kenny Sharf on the walls, and drinks are fairly priced. Just be sure to check the event’s schedule before stopping by, because, these days, this longtime grungey dive often hosts rowdy Gen Z-courting dance parties. Maybe stick to visiting during their daily happy hour, which goes until 7 p.m.

112 Avenue A; T. (212) 420-9517

WORDS Alex Catarinella 

PHOTOGRAPHY @raysbarnyc

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The Roxy Hotel New York

2 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10013

212.519.6600 https://www.roxyhotelnyc.com
Best Rate Promise