Louisville’s 10 Most Epic Dive Bars

 

What makes a dive a dive? And what is it that keeps us coming back? Is it the sticky floors? The strong drinks? The supremely delicious fried food? The bathrooms with stalls that don’t lock (if they have doors at all)? The regular folks? The jukebox?

The allure of the dive is enigmatic, yet undeniable. Wont you come have a seat in a dimly-lit corner on a couch with cracked and splitting leather and join us?

10. Haymarket

If you like dives and you like good whiskey, you’re in luck – Haymarket Whiskey Bar is the best of both worlds. Journey out back to see whatever acts are happening that night – anything from burlesque to live music. And arcade games! Because why not?

Come out on Monday nights for Vinyl Night – from 8:00 PM til midnight, bring a vinyl to play and the entire A or B side will be played over Haymarket’s speakers – regardless of the genre.

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9. Zanzabar

On the upper-end of dive bars – more craft beer, less PBR. There’s a kitchen that’s open late that you wouldn’t even regret eating from – a rare find at a dive. If you enjoy being packed in small spaces with a lot of sweaty people and loud music, come out to Zbar. If that doesn’t sound like a good time, you’re probably not very much fun anyway.

It is a great, intimate setting to see quality bands without having to break the bank. Plus, an impressive collection of vintage arcade games.

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8. The Back Door

The Back Door opens its… door… to people of all walks of life. It’s just a bunch of ordinary folks who share a passion for pool, ski ball, foosball and some of the best bar food in the city… and some of the heavier pours. Not quite a hipster bar, not quite a sports bar, not quite a working-class bar – it’s a “dive” somewhere in the middle that’s just right.

PROTIP: This is a good place to find the Beef Jerky Guy.

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7. Nachbar

A neighborhood bar with an impressive craft beer list. It’s dark, there are couches in the corner, the bathroom is appropriately dingy and probably doesn’t lock, it has an amazing jukebox and there’s a resident cat. Come out on a warm night to enjoy the patio and some food truck bounty.

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6. Mag Bar

For all of the U of L students who can’t be bothered with sports or Greek life, there is Mag Bar. Who wants to chug Natty Ice with a bunch of frat dudes when you can hang out and play arcade games with a bunch of guys with cool mustaches?

In all seriousness, Mag is a unique experience. If you want to come play Bingo while the rest of the world sleeps, this is your place. Where else in town are you going to find a Wii Bowling tournament with $1 PBRs? Nowhere but Mag, my friends. Things get weird sometimes, but either way you’re going to get a free show – whether or not a band is playing. The PBR never stops flowing.

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5. Hideaway

Dive bar: hippie edition. If this ain’t the friendliest dive in the city, I don’t know what is. If you want to come dance til you can’t dance no more to a jam band well worth more than a $5 cover, get on down to Hideaway.

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4. Groucho’s

A friendly, quiet dive that boasts wood-paneling that will make you feel just at home, if home is your grandmother’s basement. Karaoke all night, with an interesting selection of craft beers and cheap hipster beers alike.

Every first and fourth Sunday, come out for the *free* Comedy Attack show – where “comics go up and explore boldish and uncharted territory in front of a crowd of featuring Germantown’s finest crazy peoples,” What else do you have going on on a Sunday?

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3. Seidenfaden’s

A neighborhood bar that is nothing fancy – but that’s part of the charm. The kind folks at Guestroom records come out throughout the week to play new records that just arrived in their store for New Music Mondays. Every other Friday come out to experience a DJ – not the middle-school-dance variety, either.

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2. Taproom

A reasonable selection of beers, karaoke and live music – not just singer-songwriters either (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Now the New Old Taproom is next to the New Taproom, if that makes any sense. The corner of Grinstead and Bardstown Road – two bars, one convenient location.

Taproom hosts the most Metal Monday nights in all of Louisville. Come with a playlist of five of the most brutal songs on your music device and see if it will play through without getting vetoed by the other barflies. You get one veto, too – use it wisely. The band starts at 10:00 PM – all varieties of metal, from thrash to stoner.

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1. Cahoots

The dive to end all dives. Get a glass of hard liquor to the tune of $2 on well nights, Sunday through Thursday. The food is good, the bathrooms are horrifying, the crowd is eclectic. This is the kind of place you can expect to be empty at 10:00 PM and packed at 3:00 AM.

Live music every now and again, but it’s definitely the strong pours that keep people coming back.

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