The Best Dive Bars In Florida
Crack open a cold one at one of these watering holes.
While the exact definition of a dive bar differs from one Southerner to another, a true dive has a few distinguishable characteristics: Its cleanliness is questionable (this may be the case for the clientele too), the drinks are cheap (there’s not a craft cocktail or fancy IPA in sight), and more than anything, it’s a no-frills establishment that’s become a true neighborhood fixture. If your bucket list includes hitting up as many dive bars as you can, we suggest kicking off your drinking journey in the good ol’ state of Florida since they have more dives than you can count. These local watering holes are a far cry from the manicured touristy bars scattered across the coastline and in Orlando — plus, they’re a place where you can escape the heat (or your relatives) next vacation. Check out these seven spots that are guaranteed to cool you off with one of the finest cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon around:
The Last Resort, Port Orange
Not every place can have the slogan “The home of ice cold beer and killer women,” but for The Last Resort that’s their claim to fame. The small brick biker bar, located outside of Daytona Beach, was the last place serial killer Aileen Wuornos (who Charlize Theron played in the movie Monster) had a drink before she was arrested. Its interior is as dingy as its outside and there’s even a kitschy mural of Wuornos next to the car seat she used to sleep on. The cash only bar serves up beer and wine only, so get your food and hard alcohol fix beforehand.
The Green Parrot Bar, Key West
We’ll admit it’s hard to pick the top dive in Key West, but The Green Parrot takes the number one slot. It has everything you want in a neighborhood bar — plus, live music nearly every night. And for a city like Key West where tourists come and go with the tide, you know you’re in a good spot when there tend to be more locals than visitors.
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Churchill’s Pub, Miami
Located in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, Churchill’s Pub is equally as filthy as it is full of character. Since its inception in the late seventies as a punk rock club, the dive has hosted more live performances than any other venue in the country. With plenty of TVs, junk scattered around the place, and people from all walks of life, it’s quite the opposite of the glitz and glamour of Miami’s South Beach scene.
The Palace Saloon, Fernandina Beach
Meet the oldest bar in Florida. Since it opened in 1903, it’s seen it all: From fancy patrons like the Rockefellers and the Carnegies to being the last bar to close before Prohibition took full effect. Yes, from the outside it may look a little classier than the average dive, but what’s inside — a forty-foot bar, gas lamps and a tin ceiling — have a vintage air you can’t replicate. Plus, its smoky atmosphere, friendly bartenders and heavy pours don’t hurt.
No Name Pub, Big Pine Key
It’s no wonder one of No Name Pub’s tagline’s is “a nice place if you can find it” because y’all, it does take effort to locate it. Don’t let its brightly colored exterior fool you either — this isn’t your average beach bar. Not only did it used to be home to a general store, a bait shop, and even a brothel, but now its walls are covered in so many one dollar bills it almost seems more like an art installation than a dive.
Boat Club, Tarpon Springs
While the Boat Club looks like it was partially blown over by a hurricane (the entire building is slanted and looks as though it may slide right into the Anclote River), it’s a hidden gem in Tarpon Springs for anyone looking for some local flair. Its graffiti-laden walls, bras hanging from the ceiling, general disrepair, and dirt cheap drinks make it any dive bar lover’s dream.
The Hub, Tampa
Known for their heavy pours, Tampa’s The Hub considers themselves a true American cocktail lounge. The space was originally used as a package store in the 1940s and expanded into a piano lounge. Today, there’s still live music, but there’s also an old school juke box, plenty of bar games like Pac Man and fuse ball, and they still have a liquor store attached to it so you can get your favorite bottle to continue the party back home.