The Best Dive Bars in Brooklyn

tiptop copy
Tip-Top Bar & Grill
432 Franklin Avenue, Bed-Stuy
If you hang a sign at the entrance of your business that reads, “ABSOLUTELY NO DRUGS, YOU ARE BEING WATCHED,” you probably know a thing or two about running a good bar. This kind of homemade approach pervades Tip-Top, making it feel more like your unmarried uncle’s cool rumpus room than a Brooklyn bar (which is a good thing, to be clear): there’s astroturf, a makeshift stage in the back, leftover Obama posters from the ’08 election, and plenty more handwritten warnings all over the place (“HAVE RESPECT, DO NOT WRITE ON THE WALLS,” reads one in the bathroom.) More importantly, there’s the unfailing friendly staff, who’ve seen it all but still make you feel like family even if you’ve just stumbled in for the first time. The drinks aren’t quite as cheap as you might expect—the average beer or mixed drink will run you around $5—but they’re well worth it as the price of admission to one of the last bars standing where you can really, truly just relax. (Worth noting though, that later on in the evening when someone’s put some money in the jukebox, this place is no stranger to wild, impromptu dance parties.) Add to that their excellent fried fish sandwiches and a spacious backyard for the summer.


  1. “There are very few actual ‘dive bars’ left in most of Brooklyn”

    “Most” might be a bit of a stretch. I’m sure there are bars in Canarsie, Flatbush, Bensonhurst, Brownsville, Marine Park, and they aren’t fancy places either.

  2. I didn’t see a fairly new bar called American Cheez (which they are listed on Yelp as a dive bar) on your list. Is the age of a bar required to be considered a “dive bar”? American Cheez is far from being fancy. I think your reporter should check it out. 🙂 I love the place. To me it’s a great neighborhood bar when you can even run into some of the same people and the bartender buys back which is very rare these days.

  3. nope. wrong. they are all terrible, but especially the Soccer, the Haven, the Pigeon, RnB, Shenanigans, and Denny’s. Really, really terrible. Stay away.

    obvious joke is obvious, but really. don’t come.

  4. Love the list of Bars, but you left a few off of your list. Bullseye Sports Pub in Marine park.
    Every Sunday they have free hot food for their patrons, every major holiday is celebrated with a huge party, thirteen tvs and a jumbo screen for any game you’d like, they play host to the Gotham dart leagues, soft ball teams and even sponsor children’s sports teams.
    Every couple of months the Bar hosts a NYHC music lineup for it’s musical patrons, every Christmas a comedy show with well known comedians is put on for free as a gift to the patrons of the Bar. Toys for tots drives, charity drives for individuals and for entire community’s are done whenever they are needed.
    I know that you’ve done your research on the bars that are featured, and that they are all great in their own way. Next time just take a look at a couple more.


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