The Best Dive Bars in Brooklyn

Shenanigans Pub
802 Caton Avenue, Kensington
The lighting is dim, though the neon shamrock in the window helps some; the walls are wood-paneled and the three beers on tap are usually Bud, Bud Light, and Killian’s; the jukebox has a decent selection. All of these things could add up to more of a low-key neighborhood spot than a traditional dive bar, but Shenanigan’s regular daytime crew of local men (what’s the opposite of itinerant? It’s these guys), which includes local legend Joel, who works at the nearby Kensington Stables, sports an all-leather outfit year round (in the summer he wears his chaps and vest with no shirt), and is a lively presence at the bar. The thing with Shenanigans is that it veers sharply from sedate on an early Tuesday evening to quite raucous on karaoke Saturdays, but no matter the crowd, the integrity of the place is still present, and the draw of a dive-y, local pub to counter all the higher-end choices in nearby Ditmas Park and Park Slope is undeniable.


  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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