The Best Dive Bars in Brooklyn

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Kelly’s Tavern
9259 Fourth Avenue, Bay Ridge
As Fifth Avenue and Fourth Avenue meet down by the terminus of the R train, there’s only space between them for a single building, which means Kelly’s has doors on both commercial strips; it’s a great place to stop in for a cheap drink or a quick shortcut while running away from the police—the two things you want in a neighborhood bar! When Flickr users photograph it, they like to take pictures of the sign on the Fifth Avenue side because it’s missing some letters, which announces the bar’s ramshackle charm. Inside, its friendly: the last time we stopped in, a group of regulars were becoming best friends with a guy who’d just moved into the neighborhood while the bartender bought us our third drink—and we’d never even met before—in between putting out bags of Utz Potato Stix, which are hard to eat but which nicely soak up whiskey in an empty stomach.


  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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