The Real Drinker's Guide to 24 Cincinnati's Essential Dive Bars

The Queen City is home to dozens of hip and trendy bars that offer excellent Instagram photo ops and cute bathrooms, but when you're interested in a no-frills joint where the drinks are as strong as they are cheap, these dive bars are the perfect place to knock a few back.
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Gypsy's
641 Main St., Covington
Located in the heart of Covington, Gypsy’s is a neighborhood bar that has a back patio, specials on beer and bourbon and over 60 different beer options. If you need a push, they’re dog-friendly.
Photo: Facebook.com/GypsysCovington

Gypsy's

641 Main St., Covington
Located in the heart of Covington, Gypsy’s is a neighborhood bar that has a back patio, specials on beer and bourbon and over 60 different beer options. If you need a push, they’re dog-friendly.
Photo: Facebook.com/GypsysCovington
Milton’s
301 Milton St., Prospect Hill
Prospect Hill’s neighborhood joint is chatty, diverse and full of character. A great place to have a beer, relax and chat it up with the regulars. 
Photo: Holden Mathis

Milton’s

301 Milton St., Prospect Hill
Prospect Hill’s neighborhood joint is chatty, diverse and full of character. A great place to have a beer, relax and chat it up with the regulars.
Photo: Holden Mathis
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Miller’s Fill-Inn
52 Donnermeyer Drive, Bellevue
Surprisingly, there are plenty of cozy spots and corner bars in Northern Kentucky with vintage electro-mechanical coin-op bowling games, but something about Miller’s Fill-Inn makes it one of our favorites. Enjoy live cover bands or a Blues jam over affordable suds and a basket of popcorn, then head to the side room, past the pool tables, and bowl to your heart’s content. 
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Miller’s Fill-Inn

52 Donnermeyer Drive, Bellevue
Surprisingly, there are plenty of cozy spots and corner bars in Northern Kentucky with vintage electro-mechanical coin-op bowling games, but something about Miller’s Fill-Inn makes it one of our favorites. Enjoy live cover bands or a Blues jam over affordable suds and a basket of popcorn, then head to the side room, past the pool tables, and bowl to your heart’s content.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
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Fries Cafe
3245 Jefferson Ave., Clifton
Before opening as a bar in the 1930s, Fries Cafe was a Kroger grocery store. It offers a large selection of craft beers on tap. If you’re in the mood for games, Fries offers three floors of shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables. Head out back and check out the massive patio set-up. 
Photo: https://www.facebook.com/friescafe

Fries Cafe

3245 Jefferson Ave., Clifton
Before opening as a bar in the 1930s, Fries Cafe was a Kroger grocery store. It offers a large selection of craft beers on tap. If you’re in the mood for games, Fries offers three floors of shuffleboard, dart boards and pool tables. Head out back and check out the massive patio set-up.
Photo: https://www.facebook.com/friescafe
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City View Tavern
403 Oregon St., Mt. Adams
A hillside dive and home of one of the best spicy bloody marys and best views in town. The burgers are damn tasty, too. Meet the Big Ted Deluxe: eight ounces of griddle-cooked, handmade beef patty with American cheese, mustard, lettuce, pickles, mayo, onion, ketchup, tomatoes, served in a plastic basket with a bag of chips. 
Photo: Holden Mathis

City View Tavern

403 Oregon St., Mt. Adams
A hillside dive and home of one of the best spicy bloody marys and best views in town. The burgers are damn tasty, too. Meet the Big Ted Deluxe: eight ounces of griddle-cooked, handmade beef patty with American cheese, mustard, lettuce, pickles, mayo, onion, ketchup, tomatoes, served in a plastic basket with a bag of chips.
Photo: Holden Mathis
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O’ Malleys in the Alley
25 W. Ogden Place, Downtown
O’Malleys in the Alley is a straightforward imbibing experience with homemade dishes that have stood the test of time. Daily drink specials and its proximity to Great American Ball Park make this a must before Red’s games.
Photo: Facebook.com/OMalleysInTheAlley1

O’ Malleys in the Alley

25 W. Ogden Place, Downtown
O’Malleys in the Alley is a straightforward imbibing experience with homemade dishes that have stood the test of time. Daily drink specials and its proximity to Great American Ball Park make this a must before Red’s games.
Photo: Facebook.com/OMalleysInTheAlley1
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Junkers Tavern
4156 Langland St., Northside
This proud dive bar serves the usual, low-cost domestic beers in a down-to-earth pub. It hosts karaoke nights and live music. If you get hungry, select something tasty from the infamous wall of chips.
Photo: Holden Mathis

Junkers Tavern

4156 Langland St., Northside
This proud dive bar serves the usual, low-cost domestic beers in a down-to-earth pub. It hosts karaoke nights and live music. If you get hungry, select something tasty from the infamous wall of chips.
Photo: Holden Mathis
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Dunlap Cafe
1926 Dunlap St., Over-the-Rhine
This joint has been open since 1936, making it one of the longest-running establishments in Over-the-Rhine. It offers cheap beer and cheap food as well as merch for especially dedicated regulars.
Photo: Paige Deglow

Dunlap Cafe

1926 Dunlap St., Over-the-Rhine
This joint has been open since 1936, making it one of the longest-running establishments in Over-the-Rhine. It offers cheap beer and cheap food as well as merch for especially dedicated regulars.
Photo: Paige Deglow
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JD's Honky Tonk and Emporium
2406 Spring Grove Ave., Camp Washington
This dive bar is known for its burgers, fried bologna sandwiches, bloody marys and jukebox.
Photo: Liz Davis

JD's Honky Tonk and Emporium

2406 Spring Grove Ave., Camp Washington
This dive bar is known for its burgers, fried bologna sandwiches, bloody marys and jukebox.
Photo: Liz Davis
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C&D Cafe
1714 Hanfield St., Northside
This Northside dive offers pool, Friday night Euchre, to-go beer, happy hour specials and cocktails. 
Photo: Liz Davis

C&D Cafe

1714 Hanfield St., Northside
This Northside dive offers pool, Friday night Euchre, to-go beer, happy hour specials and cocktails.
Photo: Liz Davis
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Madonna’s Bar & Grill
11 E. Seventh St., Downtown
This cozy downtown dive bar has a pool table and jukebox, friendly bartenders (say hi to Downtown Scott Brown) and a great burger. 
Photo: Facebook.com/MadonnasBarandGrill

Madonna’s Bar & Grill

11 E. Seventh St., Downtown
This cozy downtown dive bar has a pool table and jukebox, friendly bartenders (say hi to Downtown Scott Brown) and a great burger.
Photo: Facebook.com/MadonnasBarandGrill
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Stanley’s Pub
323 Stanley Ave., Columbia Tusculum
A favorite spot for live, eclectic tunes along the river. Local and out-of-town bands with cheap drinks make Stanley’s an area favorite.
Photo: Liz Davis

Stanley’s Pub

323 Stanley Ave., Columbia Tusculum
A favorite spot for live, eclectic tunes along the river. Local and out-of-town bands with cheap drinks make Stanley’s an area favorite.
Photo: Liz Davis
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Murphys Pub
2329 West Clifton Ave., Clifton
Established in 1969, this college dive bar offers every day deals on pitchers, bar games and team sports, frequent free pizza and hot dogs. Murphy’s represents its Irish roots on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Photo: Facebook.com/MurphysPubClifton

Murphys Pub

2329 West Clifton Ave., Clifton
Established in 1969, this college dive bar offers every day deals on pitchers, bar games and team sports, frequent free pizza and hot dogs. Murphy’s represents its Irish roots on Saint Patrick’s Day.
Photo: Facebook.com/MurphysPubClifton
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Olde Towne Tavern
32 W. Seventh St., Covington
One of the oldest neighborhood bars in Covington, this dive is right across the street from Braxton Brewing Co. and serves a variety of local craft beers. It also has a pool table, dart boards, occasional live entertainment, ping-pong and karaoke.
Photo: Liz Davis

Olde Towne Tavern

32 W. Seventh St., Covington
One of the oldest neighborhood bars in Covington, this dive is right across the street from Braxton Brewing Co. and serves a variety of local craft beers. It also has a pool table, dart boards, occasional live entertainment, ping-pong and karaoke.
Photo: Liz Davis
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Old Timber Inn
4330 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village
This dive bar is more known for its unusual food than its alcohol. Old Timber Inn is infamous for its fish logs, a thick slice of savory cold-water Atlantic cod, fried to a perfect crisp and served with a sliced lemon. Served alongside housemade tartar sauce, it is perhaps the best in the city.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Old Timber Inn

4330 Spring Grove Ave., Spring Grove Village
This dive bar is more known for its unusual food than its alcohol. Old Timber Inn is infamous for its fish logs, a thick slice of savory cold-water Atlantic cod, fried to a perfect crisp and served with a sliced lemon. Served alongside housemade tartar sauce, it is perhaps the best in the city.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
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Knockback Nats
10 W. Seventh St., Downtown
Known for their wings, come early for this bar's daily happy hour between 3 and 7 p.m., where you can try beers while eating their popular smoked wings or burgers. Enjoy dart boards, video golf, video bowling and a jukebox for extra fun.
Photo: Liz Davis

Knockback Nats

10 W. Seventh St., Downtown
Known for their wings, come early for this bar's daily happy hour between 3 and 7 p.m., where you can try beers while eating their popular smoked wings or burgers. Enjoy dart boards, video golf, video bowling and a jukebox for extra fun.
Photo: Liz Davis
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The B-List
343 Division St., Bellevue
According to their Facebook page, they’re a “quintessential neighborhood ‘hole in the wall.'" The bar includes 60+ bottles and 10+ drafts and a dog friendly patio. 
Photo via Facebook.com/TheBListBvue

The B-List

343 Division St., Bellevue
According to their Facebook page, they’re a “quintessential neighborhood ‘hole in the wall.'" The bar includes 60+ bottles and 10+ drafts and a dog friendly patio.
Photo via Facebook.com/TheBListBvue
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Hometown Heroes
640 Sixth Ave., Dayton, Kentucky
In addition to cheap drinks, this bar is known for its great wings, cheese curds, and ooey-gooey fries covered with goetta and queso, plus an outdoor patio. 
Photo: Liz Davis

Hometown Heroes

640 Sixth Ave., Dayton, Kentucky
In addition to cheap drinks, this bar is known for its great wings, cheese curds, and ooey-gooey fries covered with goetta and queso, plus an outdoor patio.
Photo: Liz Davis
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Coaches Corner
317 E. Sixth St., Newport
This Newport sports bar boasts a friendly crowd and menu featuring burgers, stadium fries and, of course, craft beers on tap. Head out back to the spacious patio for some fresh air.
Photo: Liz Davis

Coaches Corner

317 E. Sixth St., Newport
This Newport sports bar boasts a friendly crowd and menu featuring burgers, stadium fries and, of course, craft beers on tap. Head out back to the spacious patio for some fresh air.
Photo: Liz Davis
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Crowley’s Irish Pub
958 Pavilion St., Mount Adams
Crowley’s Highland House has made a name for themselves offering tons of beers on draft in an unpretentious atmosphere. As Cincinnati’s oldest Irish bar, the bar was established in 1937 by Bill Specs Crowley. They put on quite a party for Saint Patrick’s Day and the Labor Day fireworks. 
Photo via Google Street View

Crowley’s Irish Pub

958 Pavilion St., Mount Adams
Crowley’s Highland House has made a name for themselves offering tons of beers on draft in an unpretentious atmosphere. As Cincinnati’s oldest Irish bar, the bar was established in 1937 by Bill Specs Crowley. They put on quite a party for Saint Patrick’s Day and the Labor Day fireworks.
Photo via Google Street View
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