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Chowhound-Worthy Dives in Boston Proper

What are some good old-fashioned dives that are in or really close to the downtown area of Boston that also have good food? I honestly can't think of any offhand, mainly because of the food. Some examples of places that don't quite make the cut:

Dives, but with average food:
-- Red Hat, Beacon Hill
-- Beantown Pub, Tremont Street

Good food, but not quite dives:
-- Waterfront Cafe, North End
-- Green Dragon, Faneuil Hall

Not quite a dive, and not quite great food:
-- Elephant and Castle, Financial District

I guess I'm looking for a place like The Alumni in Quincy or Sadie's in Waltham or perhaps even the Newtowne Grill in Cambridge; that is, a place that looks like a bit of a dump, but surprises with a particular dish (or several dishes).

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  1. I can't think of anything offhand either, but I had to ask: what dish or dishes are surprising at Newtowne Grill? I'd given up on consuming anything there that wasn't served in a pitcher or glass.

    2 Replies
    1. re: finlero

      Believe it or not, the pizza at the Newtowne is really good (IMO). It's old-school thin-crust pizza that is one of my favorites in Cambridge.

      1. re: finlero

        I had some angel hair pasta with tomato sauce there that really wasn't bad. If they had served that at Giacomo's North End everyone probably would have raved Mamma Mia! It's not worth a trip, don't get me wrong...

      2. My experiences at those types of places are not at all food-centric, but I here are a few places:

        I don't think I'd consider Peking Tom's to be divey, more kitsch than anything, but they have decent American pupu platters.
        How's the food at 21st Amendment? Not really that divey - more pubby - but sort of looks like a dump.
        Does Weggie's serve food? They are definitely a dive, definitely a bar, and definitely in possession of a pool table.

        1. Sidebar, ok $.10 wings and macrobrews (ie A/B) for $6/pitcher. I wouldn't venture far beyond those two items. Bromfield St. I used to practically live their for Sox games in '03. After the fiasco, we moved onto Clery's which is not divey nor does it have particularly good food but it worked for '04.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Dax

            I will second the thumbs up for Sidebar. There is also a dive called Biddie Early's that servers a mean burger over by the Financial District.


          2. Foley's serves food doesn't it? Have never had it tho.

            1. The Paddock in Somerville (short drive from downtown) is a CH fave that fits your criteria but I haven;t been myself.

              1. Add Intermission Tavern, in the Theater District, to your list of dives with average food.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Blumie

                  I guess this is an ongoing debate, but I think Intermission might be too ... er, nice? to be called a dive.

                  1. re: Dax

                    Yeah, Intermission used to be a dive when it was Flynn's, but not now. Pretty nice, actually.

                2. Boston is not a great "dive" town, as far as I've seen...especially Boston proper. the only dives I can think of are acttually truly dreadful...like The Dugout.

                  1. I love the Sail Loft, which has its divey elements. Food's edible; good would be stretching it.

                    1. Cantab (Central Square)? Have you checked out ex-Tim's burgers?

                      1. Hmm. Seems like every place with decent food has been cleaned up a little (e.g., The Plough), or if it's still divey, has pretty sub-par food.

                        21st Amendment, maybe?

                        T.C.'s on Haviland meets the dive criterion, but I've never dared try the food; I suspect it's barely edible, if not a health hazard.

                        J.J. Foley's in the South End will shortly have food presumably on par with Costello's in JP, i.e., pretty good. But Foley's has become less divey with work they've done inside and out over the past couple of years.

                        Crossroads on Mass Ave is a nice mix of somewhat divey and passable bar food.

                        Before the DEA closed in on its owner, you could bring outside food into the Waltham Tavern; half the time that place smelled of some patron's takeway styro box of fine fried fish from Morse Fish around the corner.

                        Does the Glass Slipper serve food? Maybe they'd let you bring a sandwich from Chacarero, or a falafel sandwich from Falafel King in there.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          "Does the Glass Slipper serve food? Maybe they'd let you bring a sandwich from Chacarero, or a falafel sandwich from Falafel King in there." Hilarious! And reminds me that you can get food at King Arthur's in Chelsea. I'm guessing the quality is below average...

                        2. Galleria Umberto on Hanover looks kind of like a cleanish pit but has excellent arancini, pan pizza and other things (and sells wine). I prefer to go late (meaning after 1:30) or early to avoid the line.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: lergnom

                            To me, and I assume the OP since he said "also serves good food", a dive implies booze.

                            1. re: Joanie

                              Yes, I have nothing against wine (and love Umberto's), but it is not what I consider a dive because you can't get a beer and a shot there.

                              MC, is the Glass Slipper still around? Not that I know anything about that place, of course.

                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                This is in no way a judgment on such places -- I have found myself in many similar venues many times over the years -- but I have never been to either the Glass Slipper or its competitor across the street. But I'm pretty sure both are still in business.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  My wife can vouch for the fact that I only know this because we use that street as a shortcut between Chinatown and Tremont sometimes, but...yeah, they're both still open.

                                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                    I use that cut-through frequently as well. The two "establishments" are now directly next to each other. The buildings across the street have all been demolished to make way for a new residential tower.

                                2. re: hiddenboston

                                  It's still there, but it moved across the street.

                            2. I think both Bukowski's and the Publick House have decent food and great beer: Bukowski's may be basic but their hot dogs are top notch, Publick House has a variety of Chow-worthy foods including Belgian choices. Both would probably be considered dives from some perspective.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: steinpilz

                                I have to disagree with the Publick House being classified as a dive in any sense -- esp. since the addition of the Monk's Cell. It's always been clean, nicely decorated, not very cheap, and full of good food and fancy beer. Hardly a dive.

                                Bukowski's I might give you, but I feel like it masquerades as a dive. It's like an ironic mask. Not that I don't love it, cause i do (esp. the $1.69 burgers!), but the diviness feels a little too purposeful, y'know?

                                They do both have good food and great beer, though -- can't disagree on that point.

                                1. re: litchick

                                  I'm with you - neither is a dive and both are great.

                                  1. re: gini

                                    Ok, I'll agree too (though the downtown Bukowski has a truely excellent 'faux dive' atmosphere) - but places like Elephant and Castle aren't really dives either IMO.

                                    How about the Salty Dog (excluding the summer patio)?

                              2. How about Daisy Buchanon's (sp?) I don't know if it qualifies for a dive, but it's got cheap(ish) beer and I've heard the food is good.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: heWho

                                  Definitely a dive, but I would not even think of eating food there

                                  1. re: Dax

                                    I just thought of a really good dive with good food. Deluxe in the South End. Awesome divey atmosphere, super-friendly staff and patrons (on my last visit the chef came to everyone's table to chat and see how the food was), and well-priced, reasonably good food. I think Deluxe hits on all cylindars for this.

                                    1. re: heWho

                                      I've been meaning to get to Deluxe but haven't yet. What are some particularly good entrees there?

                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                        I think the Delux's most successful dishes are the Mexican-leaning ones, like quesadillas. It seems more of a hipster bar than a true dive, but the food is pretty worthy and nicely priced. Its big drawback is similar to the Franklin's: too small and crowded for its popularity. Same people are behind the Columbus Cafe.

                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                          Their menu is extremely small, but just about everything on it is decent (we're not talking about mind-blowing food here, but it's good for a bar and it's cheap). Salads are good, I guess their grilled cheese is great. Last time I went there I had a chicken dish that was nice. Most of the food is semi-healthy too, compared to most bar food.

                                          I'll agree it's not REALLY a dive bar, but if it looks like a dive and is priced like a dive, I'll take it!

                                        2. re: heWho

                                          Deluxe is not a true dive either. Faux hipster dive, Not bad, but not the real deal.

                                          I've been eating at the Halfway Cafe in Watertown on occasion lately when I want cheap eats and it is both pretty good and a moderately divey, certainly with no pretense.

                                    2. If we can include East Boston, I nominate Eddie C's in Maverick Sq.

                                      One evening they had a special of cheek...human variety.

                                      After an East Boston crawl, a few of us stopped in and were told the story of the previous nights fight by a few of the regulars. 1 woman had bitten the cheek of another woman during a fight.

                                      Nice place..:)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: 9lives

                                        Eddie C's is very convenient to the Maverick T-stop. I would recommend requesting the wine list there for a perusal.

                                        1. re: Alcachofa

                                          Oohh that's hilarious. I would second Eddie C's, although I've actually had some awesome food there. For special occasions, they tend to bring in home-cooked Italian food, pasta and meatballs, etc. The last time I was in there, they had frozen Elio's type pizzas that they heated up in a toaster over, not so much a legit menu. But that pizza tasted damn good at closing time. Yum.

                                      2. Outside of Boston and more like a pub, but The Druid in Inman Square should qualify - great chicken soup, soda bread, fish & chips and beef stew, all of it is very authentic.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Eats2Much

                                          Again, not a dive.

                                          The Paddock is a dive. The Cantab is a dive. Costello's is, I gather, a dive.

                                          1. re: yumyum

                                            Costello's is kind of/sort of a dive, though the clientele ranges the gamut, from artists to yuppies to construction workers to college kids to older couples. I think it used to be more of a dive a few years ago.

                                            1. re: yumyum

                                              Cantab definitely qualifies. I agree that the Druid is not a dive.

                                          2. If you want a Chinese dive, I'd vote the original Wai Wai on Oxford St in Chinatown. Stick to the rice plates (with roast duck, chicken, roast pork, and other quickie items) and you can get a good meal for about $5. Even comes with soup. They used to do good noodle soups too, but I haven't had noodles there in a long time.

                                            1. Great question Hidden.
                                              I'll throw in the Quiet Man since it's closer to Boston proper than many of the previous rec's.
                                              I personally don't think it's a dive ( just a time-worn pub) but it's probably close enough for many on this board.
                                              Along a similar vein is the Eire Pub in Dorchester. Great sandwiches but the service is way too professional for a dive bar.

                                              I'll second the Sidebar for wings and drafts, but it falls short of dive status as well. And you really get what you're paying for when you eat 10 cent wings.

                                              I like Bukowski too much to call it the Disney version of a dive but no dive has 40+ beers. They also lose points with me for using the author's name. He'd kick all their asses if he ever walked into either joint.
                                              Intermission is way too new and expensive to be a dive. (If you're looking for a dive and a bite in that area grab a slice at NY Pizza and go to the Tam.)

                                              Does the Pleasant Cafe in Roslindale have a bar side as well as a dining side?

                                              That might be the closest to the gold standard for me-
                                              The late, lamented, original Ashmont Grill.
                                              You'd have been a fool to order food there if you weren't given a heads up but it was actually well prepared.
                                              And you couldn't drink alone there no matter how early you showed up.
                                              The shot price was written with a marker on all the bottles and you could get a short draft of God-knows-what for 50 cents.

                                              11 Replies
                                              1. re: joestrummer

                                                The Pleasant does have a bar side. A real dive is down the street, the place they just ruined by bricking over the glass but as someone reported, the food sucked. And by the Midway, the Drinking Fountain might really scare some people. But no food, and not Boston proper.

                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                  Garden at the Cellar has great food. Though it's in Cambridge.

                                                  21st Amendment has some tasty items on the menu.

                                                  1. re: wittlejosh

                                                    With the new menu at the Garden/Cellar, you're really pushing the "dive" definition aren't you?

                                                      1. re: wittlejosh

                                                        How bout the Corner Cafe in the NE

                                                        1. re: wittlejosh

                                                          I guess it's in the eye of the beholder, I sure wouldn't call the Cellar a dive. It's got a fun mix of people but in my mind it's still too collegy, too straight and no old men.

                                                      2. re: wittlejosh

                                                        Any place that bills itself as a "gastropub" cannot be by definition a dive.

                                                    1. re: joestrummer

                                                      Sidebar is totally a dive, just not as much as a place like the Tam.

                                                      1. re: Dax

                                                        Maybe, but I think bartenders are way too cute for a dive bar.
                                                        Way too many people making an honest living in there after work as well.

                                                        I guess the term "dive" is really relative. If I don't feel like I have to have my back to the wall, it's not a dive in my book.

                                                      2. re: joestrummer

                                                        Pleasant Cafe does in fact have a bar side. When you "dine" at the bar you pay the waitresses on the dining side for the food, and pay for your drinks at the bar. Kind of funny. They make a good pizza and veal parm there though.

                                                      3. I nominate B-Side as a dive with good food, for the atmosphere, not necessarily the clientele. I was in there on Friday night, and it was looking pretty divey.

                                                        20 Replies
                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                          I like B-Side, but NO WAY a dive. Hipster retro wanna be divey coolster joint, but absolutely NO WAY a genuine dive.

                                                          Prior to it's reincarnation as B-Side that space did in fact have a dive bar.

                                                          O'Sullivans is almost a true dive, but not really:

                                                          O'Sullivans Pub

                                                          282 Beacon St
                                                          Somerville, MA 02143
                                                          (617) 492-7773
                                                          Get directions

                                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                                            I agree about B-Side, StriperGuy. It's a neat place, but definitely not a dive (the only way you might get hurt there is if someone hits you over the head with a J. Crew catalog). ;-b

                                                            To put it into context, compare B-Side with Paddy's on Walden Street. Verrrrrry different places for sure...

                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                              Ooooh, have you been INSIDE Paddy's? Inquiring minds want to know. It reminds me of how the Abbey Lounge was before the face lift and the smoking ban.

                                                              1. re: MB fka MB

                                                                I can admit to being inside Paddy's and no Paddy's Lunch doesn't serve a _solid_ lunch. Walking in there with a San Antonian tejano and African American coworker on a drywall job we were made very uncomfortable and left after a beer. Other than that, its pretty normal and I have been in other times.

                                                                This thread has expanded from "Boston Proper," but a decent example of a dive bar in Cambridge/Somerville is La Hacienda along the lines of the Paddock and Newtowne. Its pizza and the usual red sauce dishes that you might find at Greg's in Watertown, but not quite as good quality. I do like their bar pizzas and remember the large pizzas from years ago when there was sawdust on the floor (enjoyable and lots of toppings, but just not that good). They still have chablis on tap and patron's names are written on the barstools.

                                                                1. re: MB fka MB

                                                                  A buddy of mine from North Cambridge has been in Paddy's a couple of times. He told me it's not a dangerous place, but it's just kind of sad. Lots of older folks drinking all day long, from what it sounds like.

                                                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                I'm a fan of O'Sullivan & Sons, but I wonder if it qualifies as a dive anymore, now that it's running TV commercials (during the Phantom Gourmet). Seems too profitable and well-maintained to be a true dive.

                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                  Nope, O'Sullivan's is not a dive, IMO. The place is well-lit and pretty clean, the nightly crowd includes a high number of Harvard students, and Matt the bartender a truly great guy who is respectful to everyone who comes into the place. Oh, and they have a gouda burger. :-D

                                                                  If you want a dive near O'Sullivan's, there are at least a few along Somerville Avenue, though there seem to be fewer with each passing year.

                                                                  1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                    Lower Broadway has a better concentration than Somerville ave (and these days than Highland), but even those have been lightened up. PA's and Razzy's are probably more divey than Caseys or Khoury's, but I would tend to go to the latter. Casey's has pretty good steak tips and I know Khoury's was doing a plate of the day, but not certain where either stands these days.

                                                                    The Brazilian bar Samba Grill on Somerville Ave has quite good porções (portions or small plates) and is reasonably divey. It can get mildly dangerous occasionally on Sunday nights, although its well policed.

                                                                2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                  I guess that raises a question of what makes a dive - the setting, the clientele or both?

                                                                  I think if B-Side is not a dive, no way is O'Sullivan's. O'S is brightly lit - I consider that a pre-req for divey-ness. Hipsters notwithstanding, B-Side is dark and seems rather dingy, granted in a way-too-cool-for-school hipster sort-of way. Was going to say a place I would not venture with my folks as a good dive litmus test, which I would place B-Side, but then I took them to Santarpio's so that's out...

                                                                  I've got it... B-Side is "high dive." :)

                                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                    B-Side, the Model, the Sil, Bukowski's and I guess the People's Republic are sometimes dirty and smell like dives, but the clientele, from the yuppies to the hipsters, tends to preclude any of these from being a true dive bar.

                                                                  2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                    BSide is definitely faux dive - I brought my 88 year old mother there! O'Sullivan's definitely feels more authentic.

                                                                    1. re: LauraBear

                                                                      the b-side hasn't been a dive since it was the windsor tap. now *that* was a real dive. with really really scary food.

                                                                      1. re: passing thru

                                                                        Funny you mention that. Last night, a friend of mine who's involved with the Cambridge City Council (and knows Cambridge better than nearly anyone I know) was talking about the Windsor Tap. He says it was a pretty scary place in its day.

                                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                          I'm surprised you never went. I remember *I* thought that place would be perfect to turn it into a cool spot ages ago. As I did the Milky Way. Good ideas, no friends with money.

                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                            When did the Windsor Tap close? Was it the mid-1990s? My hangout back then was Nick's Beef and Beer House on the other side of town, and before that (when I just turned legal, give or take a year), Woodley's in the basement of what is now the Elephant Walk in North Cambridge.

                                                                            Woodley's was probably my favorite bar in the Boston area back then, with a pool table, dart board, dollar drafts of Yuengling, and comfy couches, all below street level and hidden away from the rest of the world.

                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                              My summer job right out of college was cocktail waitressing at Woodleys. Wonder if I waited on you? This was in 91.

                                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                I'd say the Windsor closed sometime between 96-98. Not that it would ahe been your hangout, but a stop just to say you've been there. Maybe I better start working on my idea in Hyde Park before someone else runs with it.

                                                                                Woodley's sure never made it on my radar.

                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                  I was much less adventurous back then. ;-b

                                                                                  Good luck with Hyde Park! I hear that Readville could use a cool place.

                                                                            2. re: hiddenboston

                                                                              true confession: one st patrick's day i ate the corned beef and cabbage lunch special at the windsor tap, as people came in to convert their welfare checks to cash and/or liquids.. let's just say that i am happy to have survived that entire experience.

                                                                              i used to deliver the mail there sometimes when i worked for the post office. i think joanie's guesstimate of when it closed is about right.

                                                                            3. re: passing thru

                                                                              I stopped into the Windsor Tap exactly once. It was the middle of a sunny Saturday afternoon, and my buddy and I decided to stop in for a beer and to check the Sox score. The place was really dark, with a low suspended ceiling and that reek of stale cigarettes, spilled beer, and human misery. The only other patrons were a bunch of what looked like outlaw bikers discussing how to best distribute the batch of meth they had just cooked up. The barman took our beer order ("Em, no glass, thanks), which we swiftly guzzled and fled. It was a definite B&B (beer and a beatin') kind of place, though B&S (beer and a stabbin') was probably closer to the truth. Basically a scary drug bar. Next to that, The B-Side is the Ritz Bar. I remember Week 1 at The B-Side, when an old Windsor regular on the next stool was bitching to me about the higher beer prices under the new management. He stopped talking to me and quickly paid and left after the barman served me a Negroni.

                                                                      2. Flann O'Brien's on Tremont at Brigham Circle: http://www.flanns.com/

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Taralli

                                                                          I was there a few weeks ago on a Saturday night and it was packed with college kids doing kareoke. I think there is a very broad category of "just a bar"--not upscale, not a dive-- that many Boston-area bars fall into.

                                                                          1. re: Taralli

                                                                            My thoughts on a "dive bar" is that they don't typically have websites..:)

                                                                            I think more of the Tam, Flynn's (now Intermission and no longer a dive) or the departed Hank's behind the departed Marliave.

                                                                            My Bother's Place or original Flash's in Park Sq.

                                                                            Pete's Tavern pre renovation..or upstairs

                                                                            Southie still has a few.

                                                                            Joints where you can get a shot and a beer at 8 AM..:)

                                                                            1. re: 9lives

                                                                              Wow, Hanks. I think you're wading into bucket of blood territory there.
                                                                              The bartender from Charlie Flynn's is on Harrison Ave now. at Bernie's.
                                                                              Now that's a dive.
                                                                              Can't remember his name but a real gentleman.

                                                                              1. re: 9lives

                                                                                I stopped by My Brothers Place a few times just before it closed. I'm pretty sure you could get a tuna salad sandwich there, although it was likely served in a dirty ashtray. But very cheap high lifes.

                                                                                1. re: 9lives

                                                                                  What was the name of the 1st bar in Dot we went to after the Beef and Fish 7 Ways dinner? Divey for sure, but not positive about food there.

                                                                                  1. re: Dax

                                                                                    Twelve Ben's maybe? 315 Adams St..meets the 8am opening requirement..don't know about the food.

                                                                                    The last bar we hit was really a dive..made the first place look like the 4 Seasons..can't recall the name or if it even had a name..:)

                                                                                    A dive bar with great food is the bar just across from Revere Beach T..can't recall the name..with takeout from Floating Rock down Shirley Ave.

                                                                              2. The Riverside on River Street heading into Central Square, right at the intersection of Putnam. The only thing I've ever ordered in there was the fried fish sandwich and a Budweiser. Darn fine tho' and LOTS of Keno action in the bar area. Pretty divey.

                                                                                Oh, and what about the Courtside on Cambridge Street near the Cambridge courthouse? I've only drank there, can't vouch for the food...

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: MB fka MB

                                                                                  Courtside is kind of divey but almost family friendly it seems. A jovial karaoke atmosphere isn't so divey IMHO. (The one and only time I did karaoke, stone cold sober, Detroit Rock City.)

                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                    Maybe the bar side would qualify. Seems like it can be pretty sketchy. I've actually eaten the food there. The french fries are okay. Pizza is the frozen cardboard variety.

                                                                                    If karaoke joints are under consideration I give high dive marks for Razzy's in Somerville. If they serve food it could be a splendid dive.

                                                                                    1. re: kittychow

                                                                                      Sorry, but no self-disrespecting dive would have karaoke.

                                                                                      1. re: Blumie

                                                                                        Front bar has no karaoke and is pretttty divey. Keno, bars on the windows, locals in sweatpants and work boots, cheap booze and beer served by worn out former bar stars. I find myself "dive bombing" from time to time and this place had me pretty nervous when it got close to last call. "Clientele" seemed pretty disparate: Dive fans on one side, karaoke hipsters on the other, no overlap of the two.

                                                                                        But sadly it does not make the cut. They have a web site. They do serve food apparently. Photos on the site don't include any from the front the bar... Maybe they should annex themselves so they can make the cut.

                                                                                      2. re: kittychow

                                                                                        Razzy's does serve food. It is actually edible! Definitely a dive even though it doesn't compare to the old Jon's Place that used to be there!

                                                                                  2. Did the old mini-chain of Father's bars serve food? They certainly would've qualified as dives, wouldn't they? A bartender got killed during a robbery in the one on Harvard Street in Allston. [Edit: Got my facts wrong. The murder was at the old Bunratty's. Was that once a Fathers?]

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Blumie

                                                                                      Bunratty's was not a Father's. Father's was closer to the Brighton Ave. side of the block.

                                                                                    2. Go to the Pour House on Boylston Street - a dive with CHEAP food. And, surprisingly, it's good. Their brunch is great!

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: beantownchick

                                                                                        Pour House is close, but does not really qualify as a dive. Too young, too college-y, no hardcore drinkers, too "fun".

                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                          How about the "Penalty Box" across from North Station - as divey as they come. A truly frightening place.

                                                                                          1. re: Northender

                                                                                            Ah, the Penalty Box isn't that bad. Although it certainly is a dive.

                                                                                      2. Hm, would Our House East (Gainsborough and Huntington) qualify? Maybe it's more of a sports bar. I dunno. All this talk of what is and isn't divey has me confused. All I know is that Our House East is kinda dark, sort of dingy, has lackadaisical service at both the bar and the tables, has too few beers on tap, but surprisingly, has good sandwiches, fries, wings, burgers, etc. Very satisfying when that's what I'm in the mood for. Of course, it's best to go there when there aren't too many students around...

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: litchick

                                                                                          I wouldn't call it a dive at all. Also, unless the food has drastically improved in the last year or so, I'm going to have to disagree on it being good. Food and service is so bad there that I refuse to go anymore (even though it was a regular post-work hangout due to location). Happy hour food prices may be nice but I don't even want to pay that little for what I've had there... I'm much happier walking to Buk's, Pour House, or even Other Side than having the clueless waitress of the week not realize that she can make a ton of dough if she can remember to take regular drink orders.

                                                                                        2. I am surprised to see that The Banshee on Dot. Ave hasn't been mentioned. Great dive bar, one of my favorite in the city and some surprisingly good food. Went a couple weeks ago and had some excellent steak tips, my brother had something called cottage pie that was fantastic.

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                                                                                            I was thinking of the Banshee as well.

                                                                                            A true dive was Tom English across the street, even I wouldn't go in there, one of those places open at 8am on a Monday with a crowd (and not a hipster/chef one, either).

                                                                                            I'm hoping (in vain, I'm sure) that the Beehive develops that divey feel but I don't quite see it, especially with High Lifes at $4 or something.

                                                                                            1. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                                                                                              The Banshee is absolutely a dive, my kind of dive. Lots of dive-bars on Dot Ave. It's painfully obvious, in reading these posts, that SOME of our dear brother & sister Hounds have no life experience in dives. It's not your faults to be so culturally challenged. You didn't have the advantages of growing up in Lynn (like me), Chelsea, Southie or Somerville. And no, moving there after getting the degree in Cambridge doesn't count. Looks aside, it sometimes comes down to how quickly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and how quickly you fall into peripheral vision mode. Let's just say; been there - done that, on both sides of the bar.


                                                                                              Obtw CBZ, Cottage pie is the kissing cousin of Shepherd's pie; beef in lieu of lamb.
                                                                                              Some places use beef and call it Shepherd's pie but they're wrong.

                                                                                              1. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                I'm with ya, Harpoon. In general, my friends from Somerville, Lawrence, and Quincy know a little more about dives than, say, my friends from Lexington, Lincoln, and Acton (though this isn't always the case!). I'm just glad that no one said that Eastern Standard is a top dive in the Boston area. ;-b

                                                                                                A lot of great suggestions here, including yours. I know people who have been to the Banshee and say it is a bit wild and woolly, and pretty memorable for both good and bad reasons. I bet Dennis Lehane modeled some of the bar scenes in his books after the Banshee and other Dorchester Ave. bars. BTW, what is Nash's like? The Harp and Bard? The Emerald Isle? Any others worth speaking of?

                                                                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                  Funny you should mention ES, I was actually thinking that off-season it served many of the divey functions without actually being a dive.

                                                                                                  Not a fan of Harp and Bard, kind of like grandpa's VFW hall.

                                                                                                  There's Molly [something] near Fields Corner that can get a good crowd on occasion. And I never thought I say this, but a lot of the Dot places are simply too Irish to be a proper dive IMHO, more an ethnic place than a dive.

                                                                                                  1. re: sailormouth

                                                                                                    I would respectfully disagree sailormouth, ethnicity has little to do with it. There are Irish pubs/bars and then there are Irish dives. You, obviously, don'r have to be Irish to walk the boards of either :-))

                                                                                                  2. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                    Hey Marc, Pegmeister beat me in responding and did a nice job of it too.
                                                                                                    All you need to know in to get by in Dorcester; where on Dot Ave. and what parish?

                                                                                                    1. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                      Thanks to both of you...I think I need to get a pint at Nash's one of these nights (not tonight, though--way too muggy to be drinking dark beer, IMO).

                                                                                                  3. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                    Haven't been to the Bansheem although a lot of my friends like it. Move a little further down Dot Ave. and you'll find the Harp & Bard. Definitely a dive! A few years ago when Gino was cooking there the food was great but I'm not sure how it is now. As for Nash's, my Irish friends tell me they pour a good Guiness. Not so sure they have food?

                                                                                                    1. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                                      Just an FYI, the Banshee has great fish and chips. As close to Irish/English fish and chips I've ever had here in the states. Though I think of the Banshee as more of an Irish pub vs a dive.....

                                                                                                2. You guys have pretty much covered the bases, but as a lover of dive bars, I'll just chime in with a few opinions.

                                                                                                  Pete's Pub was a dive bar, now it's not. Although I still frequent the place.

                                                                                                  Flynn's was a dive bar.

                                                                                                  The Tam is a dive bar.

                                                                                                  The Corner Cafe is not a dive bar.

                                                                                                  Neither is Flann O'Briens.

                                                                                                  The Pour House isnt even close to a dive bar.

                                                                                                  JJ Foley's Fireside Tavern in JP approaches, but just misses dive bar status.

                                                                                                  Griffin's down the street from The Fireside Tavern is a stupendously divey bar.

                                                                                                  I have more thoughts, but this is making me, uh, thirsty.

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                    Has anyone mentioned Whitney's in Harvard Square? Used to open at 8am and do a pretty good business.

                                                                                                    1. re: ginnyhw

                                                                                                      There's also Shay's and Charley's at Harvard Square, though these might fail the various 'dive tests' mentioned above.

                                                                                                      1. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                        Neither Shay's nor Charley's qualifies due to the clientele. If Whitney's is the place next to the CVS it definitely qualifies.

                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                          See, that's the thing: even if we found a dive that met all of the qualifications posited here, it would cease to be a dive once CHs started going there. So what we have here is Schrodinger's Chow.

                                                                                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                            BarmyFotheringayPhipps: you literally took the words out of my mouth, er, or the letters out from under my fingers. I was writing basically the same thing (without the nice Schroedingers reference). Great minds...

                                                                                                            1. re: litchick

                                                                                                              I was thinking the same thing. BFP *very* clever and funny.

                                                                                                            2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                              See I would suggest that a true dive has it's own critical mass (obligatory physics reference, natch) of clientele such that the occasional interloper does not diminish its credibility. A dive is a dive is a dive.

                                                                                                              Shay's has been around for a long time, has always been dingy and even a bit sketchy, and yet has never been a proper dive.

                                                                                                              In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart tried to explain pornography by saying, "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced . . . [b]ut I know it when I see it . . . "

                                                                                                              Same is true of a real dive bar.

                                                                                                              I can add one more to the list: Conley's in Watertown. Decent food, not even so dingy, but a dive nonetheless.

                                                                                                              Donohue's nearby, very similar vibe, even somewhat similar clientele, not a dive. Go figure.

                                                                                                              1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                                                                Yes, as a matter of fact it was. Siberia. It's not in the subway anymore (somewhere in Hells Kitchen) and I presume they check ID's of preppy, very underage boys in ties now. I always had a good time there, usually it was the last stop of the evening.

                                                                                                            3. re: steinpilz

                                                                                                              If you mean Charlie's Kitchen then it's more a pseudo dive. 1000 hipsters does not a dive make.

                                                                                                          2. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                            I knew you'd mention Griffin's. I drive by regularly and it looks pretty sketchy to me. Good call.

                                                                                                            1. re: yumyum

                                                                                                              Sully's Tap is a true dive, just not on nights of Garden events.

                                                                                                          3. How would the (lamented) Tim's Tavern rate?

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: BBHound

                                                                                                              Since this has already gone beyond Boston "proper" how 'bout The Brown Jug in Chelsea --the place is filthy & I haven't been there in a few years, but it had good pizza!

                                                                                                              The New Brown Jug
                                                                                                              1014 Revere Beach Parkway, Chelsea, MA 02150

                                                                                                              1. re: BBHound

                                                                                                                //How would the (lamented) Tim's Tavern rate?//

                                                                                                                Dive with simple but great food.

                                                                                                                1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                  Tim's was an unusual place. Hard to categorize. Lot's of Boston cops during the lunch hour. Definitely a dive bar crowd at other times. Tim's somehow was in a class of it's own. As all the great bars/joints are.

                                                                                                              2. You guys are the best--based on all the info I've gathered here, I'm guessing I'll be in rehab by next Friday at the latest. And I owe it all to you!

                                                                                                                BTW, I noticed that StriperGuy mentioned Conley's and Donohue's. I believe that Conley's was recently renovated, so I'm not sure if it's still a dive. I remember that when it was McFly's, the smell of transmission fluid and motor oil permeated throughout the bar area. Smells like those definitely boost a place to dive status. Oh, and Guido's, which is down the street, is definitely a dive. Some of the food is actually decent, too. As far as Donohue's? I'm a semi-regular there, and would agree that it's not a dive. It's more of a sports bar IMO.

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                  Was at Conley's the other day.

                                                                                                                  A coat of paint did not change a thing.

                                                                                                                  Still a dive. Slightly threatening vibe, check. (Though the bartenders and staff are nice). Hard drinking clientele, check.

                                                                                                                  When I grabbed a Boston Globe from the bar, three of the clients chuckled "got no use for that anyway, we can't read." They were kidding, but Conley's is definitely a dive. I remember distinctly thinking "this place is way rougher then I remember."

                                                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                    I definitely need to get back to Conley's....so strange that bucolic Belmont is literally across the street, yet it seems a world away.

                                                                                                                    My favorite memory of Conley's (or was it McFly's? it was about the time when it changed ownership) was one night at 12:45, and the bartender said, "Boys, it's last call. What would you like?" upon which I ordered a pint of Murphy's. He turned to my friend, who ordered 4 pints of Murphy's....for HIMSELF. The bartender didn't blink an eye, poured the 5 pints, gave me one, and gave my friend the other 4, at which point my friend shot them down one by one at the bar in about one minute. Again, the bartender didn't even raise an eyebrow.

                                                                                                                    BTW, funny line about their not being able to read. You sure they were kidding?

                                                                                                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                      Is this the Conley's on Belmont Street near the Shangri-La?

                                                                                                                  2. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                    Agree on Donahue's, not a dive. But the price of a beer during a game is dive-level low.

                                                                                                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                      I have never hit Guido's. I've probably been in Donohue's when you've been there. I go every week or two. The 25 Cent wings they have been serving lately (mon or tues?) have been pretty good. Other food is hit or miss.

                                                                                                                      Also on the Conley's note. When I was at the bar the other day, very nice guy sitting next to me was plowing through Budweisers at a very respectable clip. We talked about the goons at the end of the bar who "couldn't read." Guy next to me almost defensively said "well I can read..."

                                                                                                                      We then talked about local pizza and Stella's. Then he asked me "do you drink around here?" He wanted to know if I thought you could bring a pizza from Stella's into the Mt. Auburn bar (also a dive) on weekends cause their kitchen doesn't open til 3:00pm. That is a dedicated drinker that needs to get some boozing in before 3:00 on a Saturday. Heck and the guy has good taste in Pizza.

                                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                        God bless him... :-D

                                                                                                                        Sooo, can you bring a Stella's pizza into the Mt. Auburn?

                                                                                                                        Watertown used to have so many dives, but some have disappeared. The ones that come to mind are Mark's Spring Street Pub (closed), Tom's Busy Bee (just sold, I think), the Orchard Park Grill, Guido's, McFly's (closed), Conley's, and the Mount Auburn.

                                                                                                                    2. A couple of replies mentioned My Brother's Place and one mentioned Flash's and a few mentioned the Cantab. Though I've lived in Vermont now for a 6 years, I lived in Boston for over 15 years and can't even calculate the number of hours I spent at those 3 establishments........an almost infinite number of hours if you add on Richard's which used to be a couple doors down from My Brother's Place. I have no idea if it's still there, but if not...I mourn it's loss!!! I must say though, that I never actually ate food ( I suppose shots of JD don't qualify as food per se) anywhere but Flash's (the chicken caccitore was cheap and yummy ...if you didn't mind having to pick out an occasional small bone!). Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Boston of that time...I miss you!!!

                                                                                                                      1. In Quincy, there is the Irish Pub on Billings Street. It's been around forever and it's surprising how many people have never heard of it. I was there many years ago when some coworkers talked me into going for lunch on St Paddys day. One of the patrons, just about fell off his bar stool and then proceeded to come over and hug me. That was enough for me, tossed my money on the table and I was out of there.

                                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                                                          As others have stated, not really "dives" but they are pubs/bars with very good food: Dunn-Gaherins and The Biltmore in Newton.

                                                                                                                          1. re: bakerboyz

                                                                                                                            The Biltmore used to be a true dive (sometimes with passable food), before it became the upscale bistro that it is today. The food is much better there now!

                                                                                                                            Dunn Gaherin's was my hangout during the years that I played softball in that area. I'd say it could definitely be classified as a dive. Good lord, the money we spent there on beer there, we could have pooled it all together and bought a small nation.

                                                                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                              I'm sure that it wouldn't be a landlocked, i.e. dry, nation either!

                                                                                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                I'd disagree on both more based on the fact that they both catered a lot to the business lunch crowd during the day. Dunb Gaherin's is about as divey as O'Sullivan's. Haven't been to the Biltmore since about 2000 or so.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                                                              Got one! Viriglio's Echo Bridge Restaurant in Newton Upper Falls - The place splits into the bar/dining room sections, and the bar is definitely a sorry dive, but the Italian food is cheap and surprisingly good!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                How sorry? Sorry enough to make me wanna go?

                                                                                                                                1. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                                                  Honestly, it's been a while since I have popped in, but I would definitely recommend giving it a shot if you're in the neighborhood. It's in an area of Newton near the Biltmore that one would think would not support a place like this, if the food was bad. But it seems to be hanging on, which I take as data that the food is still decent.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                    Thanks BD, that's sounds like a plan. I've lived in Wayland for ages and never set eyes on the famous Echo Bridge.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                                                      OK, you live in Wayland? Sorry, but please abstain from any further dive talk. Sorry, dats how it works.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: Harp00n

                                                                                                                                    worn and ripped vinyl seating in the dining room side but decent chicken parm sandwiches.

                                                                                                                              2. Is the Yardrock in Quincy, by the shipyards, still open? Other than the great blues talent they pulled in, it seemed pretty divey to me... drinking cans of MIller at the tables.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: newhound

                                                                                                                                  The Yard Rock is no more (I think it closed about 3 years ago), but Holy Ground in Quincy Center continues the tradition with "Yard Rock" nights on Thursdays.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                    Is the Prez in Quincy Center still open/there? That was a pretty good dive bar but I don't recall any food? I always ate around the corner at Darby's (decent food) which was divey Sun-Thurs but lame on Fri & Sat.

                                                                                                                                2. I was riding the 39 bus and passed Punter's Pub and wondered if that qualified. Not sure what if anything is served for food, but maybe there are too many Northeastern students to be a dive?

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                    wow that certainly was a dive bar. I think we bought subs or pizza next door and brought them in to have with beer.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                      geez - it's been a bunch of years, but I used to live right next door when I was at N.U. - I'm not sure I've been to danker pit of a bar; I spent hours and hours there, of course =). One of the highlights was that there was a hole cut into the wall to the (bad) pizza joint next door, so you could get slices and such right through the sliding hatch. Unless things have changed mightily, I'd be reluctant to eat anything there. At least there was the thought that the alcohol might disinfect things a bit before you put the bottle to your lips.

                                                                                                                                    2. There are a couple dives in the Financial District. One is called The Times - the food is pub grub, but it's pretty tasty. I love their buffalo chicken sandwich - very spicy, and grilled, not fried. They also pour a darned good Guiness.

                                                                                                                                      The other that I'm thinking of is Biddy Earlys - now this place is a true dive. It's pretty much filled w/union folk from Verizon. They have killer fried seafood to boot. I'll order scallops every once in while from there to go for lunch.

                                                                                                                                      Biddy's is a hair bit "divier" than The Times. I can walk into the Times and not feel like everyone stopped talking and the music on the juke box shut off...Biddys?...well, there's a reason I order food to go.

                                                                                                                                      11 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowciao

                                                                                                                                        Biddys gets a fair amount of Price Waterhouse folks, too. I don't find it frightening in the way I find a place like Griffin's scary.

                                                                                                                                        (Sad thing is, I still go into Griffin's on occasion. Just a love of dive bars I guess.)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                          Well, if we're getting into scariest dives, I'll put my vote in for two: The Black Thorn on West Broadway in Southie and the Powder House Pub in Ball Square, Somerville, although the Powder House isn't nearly as rough as it used to be. And while the Cantab isn't all that scary anymore, it used to be rather sketchy at times (actually got hit with a beer bottle one night there for no particular reason).

                                                                                                                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                            Oh, there was a reason I threw it at you Marc...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                              I didn't know you had waist-length dreads, Bob! ;-b

                                                                                                                                              I'm intrigued about Biddy Early's as well as a couple of the other slightly dive-y places in the Financial District. Perhaps I'll do a crawl down there some night...

                                                                                                                                              Is Three Cheers still open? That always seemed like a slightly dive-y place.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                Biddy Early's serves a pretty good burger. I grab a burger and a beer there at lunch at least once a month. Very dive-y. You will love it! :)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: TomH

                                                                                                                                                  Agree. I've had pretty good burgers there on a few occasions. Not bad at all. And they have that beer and burger special for $6.00 I believe.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TomH

                                                                                                                                                    TomH, have you ever met/seen my buddy Reed there at lunch? Shortish African-American fellow who works at Price Waterhouse.

                                                                                                                                                    He claims he's a Biddy-God.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                      I haven't but I will have to keep an eye out for "God" next time I am there! :)

                                                                                                                                              2. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                I love the Powder House, that place is the best. The food isn't half bad either. The place doesn't look the part for decent food, but it is surprisingly satisfying. Try the wings on the grill.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                  The scariest bar is (or maybe was) Aces High at Andrew Square.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                  Okay, Biddy Earlys' is the "dive" of the Financial District. So who plays The Jets & who plays The Sharks between Verizon and Price Waterhouse?

                                                                                                                                              3. i don't think any place with a draft sytem can or should be considered a dive... bottles of schlitz and burgers cooked in an upright grill, thats a dive

                                                                                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: bowmore36

                                                                                                                                                  How about the inside bar at the Salty Dog in Faneuil Hall? That's a dive

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Alcachofa

                                                                                                                                                      Faneuil Hall, by design...does not have legitimative "dive bars."

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: 9lives

                                                                                                                                                        I agree to a point, 9lives, but Ames Plow comes close. That's mostly a bar for people who come to Faneuil Hall with one purpose in mind: To have as many many beers as possible in the shortest (or longest) amount of time.

                                                                                                                                                        Does anyone remember Finn McCools, which was just around the corner from Faneuil Hall? Now THAT was a dive!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                          Ah, but Marc, no dive bar can have pleasant outdoor seating. That automatically eliminates Ames Plow.

                                                                                                                                                          The inside may come somewhat close to dive status, but it doesn't reach it. Although the air filtration system that pumps smoke from the kitchen directly over the end of the bar has dive possibilities.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                            You're right, although no self-respecting regular at Ames Plow would be caught dead in one of those outdoor seats, watching tourists walk by with stuffed spider monkeys and Freedom Trail keychains. Kinda like how the regulars downstairs at the Red Hat pretend that the upstairs dining room doesn't exist. (As I recall, the upstairs dining room was always filled with accountants while the downstairs area was regulars from the neighborhood, Suffolk students, and a particular sportscaster and TV host who shall remain unnamed.)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                              I always sat downstairs at the Red Hat when I lived on Beacon Hill. Upstairs was (and still is) kind of an odd, lavendar-tinted attempt at upscale.

                                                                                                                                                              BTW, I also never sit outside at Ames. End of the bar downstairs, closest to the bathrooms and that ventalation fan. LOVE the smell of grease blowing into my clothes.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                                Ahh, then I bet you've met my brother a time or 2 down there. Guy named Mike...

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowciao

                                                                                                                                                                      I should have asked this to begin with: Red Hat or Ames? Red Hat was in my late '90s period of dive-barring. Ames is my occasional "taking a break from Pete's" bar.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                                        Ames...Red Hat was my hang out in the late 80s (aging myself here).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowciao

                                                                                                                                                                          Well, you were sneaking in when you were just 8 or 9, right? :)

                                                                                                                                                                          I might just go to Ames tonight.

                                                                                                                                                                          Anybody up for a downstairs Ames Hound get-together?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                                            I was thinking of having a Chowhound gathering at Hogan's II in Lynn, but maybe Ames would be a better option. ;-b

                                                                                                                                                                            Should be a fun night at Ames tonight, as the Sox are playing late...have a drink for all of us!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                              //have a drink for all of us!//

                                                                                                                                                                              But that would mean I'd have to have hundreds of drinks.

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, okay, if you insist.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                    Oh God. When I lived in the Back Bay ('93-ish), I used to sit next to Gamere occasionaly at Daisy Buchanan's. He, uh, liked a drink every now and then. (Mostly now.)

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: bowmore36

                                                                                                                                                      The Erie Pub in Adams Village comes to mind. Pretty much all that is ordered there is bottled beer and those steamed hot dogs...Yum!

                                                                                                                                                    3. wait...i don't think anyone has mentioned the Galway House in JP yet, right? i know it's not boston proper but this chain has digressed beyond that original query, so i feel it's fair to throw it in the mix. definitely quite divey, very small hipster contingent (if at all), and better than decent food. portions are huge and there are lots of options.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: alyssap99

                                                                                                                                                        Hmmm, close to divey, that's for sure. Especially that creepy greenish lighting they have. But I have to say, close but no cigar.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                          no, i disagree! places that are divier (sp?!) than the galway house typically don't serve food, just bags of chips. galway house is a good combo of food and bad lighting and local color.

                                                                                                                                                      2. Anyone mention Four Winds on Commercial St?..decent burger.

                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: 9lives

                                                                                                                                                          not a dive - but a definite locals place. If you are one of the double parker outside - that means that you are a regular with certain "protections".

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Northender

                                                                                                                                                            I have the high score in Sports Trivia on the machine at the bar there.

                                                                                                                                                            And the food is decent too.

                                                                                                                                                            Oh, BTW, not even close to a dive. And anybody who knows me knows that I know dives. :))

                                                                                                                                                        2. Doyle's in JP. Redbones. Charley's. Nothing you can do about people going there. Father's had ten cent hot dogs on the weekend, but never had food. What happened to the Father's on Mass Ave by MIT? Isn't it still dive-y? Hard to believe there's nothing in Central Square--what about the Cantab? All the bars in CS were dives-and now there's none? And the 7's? Sligo Pub? All yupscale?

                                                                                                                                                          Come to LA and I'll take you to HMS Bounty.

                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: keaton

                                                                                                                                                            Redbones? Oh, come on. I never fear getting beat up at Redbones... don't mistake a place designed to look like a dive for a real dive.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: keaton

                                                                                                                                                              I agree about Charlie's, the Sevens, the Cantab, and the Sligo, but Redbones is not a dive, IMO. It's too funky to be a dive. I do love going downstairs for a beer or two while catching a game on TV, but I don't think it could be called a dive.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                The Seven's is old school, and a bit rough around the edges, but not really a dive in my book.

                                                                                                                                                                Charlie's is right on the cusp.

                                                                                                                                                                Sligo and the Cantab are both dives.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: keaton

                                                                                                                                                                central square once once a dive bar mecca, but real estate prices and the aging of their clientele killed all of them off. i do so miss the bradford.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: keaton

                                                                                                                                                                  That Father's turned into the Cambridgeport which was still divey, with a great jukebox. But then the jukebox started to suck and the place has been closed for a long time. Coincidentally, I ran into a bartender in Seattle who used to work there.

                                                                                                                                                                  In LA, do you go to Big Foot Lodge? Loved that place.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: keaton

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think that's true. I think some can have quite decent food, as evidenced by the Galway House and Costello's in JP. They're not total dives, but more so than many other places in town, yet the food is more than edible at both.

                                                                                                                                                                    Get to Big Foot when the guy from Dionysus spins, great stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                      Costello's is no more a dive than Doyle's is. Allstonian and I were in there Friday night and there was a four-year-old dancing to the jukebox in the middle of the floor. You don't see that at dives.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Pour House on Boylston. Pretty divey in my opinion, but food is surprisingly okay. Decent burgers and weekend brunch at good prices.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. cottage cafe on hyde park ave. brick, tiny barred window. interesting customers. mildly scary.

                                                                                                                                                                    hyde park pub, pretty much across the street, isn't bad either.

                                                                                                                                                                    both are divey, but neither are very chowish.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Has anyone mentioned the Chelsea Walk Pub yet?

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