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The New Waverly in Bangor
The New Waverly in Bangor
The New Waverly/FB

Discover 13 Essential Maine Dive Bars

Where to go when you don't want your drink shaken or stirred.

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The New Waverly in Bangor
| The New Waverly/FB

What's a dive bar? To paraphrase a famous Supreme Court ruling on obscenity, you know it when you see it. Typical of the genre, though: dim lighting, cheap beer, strong mixed drinks, and entertainment like pool tables, darts, and a jukebox. You can usually expect an entrance obscured by a cloud of smoke, plus colorful characters on both sides of the bar. While there are plenty of these "locals only" spots around Maine, here are 13 particularly satisfying ones at which to order an Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy with milk, whether or not you consider yourself a townie. RIP Sangillo's.

Note: map points are listed south to north.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

RJ's Pub

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While the surrounding neighborhood may be quiet in the evenings, inside RJ's pubgoers whoop it up to live music. On more sedate nights, you can find a small crowd watching sports while the Allen's flows freely.

[Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps]

Spring Point Tavern

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Located near the campus of Southern Maine Community College, Sprint Point has the dive thing down pat: Jello shots, cheap well drinks, live music, and darts. The friendly crowd is a mix of college students and neighborhood regulars.

[Photo: Ted Axelrod/Eater]

Ruski's Restaurant and Pub

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This West End classic is known for its large food menu, cheap beer specials, and very...let's say, "straightforward" service. The small bar can fill up fast, especially on weekends during its popular brunch or when the bar is hosting a local band.

[Photo: Ted Axelrod/Eater]

Mathew's

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The self-proclaimed "Oldest Pub in Portland," Mathew's is a great place to watch a sports game and enjoy a cheap beer. The servers and bouncers are very friendly, but don't bother trying to order any food, as the cook seems to be permanently "out sick."

[Photo: Courtesy of Ted Axelrod/Eater]

Samuel's Bar And Grill

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Samuel's stretches the definition of a "dive bar" with its clean interior, friendly staff, and substantial menu of bar food that's actually good. It bleeds into the "neighborhood bar" genre, where the game is always on and the kids are welcome.

[Photo: Tom Minervino/Eater]

Time Out Pub

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This downtown favorite draws weekend crowds with its ample patio seating, trivia nights, and live blues on Mondays.

[Photo: Courtesy of westie2/TripAdvisor]

Railroad Pub

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If your bar hosts a regular bike night, it's probably a dive. The Railroad Tavern sits in the shadow of the Worumbo Mill and slings plenty of Allen's, cheap domestic drafts, and bar food (for which the cook does NOT accept any substitutions).

[Photo: Courtesy of Railroad Pub/FB]

Myrtle St. Tavern

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This self-described gin mill has a loyal following for its pool tables, karaoke, and "Sombrero" specials (better known in Maine as a "Fat Ass in a Glass," a blend of Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy and milk).

[Photo: Courtesy of Myrtle St. Tavern]

Bowen's Tavern

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Just beyond Belfast's quaint downtown area, this bar is known for its down-to-earth crowd, drink specials, DJs, and karaoke. Plus, if you partied too long the night before, you can come back for a full breakfast starting bright and early at 6:30 a.m.

[Photo: Courtesy of Bowen's Tavern]

Dugout Bar & Grill

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Pool tables, trivia, a hearty bar menu, and live music on the patio at the Dugout Bar and Grill attract a hearty crew of regulars and college students from nearby University of Maine.

[Photo: Courtesy of TracyTravelsOn/TripAdvisor]

The New Waverly

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Bangorians love the New Waverly for its free pool, cheap drinks, and friendly staff. Soak up all that cheap beer with some cheesy garlic breadsticks, then head out to the patio for a night of dancing.

[Photo: Courtesy of The Waverly/FB]

Corner Pub

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While the burgeoning food and drink scene of Kittery Foreside is rightfully lauded, it's also nice to slip into a comforting, low key bar like the Corner Pub for some pool and a few cheap pints. A happy customer describes it as a "locals only" bar, so you know it's legit.

[Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps]

Forest Gardens

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This bar is easy to miss, as it blends in with neighboring apartments on outer Forest Avenue. But take one look inside at the drop tile ceiling, cracked vinyl bar stools, and dart boards, and you'll feel right at home. Bring cash; no plastic accepted here.

[Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps]

RJ's Pub

While the surrounding neighborhood may be quiet in the evenings, inside RJ's pubgoers whoop it up to live music. On more sedate nights, you can find a small crowd watching sports while the Allen's flows freely.

[Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps]

Spring Point Tavern

Located near the campus of Southern Maine Community College, Sprint Point has the dive thing down pat: Jello shots, cheap well drinks, live music, and darts. The friendly crowd is a mix of college students and neighborhood regulars.

[Photo: Ted Axelrod/Eater]

Ruski's Restaurant and Pub

This West End classic is known for its large food menu, cheap beer specials, and very...let's say, "straightforward" service. The small bar can fill up fast, especially on weekends during its popular brunch or when the bar is hosting a local band.

[Photo: Ted Axelrod/Eater]

Mathew's

The self-proclaimed "Oldest Pub in Portland," Mathew's is a great place to watch a sports game and enjoy a cheap beer. The servers and bouncers are very friendly, but don't bother trying to order any food, as the cook seems to be permanently "out sick."

[Photo: Courtesy of Ted Axelrod/Eater]

Samuel's Bar And Grill

Samuel's stretches the definition of a "dive bar" with its clean interior, friendly staff, and substantial menu of bar food that's actually good. It bleeds into the "neighborhood bar" genre, where the game is always on and the kids are welcome.

[Photo: Tom Minervino/Eater]

Time Out Pub

This downtown favorite draws weekend crowds with its ample patio seating, trivia nights, and live blues on Mondays.

[Photo: Courtesy of westie2/TripAdvisor]

Railroad Pub

If your bar hosts a regular bike night, it's probably a dive. The Railroad Tavern sits in the shadow of the Worumbo Mill and slings plenty of Allen's, cheap domestic drafts, and bar food (for which the cook does NOT accept any substitutions).

[Photo: Courtesy of Railroad Pub/FB]

Myrtle St. Tavern

This self-described gin mill has a loyal following for its pool tables, karaoke, and "Sombrero" specials (better known in Maine as a "Fat Ass in a Glass," a blend of Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy and milk).

[Photo: Courtesy of Myrtle St. Tavern]

Bowen's Tavern

Just beyond Belfast's quaint downtown area, this bar is known for its down-to-earth crowd, drink specials, DJs, and karaoke. Plus, if you partied too long the night before, you can come back for a full breakfast starting bright and early at 6:30 a.m.

[Photo: Courtesy of Bowen's Tavern]

Dugout Bar & Grill

Pool tables, trivia, a hearty bar menu, and live music on the patio at the Dugout Bar and Grill attract a hearty crew of regulars and college students from nearby University of Maine.

[Photo: Courtesy of TracyTravelsOn/TripAdvisor]

The New Waverly

Bangorians love the New Waverly for its free pool, cheap drinks, and friendly staff. Soak up all that cheap beer with some cheesy garlic breadsticks, then head out to the patio for a night of dancing.

[Photo: Courtesy of The Waverly/FB]

Corner Pub

While the burgeoning food and drink scene of Kittery Foreside is rightfully lauded, it's also nice to slip into a comforting, low key bar like the Corner Pub for some pool and a few cheap pints. A happy customer describes it as a "locals only" bar, so you know it's legit.

[Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps]

Forest Gardens

This bar is easy to miss, as it blends in with neighboring apartments on outer Forest Avenue. But take one look inside at the drop tile ceiling, cracked vinyl bar stools, and dart boards, and you'll feel right at home. Bring cash; no plastic accepted here.

[Photo: Courtesy of Google Maps]