What defines a dive bar is open to interpretation. But a few things about the notable ones seem to be sacrosanct: cheap beer, strong drinks (don't call them cocktails), a jukebox with plenty of Southern rock and no pop-collared tourists or bearded hipsters (although you might find a few of the latter). As an old port town, Portland has a number of watering holes that fit the bill. Whether you're nursing a broken heart, hiding out, meeting someone you probably shouldn't, or just doing some serious drinking — one of the iconic dives we've mapped out has a stool with your name on it. Did we miss your favorite? Share your secret hideaway in the comments or tell us via the tipline.Read More
Mapping Eight Of Portland's Most Iconic Dive Bars
View as Map
Old Port - Fans love the jukebox, the (occasionally free) jello shots and the un-apologetically un-hip vibe. Oh, and dogs are allowed, too.
Arts District - Despite the dartboard, "Portland's Oldest Pub" is not a pub in the English-countryside sense. As one Yelper wrote: "If you shop at Whole Foods you don't drink at Mathew's."
Bubba's Sulky Lounge
West Bayside - Bubba's is a 80's-ish dance club by night; its dive status comes from the much smaller daytime crowd, who nurse their drinks surrounded by all manner of tchotchkes and stuffed animals.
West End - Ruski's serves what many say is one of the city's best breakfasts all day, plus notable burgers. It's small, making seats tough to get on weekends.
J's Oyster Bar
Old Port - J's is elevated slightly above dive status by the pile of oysters in the center of the horseshoe bar. But especially in the absence of summer tourists, this iconic waterfront watering hole is in a class by itself.
Commercial Street Pub
Old Port - Where the evening ends for many-a Portland partier; shot machines dispensing Jagermeister and other fine spirits help fuel a rowdy crowd that often spills out onto the sidewalk.
West Bayside - Started by an Italian submariner named Ricci, according to The Portland Daily Sun, Rockin' Ricky's dates from the end of WWII. Serious drinkers only need pass through its door.
Spring Point Tavern
South Portland - Every college needs its own dive right next door, and for SMCC, Spring Point is it. A large outdoor patio provides ample space for smokers.
© 2023 Vox Media, Inc. All rights reserved.