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Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

The dive bar is known for many things, food not being one of them. But there are exceptions to any rule, and for these South Florida dive establishments, the menus are just as good as the cheap beer, colorful crowd, and karaoke.

But at places like Swamp Grass Willie's in Palm Beach Gardens, you can get wings voted among the best in the area, while the after-hours bar Blue Boar Tavern in West Palm Beach serves a grilled cheese that has become legendary for the in-the-biz crowd. And the Whale's Rib in Deerfield Beach makes one of the best blackened dolphin sandwiches in South Florida. Who knew?

Here, our top picks for dive bars that serve up a good dish or two.

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

10. The Lion and the Eagle Pub

Though any old-world-style pub around can bill itself as the "real deal," few places in South Florida actually deliver the sights, sounds, and taste of the actual thing. The Lion and Eagle English Pub, however, does it all. Forget that it's hidden from the masses in one of Boca Raton's many strip malls along Federal Highway. Stop by any day of the week and you'll also be sure to find Simon Allen -- even his entire family, including brothers Jeremy and Rob -- behind the bar. Here, they aren't only the owners but routinely the bartenders as well, hailing from Cannock, England. Simon stresses that the Lion and Eagle is all about being the neighborhood-friendly pub -- equal parts good food, beer, and of course football. And the food? The brothers have put together their own "best of" -- the sort of stuff they'd want to see on a pub menu. The most popular dish is the basket of chips, made using fresh-cut potatoes, as well as the fish and chips. For that authentic British recipe and taste, it's all about the fish and the batter, and they only use cod to honor the family recipe. For a true taste of England, try the Scotch eggs, the brothers' personal favorite. They are unbelievable (hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs, and deep-fried, served hot or cold). You can do breakfast all day, which is really good -- especially if we're opening early for one of the football games.

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

9. Swamp Grass Willy's

Not your average dive, this Palm Beach Gardens establishment has a good assortment of all the most important things: music, beer, and food. The place is great for live music -- there's even a recording studio for local acts. But there are more than 75 bottled beers to choose from, so you can also get your drink and grub on while choosing from a menu of munchies, wraps, and burgers. If you like your local live music with food, this is the place to go. You can get everything from wings (voted among the best in West Palm Beach by the Palm Beach Post), tenders, nachos, fries, and chili to a gourmet-style habanero blackened chicken wrap or smokehouse burger with a spicy house-made chipotle barbecue sauce. And it's all served until the wee hours, when the kitchen closes at 3 a.m.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

8. The Downtowner Saloon

This Fort Lauderdale favorite located across the street from a jail is known by locals for its well-priced food, quality drinks, and riverfront views (the side that doesn't face the jail, that is). From ahi tuna wontons and crab cakes to Caribbean jerk shrimp and a complete raw bar, it's certainly not your average pub grub -- although it offers wings and burgers too.

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

7. The Brass Ring Pub

This North Palm Beach and Royal Palm Beach favorite offers one of the best burgers around -- even if the crowd and atmosphere isn't as pretty. Made with half a pound of grilled beef purchased from a local butcher, the Brass Ring Pub's hand-shaped burgers are cooked to order in sight, and the use of lava rocks adds a smoky flavor. But this isn't a gourmet burger joint, so the choices are somewhat limited. Stick with the classic, or upgrade to include mushrooms, bacon, and/or cheese. Or try our favorite, the spicy burger topped with blue cheese.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

6. The Sands Harbor Patio Bar

Despite its Old Florida charm -- complete with worn nautical ropes for décor and a chipping Miami Dolphin's teal paint job -- the fresh seafood at this Pompano Beach hideaway waterfront marina bar off the Intracoastal is topnotch. The kitchen at nearby Joe's Riverside Grille actually produces the menu that serves up the perfect setting to snag fresh fish sandwiches, stone crab, raw bar items -- even burgers -- right alongside a frozen drink or two. Just remember to wait before taking a dip in the heated pool near the docks.

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

5. Green Fish Waterfront Bar & Grill

Closed for a short time but now open again, the Green Fish Bar & Grill is a cozy little bar and restaurant with good views, good beer, and good food. With a waterfront Intracoastal setting in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, don't think of it as just another dive with a nice view. When it comes to food, this is yet another place that serves some darned good bar food, with a focus on fresh seafood. The menu has a definite Floribbean flare, everything from Key West-style fried fish fillets, conch fritters, and shrimp to desserts like in-house Key Lime pie and Jamaican white rum-infused marble rum cake. We'd suggest their "world famous" fish sandwich or 100 percent Angus burger, both served with a mini cornbread muffin, a welcome break from traditional sides. You can dine inside at the cozy, nautical-themed bar or outside under the green tarp-covered patio for a good view.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

4. Blue Boar Tavern

If you've ever been to the Blue Boar Tavern in West Palm Beach, then you probably already know it's the very definition of "hole in the wall," the type of place where you're guaranteed to walk out smelling like smoke -- the funk of nearly 24 straight hours' worth of patrons permeating the place. And you know it's got some pretty awesome, greasy bar food too. Overall, it may sound like the last place you want to spend your night out -- but it's all these reasons (and more) that keep a lot of people coming back for more. Blue Boar purveys homemade chicken noodle soup, beef quesadillas, char-grilled cheeseburgers, fries, and a full lineup of classic greasy bar bites until 4:30 every morning. And in the deepest hours before dawn, there's a whole lot of comfort to be had from a gooey grilled cheese and a shot of Jack. Try AJ's Super Grilled Cheese. It has three kinds of cheese (mozzarella, American, and cheddar), bacon, tomato, and sautéed onions.

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

3. Le Tub Saloon

Safely nestled on a quiet strip off A1A right on the water behind a dense veil of lush greenery, LeTub Saloon has been a favorite of the people of Hollywood for years. You can get there by car or boat -- pull up on the Intracoastal Waterway if you're on the water -- and prepare to feast -- on a 13-ounce burger, that is. Way back in 2006, before anyone was judging a "best" burger, Le Tub was dubbed the "Best Burger in America" by GQ and was hailed by burger aficionado Oprah Winfrey. The ground top sirloin hunk of meat is near obscene, though the toppings are underwhelming, as is the service. But with tropical oasis pirate hideaway charm and quirky picnic-style dining space on the water, there's plenty more to love.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

2. Nippers Bar & Grill

When you're pounding down cold beer and celebration shots, we all know the best way to avoid getting slugged too early is to prime your gut with plenty of greasy food. And at Nippers in Boca Raton, that's easy. The grill menu is open for orders until 3:30 a.m. and offers some pretty good food, including hot and cold subs, salads, the standard burger and fries, pizza, and more. The wings are especially good and served mild, medium, hot, and -- if you dare -- doused in the house "volcanic" sauce. There's also a platter of miniburgers served six or 13 at a time. The specialty pizzas include chicken parmesan and Hawaiian. And how many dive bars do you know that serve churrasco? Our favorite: the bar's own take on the dolphin sandwich, here served as a caesar salad-stuffed wrap.

Best Dive Bar Food in South Florida

1. The Whale's Rib

If it's been featured on the Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

, you know it's good. And that's especially true of the Whale's Rib in Deerfield Beach, the homey seafood shack known for its ultrafresh seafood and cold brews. The weathered, aging bar, however, isn't so fresh. Always packed, it's the kind of place where oysters are shucked right in front of you and the view of vintage signs and framed photos of fishermen make you feel all the more like a local. The fish sandwich -- including a consistent favorite the Key West dolphin served blackened or fried on a whole wheat bun -- is some of the best you'll find in Broward or Palm Beach County.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com




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