Best of Broward / Palm Beach

Ten Best Dive Bars in Broward County

Sometimes, you just want to go where everyone knows your name; that safe, familiar dive where the drinks are cheap, the lighting is low, and you can always get away with wearing sandals and a T-shirt with stains on it. Because the only thing anyone cares about at a dive bar is shootin' the shit and knocking back the next cold one, you can let the world outside the grime-coated walls melt away.

When you can't be bothered by things like mixology or a button-down shirt, a good dive will always be there to help raise your spirits and make you feel really great about yourself afterward. Thankfully, no matter where you are here in South Florida, there are probably at least five dive bars within a one-mile radius. To make your life easier, we've compiled a list of the top ten dives near Fort Lauderdale.

10. Bimini Bay Bar

There's a reason this place has no windows. If you can't handle the occasional porn playing on the TV or bartenders sporadically taking out their tatas, Bimini Bay Bar's probably not for you. But for fans of this notorious spot in Fort Lauderdale, these are huge selling points. Along with two-buck brews and attentive service, the raunchy antics at Bimini Bay Bar more than make up for the fact that the cash-only watering hole only serves beer, wine, and sake.

9. Play by Play

Play by Play in Pompano Beach has everything you could want in a dive bar, along with some things you didn't know you wanted but will love anyway. A sports fanatic's home away from home, Play by Play offers you all your favorite teams playing at your booth's personal hi-def TV, food served up until close, a stripper pole, every game under the sun, and live music with a punk edge or country twang. It even has its own liquor store attached to the side because nothing goes better with sports and alcohol than more alcohol.

8. Le Tub

Secluded waterfront tables, gigantic burgers, and a no-BS service attitude make Hollywood's Le Tub Saloon worthy of our list. Sure, tourists tend to stop by to check out the GQ- and Oprah-hyped establishment, but better than the burgers are the large wood deck with plenty of picnic benches overlooking the Intracoastal boat traffic and the breezy, open-air bar.

7. Elbo Room

The longest-surviving bar on Fort Lauderdale Beach, this spot has seen it all. Its corner location right across from the beach is perfect for permanent spring breakers both old and young to congregate for cheap beer, live music, wet T-shirt contests, and general debauchery.

6. Kim's Alley Bar

Billed as Broward County's second-oldest bar, this Sunrise dive has been around for over 60 years. The front room has retro-looking bar stools with TVs and a jukebox, while the secret (hush hush) back room is where you can shoot pool, throw darts, and even play Ping-Pong. 

5. PRL Euro Café

If you think of PRL Euro Café and envision all plaid shirts and bearded dudes in glasses, think again. PRL is the beer aficionado's dream come true, featuring several beers with an alcohol content of more than ten percent along with an eclectic, laid-back atmosphere and a younger, busy crowd on the weekends.

4. Blondies

Arcade games, pool tables, a massive bar filled with friendly bartenders, and a virtually all day, every day happy hour make this Fort Lauderdale Beach dive a staple. Sure, it can tend to have that grimy, acrid smell familiar to any formidable dive, but no matter what time of day, this place is always poppin' off, and you can always count on getting shamelessly checked out — and also on checking out mentally.

3. The Downtowner Saloon

This Fort Lauderdale favorite, conveniently located right across the street from a jail, gets rave reviews for its quality, well-priced food and drinks, consistently relaxed atmosphere, and ideal riverfront views. You also have to appreciate the fact that it's a historic building, something not to be taken for granted in our ever-transient home state.

2. The Dive Bar

This one was a no-brainer. Named for the snorkelers and divers who've made this Fort Lauderdale Beach spot their hangout, the Dive Bar has the perfect recipe of pool tables, an enormous bar, and a stage for live music to make it the locals-only dive.

1. Original Fat Cat's

Holding it down in Fort Lauderdale's Himmarshee Village since 2003, Original Fat Cat's tops our list of best dive bars for lots of reasons. The dark, Americana-littered walls as well as an eclectic program of local live music and a formidable selection of cheap beer make it the perfect dive for those seeking a grittier alternative to the suits-and-heels scene on Las Olas. Shoot a game of pool, groove to the live reggae on Wednesday nights, or hang out on the front patio; this place makes for primo people-watching.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland
Falyn Freyman is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Miami. She previously produced videos for Univision and edited music content for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Her work has been featured in Vice, Bustle, Broadly, Time Out, and other publications. She has a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism.
Contact: Falyn Freyman