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Dive Into Saint Paul: The Capital City’s Best Dive Bars

Dive Into Saint Paul: The Capital City’s Best Dive Bars

If you prefer brews and pub grub over pomp and circumstance, these Saint Paul dive bars are for you.

There’s a certain comfort in sidling up to an unassuming neighborhood bar for a cold beer and good conversation—and there’s plenty to be found east of the Mississippi. You might think dive is a derogatory term, but a visit to these favorite Saint Paul watering holes may just change your mind.

Big V’s Saloon

Dubbed “Best Dive Bar” by City Pages in 2014, Big V’s on University has everything a dive junkie could ever want—live music, neon lights, bar games like pool and darts, cheap drinks and a shag carpet on the wall. Cash only, so you know it’s legit.

Gopher Bar

An iconic Saint Paul dive, Gopher Bar has been a downtown staple since 1933. Their famous Coney Island is a must, and not because it’s the only food item on the menu. Gopher Bar doesn’t apologize for its statement-making wall decor, so we advise you go elsewhere if you’re easily offended.

The Gopher Bar

Photo courtesy of Yelp

Half Time Rec

If Half Time Rec is a good enough dive for John Gustafson and Max Goldman in Grumpy Old Men, it’s a good enough dive for you. The Irish bar in Como was named Best Dive by both MSP Mag and City Pages, and has also received best burger honors. Did we mention bocce ball tracks in the basement?

Hat Trick Lounge

Affectionately known by regulars as “The Trick,” Hat Trick Lounge is Lowertown’s old-school watering hole. You’ll hear a variety of genres in their live music room, including jazz, rock, folk, funk and bluegrass. It’s also the only establishment to claim the “best people watching Saint Paul has to offer.”

Kelly’s Depot

You don’t go to a dive bar for the food, but it just so happens Kelly’s Depot serves up one of the best burgers in town. One of Saint Paul’s many Irish bars, the Depot is a favorite for those looking for a cold pint and a no-frills good time.

Porky’s Bar

Porky’s on Payne is the type of dive that honors its regulars with nameplates at the bar. Cheap drinks, pull tabs and friendly service are always on tap at Porky’s.

Porky's Bar

Photo courtesy of Yelp

Skinner’s

The folks down at Skinner’s know well that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, as this unassuming dive tends to surprise patrons with some of the tastiest food in town. Try the award-winning pizza, french dip, burgers or “tachos.” And, of course, throw down $20 at the pull tab booth and rip them open on the patio.

Spot Bar

With 132 years of service and the title of longest continuously running bar in the state, The Spot is the granddaddy of all Minnesota dives. The West 7th neighborhood hole-in-the-wall has been charming locals since 1885 and touts its weekly meat raffle as the “best in the Wild West End."

Spot Bar

Photo courtesy of Yelp

Tin Cup

Resurrected from the bones of the original Tin Cup’s, the new owners of the iconic Rice Street dive dropped the “‘s” from the name and added some windows when they reopened the bar in 2010. While the polka music doesn’t play like it used to, their juicy lucy is still one of the best around.

Turf Club

If you wanted to country two-step in the 1940s, you went to the Turf Club on University. Though the live music haven has morphed over the various decades, the divey joint has managed to keep pretension out and good times in.

Turf Club

Photo courtesy of Yelp

What’s your go-to dive spot in Saint Paul for a round or two with friends? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL