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.

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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. 

In no particular order (fine—it's alphabetical), here are our picks...

1. Arcade Bar 

A nationally acclaimed dive bar? Yeah, we've got one of those. Thrillest dubbed the East Side's Arcade Bar the best dive bar in Minnesota in its 2019 list of the "33 Best Dive Bars in America". It's a well-deserved honor for a joint with wooden beer-cooler doors, a jukebox and a glowing neon sign pointing you home.

2. 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?

3. 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.”

4. Keenan's

There are quite a few sports bars on Saint Paul's iconic West 7th street, but none quite as divey as Keenan's. The cozy corner joint also touts one of the better dive bar menus in town. 

5. J.R. Mac's

After Keenan's, make your way further down West Seventh to enjoy beers and a bite out on the patio of this neighborhood favorite.

6. 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.

Photo courtesy of Yelp

7. Skarda's

Skarda's has been a West 7th watering hole for decades. Between killer drink specials, a free Taco Tuesday bar and Friday bingo, it should check all of your dive bar boxes. 

8. 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.

9. 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."

Photo courtesy of Yelp

10. 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.

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.

Skinners Pub & Eatery Restaurants/Dining Skinners Pub & Eatery
The Turf Club Restaurants/Dining The Turf Club
Skarda’s Bar Restaurants/Dining Skarda’s Bar
The Spot Bar Restaurants/Dining The Spot Bar
Porky’s Bar Restaurants/Dining Porky’s Bar
Half Time Rec Restaurants/Dining Half Time Rec
Hat Trick Lounge Restaurants/Dining Hat Trick Lounge
Tin Cup’s Restaurants/Dining Tin Cup’s
J.R. Mac’s Restaurants/Dining J.r. Mac’s

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