dive bar toronto

The top 10 dive bars in Toronto

The top dive bars in Toronto are fun, unfussy, and definitely not fancy. Sometimes, you just need to put on an old pair of jeans, meet up with some friends, and head to your favourite no frills watering hole for a drink that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Here are my picks for the top dive bars in Toronto.

Swan Dive
This Dundas West dive bar has games, books and a pool table, plus fun events like movie nights. In addition to cocktails, they serve pints (starting at $7.25), tallboys (starting at $6), and for the penny-pinching patron, they offer small cans of PBR for $4.

Wide Open
This hole-in-the-wall at Spadina and Richmond offers some of the best drink specials in the city. Though the space is narrow and tends to get full quickly, you can't beat the $2.75 drinks on Thursdays (between 5 and 8 p.m.) and $5 Jim Beam shots (all the time).

Thirsty and Miserable
This cash-only Kensington Market bar has a great selection of beer. Though the space is small and it can be difficult to get a table, it's cheap and the servers are well-known for their friendliness. Go for the beer; stay for the conversation.

Bovine Sex Club
This historic dive, famous for its rock roots and scrap metal sign, has been around for a quarter century and sports a tiki-themed rooftop patio. The Bovine often hosts great live music for ridiculously reasonable cover prices ($5-10).

Baby Huey
This Ossington bar is on the fancier side of dive with interesting decor and DJ beats. They also let you order in fast food so you don't have to leave your Corona to get some KFC.

Ronnie's Local
Ronnie's Local is one of the essential Kensington market watering holes. Though the inside is small, dark, and not always the cleanest, the front patio is hot in demand during the warm weather, so be sure to get there early.

Linsmore Tavern
This no-frills Danforth pub has been around for more than 80 years and has darts, a pool table, big screen TVs and live music. With a traditional tavern vibe and minimalist beer menu, the Linsmore is just the right amount of seedy.

Lipstick & Dynamite
Lipstick & Dynamite serves up books, games and vegetarian/vegan food, including brunch. Located on West Queen West, this unpretentious bar has a great beer menu (pints and tall cans are $6.50) but don't expect an appletini - they have a strict no martini policy.

Sneaky Dee's
This Toronto-famous institution is known for its cheap food, cheaper drinks, and crowd-sourced graffiti on the walls. Some of Canada's best indie bands have at one point or another graced the stage at the upstairs music venue.

Green Room
This classic student bar in the Annex draws regulars for its affordable food and drink menu. The small patio is the perfect place for $3 bar rail when you don't feel like studying.

What did I miss? Add your favourite Toronto dive bar to the comments.


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