Playboy Magazine had a very fitting description of a dive bar in 2011: “A church for down-and-outers and those who romanticize them, a rare place where high and low rub elbows — bums and poets, thieves and slumming celebrities. It’s a place that wears its history proudly.”
Here’s a selection of great dive bars throughout Europe:
1) Bar Rytmi, Helsinki (by Nea Barman)
Pictured above is Bar Rytmi in Helsinki. Where according to local Nea: “[...] very different kind of people, from young to older, seem to sit in harmony and enjoy their time.” and “[...] the performers are one of the tops performers in Finnish music scene today.”
2) Café Pollux, Amsterdam (by Martin Sollmann)
When you enter Café Pollux on its red carpet you’ll enter to see a: “[...] mix of bar-flies, tourists and night clubbers, depending on the time of the day. [...] the charisma of Cafe Pollux: It is one of those bars that get crowded late when the other bars close, and the night is still open for anything to happen.”
3) Krivi Put, Zagreb (by Krunoslav Koprivnjak)
Krivi Put is not fancy, nor does it have comfortable seating apparently. But it’s not about the interior but, according to Krunoslav, it’s about the fact that “the drinks are cheap, the music good and loud and the crowd is filled with positive energy.”
4) Briki, Athens (by Petros Sideris)
Local Petros sums it all up, Briki is: “[...] a meeting place, a hangout for such a varied clientele, of all different backgrounds existing. Also regarded as an “after-work steki”. Lawyers with formal ties and cuff-links mingle with casual students, snobbish shoppers, ideologist activists and dazed tourists.”
5) Klub Úzjed, Prague (by Tomáš Jungwirth)
Klub Úzjed has been a long standing night life classic with varied clientèle. Tomáš: “Thanks to its very late closing-hours, Klub Újezd is a very common place for late-evening or early-morning chill-outs. Add very reasonable prices and you’ve got a place you have to visit!”
6) Bar Pastis, Barcelona (by Bill Sinclair)
There’s history in abundance in this place, says local Bill Sinclair: “This petit bar, modelled on a typical bar in pre-war Marseille, opened in 1947 and has hardly changed since. It’s a cosy little, arty bar, about the size of a small living room, decked with paintings, sketches and prints layered with nicotine, offering chatter, laughter, Edith Piaf and French accordion music.”
7) Pótkulcs, Budapest (by Kálmán Faragó)
Budapest local Kálmán about Pótkulcs: “[...] popular with the bohemian crowd, full of laid-back vibes, but rather crowded sometimes.”
8) Madame Claude, Berlin (by Herrmann Königs)
With its unique interior, cheap drinks and foosball tables, Madame Claude is a great locale for young and old, rich and poor!
9) Frank Ryan’s, Dublin (by Damian Byrne)
“Part traditional Dublin pub, part New York dive bar, the place is festooned with old posters, photos, music memorabilia and assorted tat, ranging from the fascinating to the downright bizarre.” is one of the many compliments local Damian pays a favorite of his, Frank Ryan’s.
10) E Varza, Bucharest (by Raluca Gavris)
Local Raluca: “E Varza is not easy to find unless you have a friend who is a regular customer of the place. [...] One big advantage of the place is the great selection of the old rock music being played here.”
This selection of dive bars in Europe might end here, but fear not! There are many more to be enjoyed and experienced in nearly every city in Europe. Click on over to our other city blogs to find the others in the city of your choice!