Dive Bars in London
It's all very well sipping on perfectly crafted cocktails and fine wines, but such a lifestyle sure can get exhausting. Sometimes, it's time to let your hair down and soak up the darkly atmospheric world of the best dive bars in London, bopping along to a soundtrack of the classics. We've stockpiled a list of our favourite dive bars in London, each with their own individual quirks and charms and all serving a delightful selection of hard liquor and classic cocktails. Read our reviews of our recommended dive bars in London and book online.
Last updated on 15th February 2018
With plush leather sofas, low tables, affordable drinks and live music sets every night until the early hours, this is a great local haunt for your partying urges any day of the week. Don't wait until the weekend to get down and dirty on the dance floor, have a catch up in the intimate sofa seats before you go wild for them beats.
Hiding beneath London's famous Portobello Road lies one of our favourite dive bars in West London. Trailer Happiness offers a quirky, off-beat atmosphere, buzzing with youthful Londoners looking to party on through into the night, and serving up some of the best cocktails around - be sure to try the particularly potent cocktail volcano.
From plenty of East London beer through to regular live music nights, The Victoria is a dive bar in Dalston. Now owned by the Jaguar Shoes Collective, the spot is a little more polished than before, but that doesn't mean there's not a great party atmosphere or cracking line-up of local bands.
Camden Assembly is famous on the live music circuit, from its previous incarnation as the notorious Barfly through to now. Downstairs, the vibes are more chilled with Lucky Chip running the kitchen; looking for madness? The upstairs club room is intimate, fun and regularly hosts big names.
The fun lovin' and young at heart adore this dive bar in London Bridge. Presenting itself as a playground for grown-ups, this is the spot for big kids to let their hair down after work, as they sip on sumptuous cocktails and dance to some classic disco tunes. Retreat from the boring responsibilities of the adult world and surround yourself with all sorts of playful madness.
Serving up an impressive selection of premium whiskies and bourbons alongside a hearty selection of American beers and a ton of cocktails, you run absolutely no risk of leaving this North London dive bar feeling parched. Great for late night drinking and dancing to a killer soundtrack of rock and roll hits from across the ages, there should be little doubt as to why Aces & Eights Saloon Bar is on our list of the best dive bars in London.
This small, stripped back basement bar packs one hell of a party punch. Small but perfectly formed, what this Stoke Newington gem lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in fun time rowdiness. Drinks are spectacularly cheap at this East London dive bar, and DJs from across the UK regularly play an eclectic mix of tunes: expect everything from disco boogie madness and psychedelic gems to primitive grooves from the dawn of rock and roll.
Put another dime in the jukebox baby, you're heading to Slim Jim's. Playing a stellar soundtrack of rock n' roll hits from the 50's and 60's, and handing out free drinks in exchange for a bra, this is one of the coolest dive bars in London.
Open late throughout the week, this underground East London dive bar attracts a cool crowd of trendy Dalston revelers who are ready to get raucous. Drinks are reasonably priced and the soundtrack is always good fun, making The Alibi an ideal spot for any occasion - especially the impromptu midweek smash up. Always popular amongst those looking to get rowdy, The Alibi easily makes it onto our list of the recommended dive bars in London.
A stones throw from Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction, Birthdays is a two storey DJ bar and live music venue at the heart of the oh-so-fashionable Dalston. The basement dive bar is a highly acclaimed live music venue that regularly hosts big name acts, whilst the upstairs offers a stylish hangout area for mingling over a few too many.
Maintaining an almost consecrated status amongst late night London party-goers, The Dolphin is more than just an East London dive bar. Boasting extended opening hours, a super-sized dance floor, cheap drinks and an amazing soundtrack of the best in cheesy pop, old school hip hop, Motown and indie, you'll be hard pressed to find an all rounder like this one. Don't miss out on one of the best dive bars in East London.
Another of our favourite dive bars in North London, this one can be found within the ever so leafy area of Crouch End. The interior is low lit and understated, boasting an eclectic mix of furniture including retro armchairs, Buddha busts and a mosaiced bar, whilst the chatty bar staff serve up a selection of classic cocktails with a smile.
Tucked nicely beneath the Golden Grill in Hoxton, The Liquor Cabinet is an intimate and darkly atmospheric drinking den and one of our favourite dive bars in London. Service is tip-top and all sorts of quirky drinks are served throughout the week (we're talking bottled cocktails!); with late opening hours and a young and trendy clientele, there should be no question as to why The Liquor Cabinet is such a popular London dive bar.
An authentic snooker club that is rid of any pretence whatsoever, Efes Snooker Club is the right kind of trashy. Let your inhibitions go in this non-pretentious place, which is more like a house party than anything else. With a nonchalant atmosphere and late licence, the place doesn't get busy until late, but even if you show up early, you can enjoy their very generous happy hours between 5pm and 7pm. A trendy student vibe, it's a great place to go if you just want to let your hair down.
A favourite among South London's late night pleasure seekers, things get super crazy at Dogstar over the weekend. It comes into its own as the evening sets in, with a fun and friendly crowd partying late into the night, stopping by the bar for a cheeky alcoholic recharge. Don't miss out.