6 December, 2019, 15:33

Guide to 15 iconic Tucson neighborhood & dive bars

No frills needed.

When the thought of shouting your drink order over the crowds at some of the more popular night spots in Tucson makes you want to stay home, it’s time to seek out a classic dive bar.

They’re usually unpretentious, with a locals-only vibe, and often have great pool. The beer also tends to be cheap and plentiful—which is never a bad thing.

Luckily for those who appreciate a good hole-in-the-wall establishment, Tucson is full of quality dive bars.

The Bambi Bar

5050 E. Speedway Blvd.

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the bambi | tucson, az

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According to some, the Bambi Bar is haunted. Back in 1986, a patron supposedly died while talking in the phone booth. You can listen for ghosts and enjoy the company of the friendly regulars from 6 a.m. – 2 a.m. every day.

Keep up with the Bambi Bar on Facebook.

The Bashful Bandit

3686 E. Speedway Blvd.

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#bashfullbandit #tuscon #arizona

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A biker bar as well as a dive bar, the Bashful Bandit is a local favorite. With live heavy metal music and drink specials, it’s a unique and fun place to spend an evening.

Keep up with the Bashful Bandit on Facebook.

Bay Horse Tavern

2802 E. Grant Rd.

One of Tucson’s hidden gems, the Bay Horse Tavern has been open since 1948. From darts and shuffleboard to a giant wooden chair perfect for pictures, there’s something for everyone. Don’t forget to select your favorite song on the jukebox.

Keep up with Bay Horse Tavern on Facebook

Bob Dobb’s

2501 E. Sixth St.

Bob Dobb’s was renovated a few years back. While the many messages written on the walls have been painted over, this bar has not lost an ounce of its charm. Make sure to get a sandwich with your beer; they make some of the best.

For more information, visit bobdobbs-tucson.com.

The Buffet Bar & Crockpot

538 E. Ninth St.
buffet bar and crock pot

Photo courtesy of The Buffet Bar and Crockpot

The Buffet has been open since 1934, and its tucked-away spot off Fourth Avenue makes it a perfect place to escape the nighttime bar scene. The best part of the Buff? Happy Minute, when you get another of the drink you last ordered for only $1.

Cheers to that (and to their 85th anniversary celebrated this year).

Keep up with the Buffet on Facebook.

Danny’s Baboquivari Lounge

2910 E. Fort Lowell Rd.

Danny’s has it all — great beer and cocktails, live music, and best of all, classic arcade games. Try your hand at some pinball and check out the rotating food trucks.

Keep up with Danny’s Baboquivari Lounge on Facebook

Louie’s Pub

 746 E. Fort Lowell Rd.
Scorpion bowls at Louie's Pub

Scorpion bowls at Louie’s Pub (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Louie’s Pub is one of the classic dive bars in Tucson. Home to their unique spin on the Scorpion cocktail, you can also enjoy showing off during karaoke.

Keep up with Louie’s Pub on Facebook.

The Meet Rack

210 W. Drachman St.

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God is nuts from 2009

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Many an article has been written about this iconic, and infamous, bar. Run by a man named God and offering discounts to anyone willing to get branded, the Meet Rack is a can’t-miss venue. You also can’t miss the cheeseburgers—they’re delicious.

Keep up with the Meet Rack on Facebook.

The Mint

3540 E. Grant Rd.
Photo courtesy of The Mint Bar on Facebook

{Photo courtesy of The Mint Bar on Facebook)

The Mint is a hidden gem worth visiting. Open since 1934; they offer free ping pong and feature comedy nights.

Keep up with the Mint on Facebook.

The Red Garter Bar & Grill

3143 E. Speedway Blvd.

There’s no better place to play pool than the Red Garter Bar & Grill. They also have darts, a jukebox, and a monthly bike night. The food is excellent, so come hungry.

For more information, visit redgartertucson.com.

Saint Charles Tavern

1632 S. Fourth Ave.
Bar at Saint Charles Tavern (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Bar at Saint Charles Tavern (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Saint Charles Tavern is the quintessential neighborhood bar. They offer a great selection of beer, pool tables, and a jukebox. Their live music lineup is always updating, so keep your eye out for great local bands.

Read our December 2018 article Saint Charles Tavern Sits in South Tucson’s Sweet Spot.

Keep up with Saint Charles Tavern on Facebook.

Silver Room

673 S. Plumer Ave.

Cheap beer, friendly regulars, and $1 pool makes the Silver Room a great place to spend a low-key night out. It’s a Tucson classic at its best.

Keep up with Silver Room on Facebook.

The Shelter Cocktail Lounge

4155 E. Grant Rd.

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Oldie I took

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The Shelter is a fun and funky bar with a 60s vibe, serving great martinis and some great movies. Keep your eye out for the bright neon sign and check out the Cold War memorabilia that decorate the place.

Read our March 2019 article 31 Places to Swipe Right for a First Date.

Keep up with the Shelter Cocktail Lounge on Facebook.

Wooden Nickel

1908 S. Country Club Rd.

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home away from home with the pops

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Open since 1947, the Wooden Nickel serves an extensive menu and a wide variety of drinks. With nightly specials, it’s worth the quick trip.

For more information, visit woodennickeltucson.com.

The World Famous Golden Nugget

2617 N. First Ave.

This bar has shuffleboard, pool, and karaoke nights. Meet the friendly bartenders and join the pool league, if you’re feeling competitive.

For more information, visit goldennuggettucsonbar.com.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Check these out:

[This article was originally written on September 6, 2018, and was most recently updated on November 26, 2019.]

Samantha Colaianni has family roots in Tucson that go back before the Gadsden Purchase. When she's not cooking Mexican food, she's baking Mexican pastries.

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