Charlotte Dive Bar Guide

Dive Bars Among Relentless Progress

With huge population growth comes an inevitable toll on a city’s dive bar community, Charlotte serving as a prime example given the relentless influx of residents to the area. Nestled among the fresh apartment complexes and converted condos, a few hardy Charlotte dive bars can still be found, some of them literally dodging the world developing around them.

Visibly, The Thirsty Beaver Saloon is probably the city’s best example of its growth, an entire apartment complex built quite literally encircling the small plt of land still occupied by the dive bar. When the owner decided not to sell, plans moved on without them, around them and towering above them, the dive bar still intact like a divey one-room schoolhouse. Fellow threatened dive bar, Tommy’s Pub, relocated after its land was sold in 2015, reopening after a hiatus in 2017, bringing every faded decoration and regular with them.

Originals do exist without the imminent threat of relocation, of course, like Smokey Joe’s Café, a dive bar that looks a bit like an Old West general store mixed with the interior contents of a trunk found on a pirate ship. The result is one of the densest collections of dive bar decorations in the city, every inch covered in some kind of framed photo or beer sign. And of course every city has a local karaoke institution, in this case Jeff’s Bucket Shop, a subterranean dive bar with a neon sign with the name of the bar and a traced hand pointing downward.

Growth can sometimes make hunting down a dive bar more difficult in cities where neighborhoods transform on a regular basis, but in Charlotte those gems do still exist, even if they sit quite literally in the shadow of the progress on their doorstep.

Charlotte Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Thirsty Beaver Saloon

No need for metaphors, the Thirsty Beaver sits in the literal shadow of encroaching development.
Review Rating: 9 of 10

Charlotte Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Commonwealth Park

Tommy's Pub

3124 Eastway Dr Suite 710
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Elizabeth

Smokey Joe's Café

510 Briar Creek Rd
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Montford

Jeff's Bucket Shop

1601 Montford Dr
Charlotte, NC 28209
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Plaza Midwood

Snug Harbor

1228 Gordon St
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Sheffield Park

Surf Inn

3549 N Sharon Amity Rd
Charlotte, NC 28205
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South End

Small Bar Southend

2135 S Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28203
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Other Dive Bar Options

Hattie's Tap & Tavern

2918 The Plaza
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Johnny Dollars

3920 S Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28217
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Midwood Country Club

2123 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Moosehead Grill

1807 Montford Dr
Charlotte, NC 28209
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Noda 101

3205 N Davidson St #101
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Saeed's Bar & Grill

20832 Catawba Ave
Cornelius, NC 28031
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Sanctuary Pub

507 E 36th St
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Skylark Social Club

2131 Central Ave
Charlotte, NC 28205
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Small Bar

1000 North Carolina Music Factory Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28206
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Steamer's Sports Pub

1513 Pierson Dr
Charlotte, NC 28205
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The Blind Pig

453 E 36th St
Charlotte, NC 28205
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The Brickyard

1411-A S Tyron St
Charlotte, NC 28203
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Westside Tavern

3323 Avalon Ave
Charlotte, NC 28208
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What Did We Miss?

5 + 15 =

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