Cleveland Dive Bar Guide

The Best Kind of Midwest

The best dive bars are products of deep roots, buildings with decades of history baked into every wall and every never-replaced floorboard. Cleveland provides fertile ground with its own rich past, a city of vintage residential neighborhoods perfect for neighborhood bars as old as the city itself. A dive like Hotz Café in Cleveland’s Lincoln Park neighborhood serves as maybe the best example, opened in 1919 and home to original stools that have held both Babe Ruth and FDR. It’s that kind of town.

And Cleveland’s footprint sprawls, an interconnected but wildly disparate fabric of towns and cities that engulf northeast Ohio. The kind of diversity that comes with that amount of square footage creates dive bars of all shapes and sizes, from urban back rooms like Johnny’s Little Bar to cinder block karaoke shoeboxes like Tina’s Nite Club.

Throughout these reviews, the word “Midwestern” is used in only a positive light, a term that encompasses the ingredients of a great dive bar, from decades of working-class regulars to a relentlessly unassuming and unpretentious attitude that makes every dive on this list a welcoming environment. A dive bar like Parkview Nite Club embodies everything Midwestern about the dive scene in Cleveland, a one-stop shop that feels like some kind of food hall, dive bar, neighborhood meeting place combination.

Cleveland is an amazing city and its dive bar scene is rich in the longevity and uniqueness that makes for a dive bar worth visiting. The recommendations here only scratch the surface of a very deep roster of potential destinations, all built on top of the unassuming and Midwestern-in-a-great-way nature of the city that surrounds them.

Cleveland Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Harbor Inn

The Cleveland king, like some kind of slow floating dive bar barge on the Cuyahoga River.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Now That's Class

Cleveland’s dive bar Voltron, a mix of everything great about dives from a stripper pole to a skate park.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Parkview Nite Club

The classic Midwestern tavern, part gathering spot, part restaurant, part dive bar.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Hotz Cafe

Opened in 1919 and past drinking home to Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and FDR. Yes, FDR.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Dickey's Lanes

The combination of Midwestern bowling alley and dive bar is all you need to know.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Jerman's Cafe

Cleveland’s 1908 probably oldest dive bar in the city…and it served as a Prohibition speakeasy.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Prosperity Social Club

Don’t let the brunch menu fool you, there’s a dive bar underneath the biscuits & gravy.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

ABC The Tavern

The perfect counterpoint to the bar’s sometimes trendy Ohio City neighbors.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

B And G Tavern

Classic and largely unchanged pool hall with maybe the best dive bar sign in Cleveland.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Tina's Nite Club

If you’ve ever wanted to sing karaoke in a cinder block shoebox, Tina’s is your chance.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Major Hooples

Mainstay of a gentle slope into the Cuyahoga River with bridge views and an epic back patio.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Johnny's Little Bar

Forgive the fancy restaurant attachment, focus on the alley entrance and dive bar vibe.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Becky's

A dive bar combination of the city of Cleveland, alcohol and the college experience.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Mcnamara's Pub

As “neighborhood dive bar” as a bar can get, an east Columbus, brick & wood beam classic.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Edison's Pub

The steady local pub among a trendy piece of Cleveland’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Lincoln Park Pub

The do everything, be everything neighborhood pub that fits snugly with the area around it.
Review Rating: 6 of 10

Cleveland Neighborhood Crawls

Detroit Shoreway

Bier Stube - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior
Classic Cleveland near-urban history.

Lincoln Park

Beck Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Interior
Babe Ruth drank here.

Ohio City

Mickey's Dive Bar Columbus
Diamonds among the trendy.

Cleveland 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.

Asiatown

Payne Café

3528 Payne Ave
Cleveland, OH 44114
Google Map

Brooklyn Centre

Gino's Cento Anno

1314 Denison Ave
Cleveland, OH 44109
Google Map

Brooklyn Centre

Ugly Broad Tavern

3908 Denison Ave
Cleveland, OH 44109
Google Map

Buckeye Shaker

Academy Tavern

12800 Larchmere Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44120
Google Map

Collinwood

SS&W Boardwalk

16011 Waterloo Rd
Cleveland, OH 44110
Google Map

Edgewater

Funhouse

1539 W 117th St
Cleveland, OH 44107
Google Map

Edgewater

Judd's City Tavern

10323 Madison Ave
Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map

Little Italy

Lounge Leo

2161 Murray Hill Rd
Cleveland, OH 44106
Google Map

Stockyards

Sachsenheim Hall

7001 Denison Ave
Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map

Tremont

Clark Bar

1201 Clark Ave
Cleveland, OH 44109
Google Map

Tremont

Porco Lounge

2527 W 25th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Google Map

Westlake

Dover Gardens

27402 Detroit Rd
Westlake, OH 44145
Google Map

Other Dive Bar Options

Reader Submitted

Five O'Clock Lounge

11904 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
Google Map

Billy's Old Front Bar

36229 Lakeshore Blvd
Eastlake, OH 44095
Google Map

Corky's Place

13302 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
Google Map

Croatian Tavern

3244 St Clair Ave NE
Cleveland, OH 44114
Google Map

Flying Monkey

819 Jefferson Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Google Map

Greenville Inn

7150 Pine St
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022
Google Map

Inn Between

8684 Ridge Rd
North Royalton, OH 44133
Google Map

Jukebox

1404 W 29th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Google Map

Kelley's Pub

13525 Lakewood Heights Blvd
Lakewood, OH 44107
Google Map

Lakewood Village Tavern

13437 Madison Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
Google Map

Map Room

1281 W 9th St
Cleveland, OH 44113
Google Map

Mars Bar

15314 Madison Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
Google Map

McCarthy's

1231 Main Ave
Cleveland, OH 44113
Google Map

Normandy Tavern

13999 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH 44111
Google Map

Old Brooklyn Social Club

2301 Broadview Rd
Cleveland, OH 44109
Google Map

Red Circle Bar & Lanes

6056 State Rd
Parma, OH 44134
Google Map

Rowley Inn

1104 Rowley Ave
Cleveland, OH 44109
Google Map

Seven Hills Tavern

7265 Broadview Rd
Seven Hills, OH 44131
Google Map

Smedley's

17004 Lorain Ave
Cleveland, OH 44111
Google Map

The Hawk

11217 Detroit Ave
Cleveland, OH 44102
Google Map

The Highlander

795 Bishop Rd
Cleveland, OH 44143
Google Map

The Social Room

2261 Lee Rd
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Google Map

Tucker's Casino

15532 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44112
Google Map

Union Club Tavern

2549 St Clair Ave NE
Cleveland, OH 44114
Google Map

VSP Lounge

3551 E 93rd St
Cleveland, OH 44105
Google Map

Winchester

12112 Madison Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
Google Map

VIP Inn

4107 Rocky River Dr
Cleveland, OH 44135
Google Map

Valley Tavern

5907 Canal Rd
Valley View, OH 44125
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

4 + 7 =

Browse All City-By-City Listings

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This