Dive Bars in Bethesda

Select Local Merchants

Red Derby’s modestly priced beer list includes both macro and craft brews—Heineken, Moo Thunder, Black Tokyo—and all of them are served in cans. When the weather is nice at this cash-only spot, the mostly younger crowd congregates on a patio strung with twinkle lights and shaded by colorful umbrellas.

3718 14th St NW
Washington,
DC
US

It takes more than good burgers and beer to keep a pub open for almost half a century. In addition to its quality eats and drinks, Sign of the Whale can attribute its longevity to its regular parties and constantly updated technology. The 18th Street landmark boasts an extensive menu executed by Head Chef Donny Frazier and anchored by its famed burgers, charbroiled patties topped with everything from fried eggs to tater tots. Bartenders wash down the hearty meals with craft beers that flow from taps at three different bars, including a private loft bar.

For entertainment, the owners mounted 16 plasma screen TVs around the bar’s circumference, including a 72-incher that gets fed a constant stream of live sporting events via satellite. When the Sun clocks out and night falls, they turn down the televisions and crank up the digital audio system, fueling birthday bashes and karaoke parties with powerful beats.

1825 M St NW
Washington,
DC
US

Recessions is one of the most charmingly outlandish karaoke dive bars in all of DC. Getting in involves walking right through a piece of DC history: the Quincy Hotel. Thursdays are karaoke nights, with the selection being as varied as the interesting crowd that Recessions attracts. Signature drinks here include their enormous King Kong Beer. They also serve surprisingly delicious pub snacks including their specialty Maryland Crab Cakes (made with real crab), juicy chicken tenders, and crispy, homemade steak fries. Happy Hours are weekdays from 5 pm to 8 pm and really do give an amazing bang for your buck on both wine and beer.

1823 L Street Northwest
Washington,
DC
US

All drinks served at The Mighty Pint come in towering pint glasses, which patrons can sip from as they soak up the glow from flat-screen TVs. Alongside updated tables and flooring, ornate, burnished-gold picture frames add a dose of funky contrast, dotting the rough-hewn bricks and the crimson wall that strain to contain the Pint's revelry. Discounted drink pitchers on game days quench the thirst of football and hockey fans gathered in the establishment, and beer buckets on Mondays keep the tongues of trivia contestants from drying up when they’re asked to speak the name of the Netherlands' prime minister. Beer is sourced from micro- and macrobreweries alike, and a huge variety of cheesesteaks, pierogi, burgers, and pizzas fill up a full food menu.

1831 M St NW
Washington,
DC
US

Tune Inn might be a dive, but it’s no slouch. Just blocks from the Capitol, chef Mike—a former Marine—runs a tight kitchen where he quickly but carefully prepares off-the-bone ham sandwiches and beer-battered burgers for the eclectic crowd. Much of the food is ferried to tables by Lisa, the current owner, whose grandfather Joe Nardelli opened the bar in 1947.

331 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington,
DC
US

Consider yourself warned: The Raven Grill does not serve food. What it does serve is alcohol, a comforting selection that hinges on domestic bottles and classic cocktails. One could almost picture Edgar Allan Poe sipping brandy here—even with the glow from neon beer signs and twinkle lights, the divey spot has a decidedly dark vibe that’s beloved by barflies of all ages.

3125 Mount Pleasant St NW
Washington,
DC
US