Local Ranking: The 9 Best Dive Bars in Grand Rapids

Ah, the humble dive bar. A topic near and dear to my heart.

You know the kinda place I’m talking about. Ice cold domestic beer, served in pitchers. Classic rock on the jukebox. The faint aroma of cigarettes that were smoked decades ago, their scent permanently bonded to the bones of every dive bar in town. Boozy two-ingredient cocktails with no garnish.

I’ve spent countless hours delighting in a drink and good company at dive bars across Grand Rapids. C’mon. I’ll lead you on a bar crawl through my favorite spots.

Map of the Best Dive Bars in Grand Rapids

The best dive bar in Grand Rapids: Logan’s Alley

There are great dive bars in every corner of the city, but Logan’s Alley is my favorite. If you’re into craft beer, Logan’s Alley is a hidden gem. It’s a craft beer joint disguised as a dive bar.

Let me give you the lowdown on the amazing things at The Alley: the food (greasy bar food, but oh so good), the drinks, the tunes on the jukebox, and the servers. And like every good dive bar, there’s a dart board in the back.

If the sun’s shining, there’s a patio covered with clear plexiglass on the east side of the building. Enjoy your grub and beer in the splendor of the Michigan sun.

  • Address: 916 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Logan’s Alley

The other best dive bar on Michigan Street: Duke’s

There are half a dozen or so dive bars on Michigan Street that are absolutely slaying it, and Duke’s is one of my favorites. Speaking of all the dive joints on Michigan – the street is ripe for a bar crawl. Assemble your crew and revel in a night of Michigan Street dive bar glory.

Back to Duke’s. They’ve got giant mugs of beer. There’s a pool table and darts in the back. The food is classic bar food, and I’ve never had a bad bite.

  • Address: 700 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • Website: Duke’s

The best for live music: Mulligan’s Pub

Mulligan’s. People have made so many memories (then forgotten them – thanks a lot, booze) at this Eastown institution. Mulligan’s oozes dive bar energy. Initials seem to be keyed into every chunk of wood in the joint, immortalizing the love of JM and AD forever.

Don’t let the name fool you – it’s more of a dive bar than a traditional Irish Pub, But what a great dive bar it is. The Mully Stew is a legendary shot. It’s a bad decision in a glass, but as the kids say, YOLO.

Drink prices, like any good dive bar, are insanely cheap. Wander to the back room, and you might get treated to a local or regional band (check their site for a calendar). Expect loud, abrasive guitars, thumping drums, moshing, slam dancing, and wild, youthful abandon.

  • Address: 1518 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Website: Mulligan’s

The best on the Southeast side: The Silver Derby

Or, “the Derby,” if you’re a cool kid.

The Silver Derby will scratch dive bar itches you didn’t even know you had. Oversized glass mugs full of draft beer? You know it.

The tap selection is limited, and there’s no kitchen – they sell bags of prepackaged chips and cheese curls. (Ok, they also have hot dogs. Please do not get one, no matter how many drinks you’ve enjoyed.) But man. The Silver Derby is a beloved dive bar. Friends of mine named their dog Derby as a nod to the amazing memories they’ve made here.

Most nights, The Derby oozes blue-collar, neighborhood bar charm. But on weekends, students from nearby Calvin College (ahem, University, excuse me) make their way to the bar, and it can have a college night vibe.

The best in Uptown: Pickwick Tavern

If you find a list of Grand Rapids dive bars, and the Pickwick isn’t on there, that list is wrong. “The Pickwick” has been serving drinks since the end of prohibition in 1934.

Dirt cheap drinks, served stiff, just the way they should be. The Pickwick is small, so prepare to bump elbows with other customers. It’s in Uptown, and it’s a quick walk from many other great places to have a drink or a bite to eat.

Note – Pickwick is cash only.

  • Address: 970 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • Website: N/A

The best on Bridge Street: Anchor Bar

If you’re going out for dinner at one of Bridge Street’s hotspots, head over to Anchor bar for a pre or post dinner drink. Call it “The Anchor” and fit in with the locals.

  • Address: 447 Bridge St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: N/A

The best in winter: Broadway Bar

Broadway bar is another Grand Rapids legend. While it’s a great dive bar 365 days a year, “The Broadway” really shines in the winter months, when they deck out the inside with holiday decorations. It’s like Buddy the Elf stayed up all night, tinkering away to create a winter wonderland for you to feast in. Extremely Instagramable (and Tik-Tokable), if that’s your thing. Is Tik-Tokable a verb? Let’s go with it.

Great bloodies, good food, cheap drinks. What are you waiting for?

  • Address: 740 Broadway Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: Broadway Bar

Another one for my Westsiders: Blue Dog Tavern

Blue Dog Tavern is nicer than your typical dive bar, but the northwest side of town is a blue-collar place, and Blue Dog is blue-collar through and through.

Got a dog? Is he a good boy? Send a pic of your pup to the Blue Dog and it will end up on a slideshow displayed on TVs throughout the tavern.

Really good, upscale hot dogs (duh) if that’s your thing. And the fried pickles are a winner.

  • Address: 638 Stocking Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: Blue Dog

Best in a bowling alley: Clique Lanes

Listen: they’ve got a bar in the front with darts and pool tables, and, of course, a juke box. True story – I almost bowled a 200 here once, no big deal.

“The Clique” is a two-story retro bowlers paradise, but if you’re just looking for a drink in a spot with different vibes than your typical dive bar, grab one in the front room. Enjoy the soundtrack of balls cracking pins as you crack a cold one. There’s a reason this is

  • Address: 533 Stocking Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
  • Website: The Clique