Best Dive Bars Fort Lauderdale

Ready for an authentic Fort Lauderdale night out? We’re taking you on a tour of the best dive bars Fort Lauderdale has to offer, where the vibe is as relaxed as the dress code and the drinks don’t drain your wallet.

I’ll be honest, I like the five star stuff as much as anyone. However, there is nothing like getting down and dirty in a local dive bar, Anthony Bourdain style. Here’s what to know about the dives in my backyard of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Overview of Ft Lauderdale Dive Bars

  • Fort Lauderdale’s dive bars like Elbo Room and Riverside Market South boast unique stories, a rich history, and a laid-back vibe perfect for enjoying live music and cheap drinks.
  • Whether it’s beachside spots like The Elbo Room and Parrot Lounge or downtown joints like Original Fat Cat’s, these bars offer a mix of good vibes, affordable drinks, and diverse menus.
  • The city’s dive bar scene isn’t just about the drinks; places like The Dive Bar and Downtowner Saloon are hotspots for live entertainment, featuring everything from rock to jazz.

Iconic Fort Lauderdale Dive Bars

Iconic Fort Lauderdale Dive Bars

Enter the fascinating realm of Fort Lauderdale’s iconic dive bars, each with a unique story told through its walls and every stool. These are the places steeped in history, where the spirit of the city comes alive with every pour.

Two remarkable dive bars rise above the rest in this coastal paradise, captivating both locals and travelers with their rich history and enduring charm. The Elbo Room, radiating nostalgia on Fort Lauderdale Beach, together with Riverside Market South—a beer lover’s paradise tucked away in the city’s cozy corners—encapsulate the quintessential dive bar experience.

Elbo Room

The Elbo Room, etched into the annals of Fort Lauderdale’s history since 1938, is more than just a great dive bar; it’s a cultural landmark. This historic establishment, immortalized in the 1960 film ‘Where the Boys Are,’ has been the backdrop for countless Spring Break memories and remains a beacon for live music aficionados.

Perched on the intersection of Las Olas Boulevard and A1A, the Elbo Room stands as a proud sentinel across from the sun-kissed Fort Lauderdale Beach, offering outdoor seating to patrons who enjoy the ocean’s breeze as much as the music. With an enormous bar, pool table, and dance floor, the vibe here is always high-energy, making it the perfect spot to let loose and enjoy the retro atmosphere that has been drawing crowds for decades.

Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on a lazy afternoon or dance the night away, the Elbo Room’s friendly bartenders and lively crowd make it a quintessential part of Fort Lauderdale’s identity.

Riverside Market South

A short jaunt from the bustling beachfront lies Riverside Market South, a haven that effortlessly blends the surfer culture with an eclectic beer parlor’s charm. This vintage dive exudes a funky and cool atmosphere, where walls of refrigerators are a testament to the beer variety on offer, from refreshing ales to robust crafts and IPAs. It’s a street away from the ordinary, where you can devour pizza or barbecue sandwiches while lounging on cozy indoor communal tables or relaxed outdoor park benches.

The dive bars in Fort Lauderdale are known for their friendly staff, and Riverside Market South is no exception, with Tripadvisor reviews and patrons alike raving about the exceptional service that makes everyone feel like a local. It’s a place that captures the laid-back spirit of Fort Lauderdale FL, inviting you to linger over a pint and let time slip away in the company of good friends.

Beachside Dive Bars to Unwind

Beachside Dive Bars to Unwind

There’s something magical about a beachside dive bar – the salty air, the relaxed atmosphere, and the sound of waves in the background create an environment that’s hard to replicate. In Fort Lauderdale, these laid-back spots dot the shoreline, offering refuge to those looking to escape the daily grind. With outdoor seating that lets you people-watch to your heart’s content and happy hour specials that sweeten the deal, beachside dive bars are where you can truly embrace the laid-back lifestyle. Some of the best beachside dive bars in Fort Lauderdale include:

So grab a cold drink, kick back, and enjoy the beach vibes at these local favorites.

From delectable drinks and fantastic music to a cozy atmosphere for socializing, these best dive bars offer a complete package of bar features.

Parrot Lounge

Nestled just a stone’s throw from the ocean, Parrot Lounge is a classic dive bar that’s all about the good vibes and even better drinks. The features of Parrot Lounge include:

  • Friendly staff
  • Clean environment
  • Pool tables
  • Outdoor patio with stunning views

It’s the perfect spot to grab a cold one and soak up Fort Lauderdale’s beachside charm.

The Parrot Lounge may be tucked away from the main tourist strip, but that just means you get to enjoy a more authentic slice of local life – and isn’t that what a great dive bar is all about?

The Pirate Republic Seafood & Grill

Ahoy, mateys! Welcome to The Pirate Republic Seafood & Grill, where the spirit of adventure is alive and the seafood is as fresh as the ocean breeze. This dive bar is not just a place to drink; it’s an experience, complete with a lively pirate theme and an outdoor seating area that’s perfect for a night under the stars.

Here, you’ll find great food, creative cocktails, and a crowd that’s always up for a good time. And for those arriving by sea, the convenience of free parking and docking only adds to the allure of this beachfront gem.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Dive Bars

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Dive Bars

The pulse of Fort Lauderdale’s nightlife reverberates through its downtown dive bars, with the energy as tangible as the bass resonating from the speakers. These are the places where a diverse crowd gathers, from Broward County locals to South Florida visitors, all in search of a night filled with cheap drinks, great music, and memories that will last a lifetime.

With their enormous bars and friendly bartenders, downtown dive bars embody the spirit of Fort Lauderdale FL, welcoming everyone with open arms and a cold drink.

Original Fat Cat’s

Downtown Fort Lauderdale is also home to Original Fat Cat’s, a laid-back bar with a unique twist. Known for its:

  • relaxed environment
  • affordable drinks
  • game of pool
  • jukebox

But what really sets this dive apart is its decor – think flying saucers and a moving police car with flashing lights overhead – creating a vibe that’s as distinctive as the city itself.

Whether you’re wrapping up a long week or just starting your night, Original Fat Cat’s is a cold beer and a warm welcome waiting to happen.

Unique Atmospheres: Fort Lauderdale Dive Bars

Unique Atmospheres: Fort Lauderdale Dive Bars

Dive bars in Fort Lauderdale offer more than just refreshing beverages; they provide an immersive experience. Each establishment boasts a distinct character and atmosphere, varying from eclectic to downright eccentric. Imagine sipping a craft beer while graphic movies play on the TV, or laughing with friends under a canopy of hanging undergarments.

These are the kinds of memories you can only make in Fort Lauderdale’s most unique dives, where the unexpected is just part of the charm.

Poorhouse

Take a corner of downtown Fort Lauderdale, add a big group of friends, and you’ve got the makings of a great night at Poorhouse. With its quirky decor and laid-back atmosphere, this dive caters to a more mature crowd looking for a place to unwind without the usual ruckus of the beachside bars.

And with daily happy hour specials running from 4 pm to 7 pm, it’s a popular choice for those who appreciate good drinks at reasonable prices. Whether you’re in the mood for a draft beer or a strong cocktail, Poorhouse is a great choice for a relaxed night out.

Kreepy Tiki Lounge

For an experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind, step into the Kreepy Tiki Lounge. This dive bar blends the warmth of the Caribbean with a mystical, Voodoo-like ambiance, all set against an original punk backdrop. The tiki decorations, complete with puffer fish lights and Hawaiian print chairs, transport you to an island paradise, albeit with a ‘kreepy’ twist. It’s a hub for the artistic crowd, attracting everyone from musicians to rockabilly fans, all drawn in by the promise of an immersive and entertaining night out.

And with a happy hour that offers distinctive tiki cocktails at friendly prices, the Kreepy Tiki Lounge is a must-visit for anyone looking for a dive bar experience that’s as unique as it is unforgettable.

Affordable Drinks & Diverse Menus

Affordable Drinks & Diverse Menus

The appeal of Fort Lauderdale’s dive bars extends beyond their ambiance and history. They also guarantee a fantastic time without breaking the bank. With a diverse range of beers, cocktails, and wines available at reasonable prices, these dives offer the kind of value that makes every round feel like a celebration. And let’s not forget the menus, which feature everything from classic bar snacks to fresh, local cuisine, ensuring that your taste buds are just as satisfied as your thirst.

The Poorhouse

The Poorhouse is a prime example of a dive bar that knows the value of a dollar. With a wide assortment of beers, cocktails, and wines, you can enjoy a night out without worrying about the tab. Known for its wallet-friendly prices, The Poorhouse is a popular spot for those looking to enjoy a good drink in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.

Whether you’re a local or just passing through, you’ll feel right at home here, where the drinks are cheap and the company is always good.

Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge

At Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge, the drinks are as memorable as the decor. With a range of custom-crafted cocktails that are as strong as they are inventive, you’re in for a treat with every sip. The bartenders here are known for their skill, making even the most discerning drinker feel like a regular.

And with a good local beer selection at prices that won’t spook you, Kreepy Tiki is the perfect spot for a night out that’s as easy on the eyes as it is on the wallet.

Live Entertainment & Music Scene

Dive bars in Fort Lauderdale provide more than just a spot to enjoy a drink; they embody the city’s vibrant live entertainment and music culture. From rock and roll to punk, from jazz to blues, you’ll find a soundtrack to suit your mood and a crowd that’s ready to groove.

The vibrant nightlife is complemented by affordable drinks and late-night eats, creating the perfect setting for a night out that’s as much about the good music as it is about the memories.

The Dive Bar

The Dive Bar is where the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s music scene beats the loudest. This revered late-night staple doesn’t just feature live music; it’s a daily celebration of sound that echoes throughout downtown. With performances taking place every night, you’re guaranteed an experience filled with great music and an atmosphere that buzzes with energy.

The staff at The Dive Bar are as friendly as they come, ensuring that whether you’re a first-time visitor or a regular, you’ll be greeted with a smile and a drink that hits the spot. It’s more than a bar; it’s a community hub where the diverse clientele, from bikers to hipsters, come together to enjoy a great night of:

  • live music
  • karaoke
  • trivia nights
  • comedy shows
  • open mic nights

Downtowner Saloon

For a more soulful night out, the Downtowner Saloon offers a riverside retreat where live jazz and blues set the tone for an intimate evening. Nestled on the Riverwalk, this spot comes alive every Sunday with performances that carry on from noon to late afternoon, providing the perfect backdrop for a lazy Sunday or a lively weekend finale.

With an extensive beer list and classic cocktails on offer, you’re sure to find the perfect accompaniment to the soulful sounds. And as if the music wasn’t enough, the stunning views of the river add an extra layer of enchantment to the experience, making the Downtowner Saloon a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy the finer things in life, Fort Lauderdale style.

Local Favorites: Dive Bars in Fort Lauderdale

Although Fort Lauderdale’s dive bar scene caters to a wide range of tastes, the local favorites possess a distinctive charm. These are the bars that have captured the hearts of the city’s residents, where the ambiance is as warm as the welcome and where the drinks come with a side of genuine local charm.

It’s in these establishments that you can truly feel the pulse of Fort Lauderdale, away from the tourist hotspots and nestled in the embrace of the city’s unique culture.

Treasure Trove

Step into Treasure Trove and you’ll understand why it’s a beloved local haunt. With its walls adorned with dollar bills and nautical memorabilia, this dive bar exudes a casual and welcoming vibe that’s hard to find elsewhere. The diverse clientele, which includes everyone from bikers to drag queens, adds to the bar’s inclusive and eclectic atmosphere. The staff here are known for their friendly and personalized service, often greeting regulars by name and remembering their favorite drinks – a testament to the Treasure Trove’s commitment to creating a community amongst its patrons.

Whether you’re looking to grab a drink after work or spend a night out with friends, Treasure Trove is the place where good vibes and great times are always on tap.

Las Olas Tavern

Las Olas Tavern stands as a testament to the laid-back lifestyle that epitomizes Fort Lauderdale. Favored by the locals, this tavern on the iconic Las Olas Boulevard is where personalized service and a diverse crowd come together to create a genuinely local experience. The bartenders here are more than just mixologists; they’re the friendly faces that make Las Olas Tavern feel like a second home.

With drink specials that keep the night affordable and the good times rolling, it’s clear why this spot is a local favorite. Whether you’re winding down from a day at the beach or gearing up for a night on the town, Las Olas Tavern is the perfect place to enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine among friends.

If you are up for the quick trip from Lauderdale to Miami, (which I detail on that page), have a look at the top dives in Miami!  You will NOT be disappointed.

Summary

As our journey through the dive bars of Fort Lauderdale comes to a close, we’re reminded that the true spirit of a city can often be found in the most unassuming places. From the historic Elbo Room to the vibrant Riverside Market South, from the beachside sanctuaries of Parrot Lounge and The Pirate Republic to the downtown favorites like Original Fat Cat’s, each bar offers its own slice of local color and charm. And let’s not forget the unique atmospheres of Poorhouse and Kreepy Tiki Lounge, the affordable drinks and diverse menus that delight the palate, and the live music scenes at The Dive Bar and Downtowner Saloon that keep the city’s heartbeat alive into the night. Fort Lauderdale’s local favorites, Treasure Trove and Las Olas Tavern, remind us that the best experiences are those shared with friends in places that welcome you with open arms.

So here’s to the dive bars of Fort Lauderdale – the keepers of stories, the providers of refuge, the stages of unforgettable nights, and the homes of communities. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s a bar stool waiting for you where you can enjoy the no-frills fun and cheap drinks that define these beloved establishments. May your explorations be as rich and varied as the bars themselves, and may you always find your way back to the places that feel like home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What part of Fort Lauderdale has the best nightlife?

The best nightlife in Fort Lauderdale can be found in three main places.  Las Olas, the beach, and Wilton Manors, which is mostly a LBGTQ scene and always a great time.

What is the difference between a dive bar and a regular bar?

The main difference between a dive bar and a regular bar is the limited drink selection offered at dive bars, usually with 3-5 options, such as cheap beers and basic spirits. Dive bars also have a more laid-back and grunge-chic vibe compared to regular bars.

What is a dive bar alcohol?

A dive bar alcohol is typically found in small, unglamorous establishments with inexpensive drinks and a local clientele. They may feature dim lighting, shabby decor, and cash-only service.

Does Fort Lauderdale have a strip of bars?

Yes, Fort Lauderdale has a strip of bars along Las Olas Boulevard, which offers a combination of excitement and waterfront relaxation. If you’re looking for a fun night out, this famous strip is a great option.

Why are bars called dive bars?

Dive bars are called that way because originally, they were housed in cellars or basements, allowing “frequenters to ‘dive’ without observation.” This term was then used colloquially to describe a “drinking den” or “disreputable place of resort” (Oxford English Dictionary).

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About 

Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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