Portland, Maine, a city known for its picturesque lighthouses, fresh seafood, and vibrant arts scene, also boasts an impressive array of dive bars. These establishments, often overlooked in favor of more upscale venues, are the heart and soul of Portland’s nightlife. They offer a unique blend of local culture, affordable drinks, and a laid-back atmosphere that can’t be found anywhere else. Whether you’re a local looking for a new hangout spot or a tourist wanting to experience Portland like a true Mainer, these dive bars are worth checking out.

The Thirsty Pig

Located in the heart of the Old Port, The Thirsty Pig is a beloved local dive bar known for its extensive beer selection and house-made sausages. The bar’s rustic interior, complete with wooden tables and a chalkboard menu, creates a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The Thirsty Pig also hosts regular live music events, making it a great spot to enjoy some tunes while sipping on a cold brew.

Tomaso’s Canteen

Tomaso’s Canteen, situated in the East End, is a no-frills dive bar that prides itself on its “cheap beer and honest food.” The bar’s menu features classic pub fare like burgers and hot dogs, as well as a variety of local beers. Tomaso’s Canteen also offers a unique feature: a “mystery beer” option, where adventurous drinkers can try a random beer for a discounted price.

Howie’s Pub

Howie’s Pub, a neighborhood staple in Deering Center, is a classic dive bar with a friendly, laid-back vibe. Known for its cheap drinks and hearty food, Howie’s Pub is a favorite among locals. The bar also features a pool table and a jukebox, adding to its old-school charm.

Matthew’s Pub

Matthew’s Pub, located downtown, is one of Portland’s oldest dive bars. This establishment is known for its strong drinks, friendly staff, and eclectic clientele. Matthew’s Pub also hosts regular karaoke nights, making it a fun spot for those looking to belt out their favorite tunes.


Amigo’s, situated in the West End, is a dive bar with a Mexican twist. The bar’s colorful decor and lively atmosphere make it a fun spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat. Amigo’s offers a variety of Mexican beers and tequilas, as well as delicious food options like tacos and nachos.


Portland’s dive bars offer a unique and authentic way to experience the city’s nightlife. These establishments, with their affordable drinks, friendly atmosphere, and local charm, are a testament to Portland’s laid-back and welcoming culture. So next time you’re in the city, skip the upscale cocktail bars and head to one of these dive bars instead. You won’t be disappointed.


What is a dive bar?

A dive bar is a casual, unpretentious bar or pub that typically offers affordable drinks. These establishments are often frequented by locals and are known for their relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.

What should I expect at a dive bar?

At a dive bar, you can expect a casual and friendly atmosphere, cheap drinks, and often, a selection of pub-style food. Dive bars often have a local, neighborhood feel, and many host regular events like live music or karaoke nights.

Are dive bars safe?

Yes, dive bars are generally safe places to have a drink and relax. Like any other establishment, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and drink responsibly.

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