The 12 Dive Bars Every Londoner Needs To Know

What makes a good dive bar? For us, it’s all about the ambience, a steady stream of repeat customers, a healthy dose of character — and of course, a large variety of beer and cocktail options. And, even if we could afford to go to Morton’s in Mayfair every night of the week, we wouldn’t choose to. Because sometimes, you just need a little grit.
In selecting our favourite dive bars in London, we’ve steered clear of the overly flashy and trashy. Some of the places that made the cut, like the George Tavern, have been whetting the whistles of thirsty Londoners for several hundred years. Others, like Birthdays in Dalston, have been open for less than 12 months and face stiff competition for the affections of the city’s booze enthusiasts. And although we’ve had a tipple (or four) in quite a few bars around town, this list is by no means the final chapter in our dissertation on dives. Our research on the subject is never done — and cheers to that.
Want more local flavour? Like Refinery29 London on Facebook for insider tips on the coolest spots to shop, eat, party, and play.

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