A good dive bar makes you feel like you’re part of a secret cool kids club. A bad dive bar makes you wish you paid more attention to that Netflix documentary that showed you how to make a prison shank. Thankfully, none of the latter made our list of favorite no-frills places to knock back a few on a Thursday night.
1. Tater Barn & Tavern, Pinehurst
What to bring: Cash — they don’t take cards. But if you need to charge your phone, they have USB plugins under the bar.
What to order: Coors Lite, pull-tabs, a Dill pickle from the jar on top of the bar, and a cigar.
Vibe: The Barn may be a little smoky since it’s technically a cigar bar, but it’s incredibly friendly. Like drinking with your grandpa, but without the political rants.
2. Dave’s Place, Aberdeen
What to bring: Dolla, dolla, bills y’all. Dave’s has a handful of arcade games, including pinball and video bowling.
What to order: Keep it simple. They have one flavor of vodka (spoiler alert: It’s plain). If you’ve got the munchies, try their bourbon wings.
Vibe: This is a place your parents would love. You’ll get a chance to join a singalong when “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin'” plays on the jukebox.
3. Time Out Sports Grill, Carthage
What to bring: Blood thinners. All the best things are deep-fried.
What to order: Natty Light on tap and the Cheesy Mac burger. Fried macaroni bites ON a burger? MIND. BLOWN.
Vibe: Family-friendly bar and grill. A place to play some pool or throw some darts after work.
4. Bruce’s Tavern, Southern Pines
What to bring: A smile. Cause you might not get one from the bartender.
What to order: The drink menu is small, so you’ll be served classics like PBR unironically. But it’s real cold, and they have Cheez-Its and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so that’s a win.
Vibe: The bar in that apocalypse movie, where the bartender uses a bat from behind the counter to smack some zombies. Just kidding. Those zombies are everyone who just got off from third shift and need a drink at 9 a.m.
5. Neville’s, Southern Pines
What to bring: Neville’s is a social club, so you’ll need cash to pay your one-time club fee. What else should you bring? Your crew. Get ready to rage.
What to order: Neville’s specialty cocktail, the Tang-kini, because tang + orange vodka = bad decisions and great memories. Shots are $5 on Tuesdays: Try the Grape Bomb, with grape vodka and Red Bull. If you like living on the edge, try the bowl of free snacks.
Vibe: Bar you’re most likely to somehow lose one of your shoes and finally hook up with that cute guy you keep running into.