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Lucky 13: San Diego's Most Iconic Dive Bars

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Everybody's got their favorite dive bar, a regular booth, a bartender or two on first-name basis status. Sometimes there's a menu, usually offerings from the food groups "greasy" or "fried", but you're grateful for it all the same because it keeps you from getting too saturated. Even when they're rough around the edges, there's a cozy quality to a good dive; if a bar's been around a long time, something's gotta be right.

In honor of Eater's first Cocktail Week, we've put together a map of San Diego's Iconic Dive Bars; some are decades-old, all have well-earned character. We only had room for 13; if we've missed your spot please tell us about it, and what makes the place special, in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Naugahyde abounds at this 60's-era watering hole where it's often standing room-only. Order stomach-steeling bar bites(burgers, fried stuff in a basket) from the bar's kitchen window.

Albie's Beef Inn

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Gauzy painted-lady portraits, cougars on the prowl, an old school menu(entrees are served with a single giant cooked carrot). Oh, and it's in a Travelodge.

Pacific Shores Bar

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Pac Shores is a block from the beach, so the under-the-sea theme (depicted in black light paint) seems fitting. Enjoy the cheap drinks and the way your date's teeth glow in the dark.

The Lamplighter

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Channel your inner "Glee" character and muster up some courage for this dive's raucous karaoke nights; the cheap drinks help.

Red Fox Room

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The hotel that houses it may have gotten a makeover, but this dimly-lit piano bar (its rooms were transplanted here from England in the 20's) remains its friendly, worn-in self. (RIP Shirley!)

Star Bar

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A dive-y holdout in the middle of Gaslamp, the neon-lit Star Bar is cheap, but cash-only. Though to fit in with the neighboring club scene, there's a cover charge($5) at door.

Live Wire Bar

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Celebrating a 20th anniversary qualifies the Live Wire for icon status, as does one of the best jukeboxes in town. Bonus points for a dive bar-rarity, a good craft beer selection.

The Aero Club Bar

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May have come close to jumping the dive bar shark with a recent feature in Maxim, but the enormous whiskey selection (400+), large comfy booths and lack of pretension keep it on the list.

The Waterfront Bar & Grill

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Touted as San Diego's oldest tavern, regulars are grateful for their early morning breakfasts (open at 6 a.m.) and burgers, both popular hangover cure-alls.

Lancers Cocktail Lounge

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This mellow, neighborly dive has been pouring stiff ones for nearly 40 years; it's refreshingly scene-free.

The Alibi

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You just might need one after a long day or night of drinking here (happy hour starts at 8 a.m. and goes til 6 p.m.

Turf Supper Club

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Once a 1950's hub for the horse-racing set, the Turf's now slightly overrun by hipsters who flirt over classic cocktails and meat cooked at a communal grill.

The Kraken

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This waterside North County dive is a go-to for the biker crowd. Don't ride a hog? You can go for the live music or go to play pool, just don't go to the bathroom.

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Nunu's

Naugahyde abounds at this 60's-era watering hole where it's often standing room-only. Order stomach-steeling bar bites(burgers, fried stuff in a basket) from the bar's kitchen window.

Albie's Beef Inn

Gauzy painted-lady portraits, cougars on the prowl, an old school menu(entrees are served with a single giant cooked carrot). Oh, and it's in a Travelodge.

Pacific Shores Bar

Pac Shores is a block from the beach, so the under-the-sea theme (depicted in black light paint) seems fitting. Enjoy the cheap drinks and the way your date's teeth glow in the dark.

The Lamplighter

Channel your inner "Glee" character and muster up some courage for this dive's raucous karaoke nights; the cheap drinks help.

Red Fox Room

The hotel that houses it may have gotten a makeover, but this dimly-lit piano bar (its rooms were transplanted here from England in the 20's) remains its friendly, worn-in self. (RIP Shirley!)

Star Bar

A dive-y holdout in the middle of Gaslamp, the neon-lit Star Bar is cheap, but cash-only. Though to fit in with the neighboring club scene, there's a cover charge($5) at door.

Live Wire Bar

Celebrating a 20th anniversary qualifies the Live Wire for icon status, as does one of the best jukeboxes in town. Bonus points for a dive bar-rarity, a good craft beer selection.

The Aero Club Bar

May have come close to jumping the dive bar shark with a recent feature in Maxim, but the enormous whiskey selection (400+), large comfy booths and lack of pretension keep it on the list.

The Waterfront Bar & Grill

Touted as San Diego's oldest tavern, regulars are grateful for their early morning breakfasts (open at 6 a.m.) and burgers, both popular hangover cure-alls.

Lancers Cocktail Lounge

This mellow, neighborly dive has been pouring stiff ones for nearly 40 years; it's refreshingly scene-free.

The Alibi

You just might need one after a long day or night of drinking here (happy hour starts at 8 a.m. and goes til 6 p.m.

Turf Supper Club

Once a 1950's hub for the horse-racing set, the Turf's now slightly overrun by hipsters who flirt over classic cocktails and meat cooked at a communal grill.

The Kraken

This waterside North County dive is a go-to for the biker crowd. Don't ride a hog? You can go for the live music or go to play pool, just don't go to the bathroom.

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