Santa Cruz has a wide variety of dive bars perfect for those seeking nothing more than a cheap drink and a spot to commiserate. When high-end cocktails and posh nightclubs are a bit too much, Santa Cruz dive bars offer no-frills drinks, traditional bar games and a casual atmosphere. Some dive bars feature live music during the week, open mic nights, trivia and happy hour specials. Top photo of The Asti by Chip Scheuer
The Jury Room
712 Ocean St, Santa Cruz
Named after the nearby county courthouse, The Jury Room is located on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz. The proverbial dive bar, The Jury Room is a favorite of locals and wayward visitors alike. With a free jukebox, complimentary pool, and cheap drinks, the Jury Room is the ideal spot for a loner looking to make new friends or old friends seeking an out-of-the-way spot to recap the tribulations of the day.
The Rush Inn
113 Knight St, Santa Cruz
At the tip of Downtown Santa Cruz, just beyond the clock tower, The Rush Inn is a great place to go to grab a drink and watch the big game. All alone? That’s fine. Despite its plain appearance from outside, the Rush Inn boasts some of the friendliest bartenders in town. Pool is free, and there is a wide selection of affordable libations and interesting conversations to choose from.
The Poet & The Patriot
320 Cedar St Ste E, Santa Cruz
For those looking to enjoy a tasty brew to the sounds of live tunes, this Irish pub is the spot. Tucked away in the Birch Lane alley off of Pacific Avenue, the Poet & the Patriot features three dart boards in a room dedicated purely to the game. But guests should remember to get there early, as the small space fills up quick on boisterous weekend nights.
One Double Oh Seven Club
1007 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz
The One Double Oh Seven Club is the optimal dive bar for activities. The dive bar located in midtown Santa Cruz has every bar game invented—from shuffle board, to pool, to a variety of dart boards. There is also trivia at the bar. Known for it's friendly atmosphere, the One Double Oh Seven Club is also one of the only legal places to puff a cigarette inside in Santa Cruz.
715 Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz
Nicknamed the “Nasty Asti” by locals, this is a dive bar that never disappoints. On the seedy end of Pacific Avenue, the Asti draws in colorful characters ready to strike up a conversation at the drop of a shot glass, and a billiards room set away from the long bar and booths if the mood strikes. A card room is conveniently located nearby. The Asti is the dive bar of choice for those who like their drinks strong and their floors sticky.
1 Rancho Del Mar, Aptos
Located at the Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center in Aptos, the Windjammer is a favorite getaway for locals and anyone trying to hide away from the hustle and bustle of the Santa Cruz bar scene. The Windjammer opens at 10 a.m. each day for those looking to watch a daytime sports game, or throw some darts, and offers live music on weekend nights.
The Red Room
200 Locust St, Santa Cruz
Located in downtown Santa Cruz on the ground floor of its swankier sibling, The Red, this is a dive bar with a touch of class. With cloudy crimson lighting and plush auburn booths lining the establishment, there is no guessing where the dive got its name. For anyone seeking a cheap pitcher of PBR with an indie rock soundtrack, The Red Room is the place to go.