Top 5 Dive Bars in Santa Barbara

Zack Garhart
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Visiting Santa Barbara and looking for somewhere lowkey to have a drink and meet some locals? We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite spots around town for shooting pool, listening to live music, and getting cheap drinks.

Before hitting the town, read over our list of the top five dive bars in Santa Barbara!

De La Vina Lounge

Of the many different watering holes in Santa Barbara, De La Vina Lounge offers a true dive bar experience. The interior is dim but welcoming. As a local spot, you’re sure to encounter people from Santa Barbara and also be able to carry on a conversation. De La Vina Lounge has a jukebox, and they’re also known to have friendly bartenders. We love the colorful ambiance here, plus they have pool tables and TVs for sports. If you’re looking for something off the beat that is away from the touristy areas of Santa Barbara, look no further than De La Vina Lounge. 

Want another look at some of Santa Barbara’s best spots? Watch this video!


Elsies Tavern

Another off-the-beaten-path place in Santa Barbara is Elsies Tavern. It’s not only a favorite amongst us here at ITH Santa Barbara, but locals also rave about it. Got the munchies? They sell snacks for your late-night cravings. Elsies Tavern has been praised for its cool interior with fun furnishings. Plus, there is a great outdoor space. Inside during the day, the space is bright and welcoming. At night, the colors and ambiance give this place an old-school feel and plenty of charm. There are also arcade games if you like to throw it back!

Mel’s Lounge

Mel’s Lounge is a classic dive bar. There are three pool tables, plus tons of televisions for you to catch your favorite sports team. Not only is this a place to go for drinks, but they also serve great food. People rave about the staff, too. Mel’s Lounge is also known to offer open mic nights that will feature local comedians. Check the calendar for listings on events! Besides pool tables and stand-up comedy nights, Mel’s has karaoke, making it a prime place to bring friends and enjoy a lively night out. As one of Santa Barbara’s top five dive bars, don’t miss Mel’s Lounge!

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Whiskey Richard’s

For pool players, this is the place to be. Whiskey Richard’s has two tables for playing pool, with enough space to spread out and hang out without feeling cramped or hurried. The drinks are stiff and still affordable. What we like about Whiskey Richard is the vibe. It offers a nice place for a chill, cozy evening. The staff is friendly and engaging, too, so there’s a good chance you’ll get to know a few familiar faces if you frequent Whiskey Richard’s.  

A Taste of the United Kingdom

For a little different vibe, head on over to Old Kings Road. With a British theme, Old Kings Road will make you feel like you’ve traveled across the pond without ever having to leave Santa Barbara. Whether it’s for drinks or fun, you’ll find something at Old Kings Road that speaks to you. They will feature karaoke nights, and also trivia. We love Old Kings Road for its international feel and warm vibes. Saddle up to the bar for a pint and you’re sure to have some interesting conversation here!

Untitled Design 171Now that you’ve got the low down on the bar scene here, we hope you check out each of our five best dive bars in Santa Barbara on your next visit!

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