5 great dive bars

Find Max Fish's grimy charisma echoed in these time-worn saloons.

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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    International Bar

    After shuttering in 2005, this punk-rock tavern was resurrected in 2008 by new owners (including former TONY staffer Shawn Dahl), who faithfully ushered in a glorious second act of no-nonsense boozing. Jostle for a can of Genesee and a shot of Evan Williams ($4 for both), then pop a buck into an eclectic jukebox that rivals the one at Max Fish, with tunes from the likes of Black Flag and Lou Reed. 120 First Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 7th St (212-777-1643)

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Holiday Cocktail Lounge

    What Max Fish is to rock stars and street artists, this weathered veteran once was to writers and intellectuals like W.H. Auden and Leon Trotsky. It wears its decades-old grime unapologetically, offering dependable gruffness in a 'hood that's lost most of its whiskey-soaked landmarks. 75 St. Marks Pl between First and Second Aves (212-777-9637)

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Lit Lounge

    This East Village rock & roll bar is a second home for many longtime Max Fish fans. There's an art gallery in the back, a sweaty music club in the basement and plenty of hipster eye-candy—bathed in more flattering light than you'd find at the Fish. 93 Second Ave between 5th and 6th Sts (212-777-7987)

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    BillyMark's West

    A brightly lit pool table isn't the only thing this westerly dive has in common with Max Fish. It attracts a similarly eclectic—if decidedly less sceney—cross-section of humanity, from galleristas and FIT students to shift workers kicking back a few cold ones. 332 Ninth Ave at 29th St (212-629-0118)

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Gotham City Lounge

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cocreator Kevin Eastman once drew one of his iconic green-shelled characters on a wall at Max Fish, only to have it painted over the very next day. Avenge that travesty (and knock back $3 PBR-and-Old Crow whiskey combos) at this welcoming comic-book temple, decked out with a geekworthy collection of superhero memorabilia. 1293 Myrtle Ave between Cedar St and Central Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn (718-387-4182)

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

International Bar

After shuttering in 2005, this punk-rock tavern was resurrected in 2008 by new owners (including former TONY staffer Shawn Dahl), who faithfully ushered in a glorious second act of no-nonsense boozing. Jostle for a can of Genesee and a shot of Evan Williams ($4 for both), then pop a buck into an eclectic jukebox that rivals the one at Max Fish, with tunes from the likes of Black Flag and Lou Reed. 120 First Ave between St. Marks Pl and E 7th St (212-777-1643)


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