Pour one out for the local dive bar. An American tradition, dive bars are informal watering holes with dedicated (and very eclectic) clienteles. The drinks are cheap, and they're always strong—with a relaxed, no-frills atmosphere that's a far cry from the $15 cocktail menus at special occasion spots. Whether you're a newbie to the dive scene, or want to stray away from the usual den, here are some of the best dive bars in Sarasota.
3428 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Chances are you'll get carded right at the door, but it's worth it for a cocktail that's under $5. With a popcorn machine, a pool table and indoor smoking, there's plenty to do with the one free hand you'll have left. Open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every single day, customers can swing next door to North Trail Liquors on the way home. Memories is especially crowded on Friday's for karaoke night. If you're lucky, you might run into Mr. Phil.
6587 Gateway Ave., Sarasota
For those who can't decide what to drink, Pour Decisions will do the work for you. Its White Claw Wednesdays are $3.50 a pop, and it recently introduced $4.50 Stolis. Join the animated crowd for Sunday football, but this spot is open every single day from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m.
4675 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
Bahi Hut is, if anything else, a piece of Sarasota history. Established in 1954, it is known for its indoor carpeting and tiki-style exterior. While smoking inside is no longer allowed, the Mai Tais are as strong as ever. The Hut is open every day from 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
2058 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota
The arcade games at Red Barn will make anyone feel like they're young again. Open everyday from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., the Red Barn also boasts a huge pool table and a daily happy hour. Cases of liquor, beer and even kegs can be taken home.
2615 Mall Drive, Sarasota
The Thirsty Turtle opens at noon every day, and stays up until 2 a.m. with you. This Gulf Gate spot sports pool and darts, and plenty of seats. Check out their Mix n' Match Craft Beer Buckets for $20. Indoor smoking is also allowed.
6519 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota
Crescent Club is known for its affordable menu and generous pours. Bring a couple coins to put into the jukebox, or try the bar's beloved Mud Slides. This Siesta Key bar starts serving drinks at 10 a.m., and won't stop until 2 in the morning.