(NEXSTAR) — Texas does dive bars so well that they are practically an official state export. But locals usually look for something more authentic than the nearest Coyote Ugly location when they pull up a stool. So we asked for help identifying the true top dives.
Yelp gave us data on the best single dive bar in each state, but drilled down specifically into Texas to label 10 top affordable watering holes. Obviously, not every bar is a dive, and some owners don’t even want the label. So we asked Yelp how they defined the category.
According to a Yelp spokesperson, dive bars are “typically well-worn bars that offer an inexpensive, simple selection of drinks and are often considered ‘hole-in-the-walls.’”
Yelp allows operators of these establishments to self-identify as “dive bars” on their own Yelp accounts — at which point Yelp’s moderators will conduct a review to ensure the bar meets their criteria — or Yelp’s own users can submit suggestions to the moderators, if they feel a specific bar should be recategorized as a dive.
In other states, the top dive can be found on a small town street corner, but Texas’ top-rated dive is right in the state capitol: The Skylark Lounge in Austin. The Skylark gets credit from Yelpers for the friendly vibes, but nearly every review mentions the quality of the live music at the dimly-lit bar off Airport Blvd.
“I cannot say enough positive things about Skylark Lounge,” wrote one visitor from New York.
City bars dominated the Texas ranking, with Austin scoring four entries. Donn’s Depot on 5th Street made the list, as did The Little Longhorn Saloon and the perfectly named Dive Bar and Lounge north of the capital.
Milo’s Bar in Arlington was the lone Dallas-area bar to make the list, thanks to its laid-back atmosphere and gaming options (ping pong, darts and pool).
Houston had three entries, trailing only Austin. Corpus Christi and San Antonio helped round out the complete ranking below.
|2||Black Monk Tavern||Corpus Christi|
|3||Dive Bar and Lounge||Austin|
|4||Three Sheets Bar & Grill||Houston|
|7||The Little Longhorn Saloon||Austin|
|8||The Bang Bang Bar||San Antonio|
|10||West Alabama Ice House||Houston|
If you don’t see your favorite dive on the list, maybe you should consider that a good thing. Do you really want crowds to find out about your secret hideout?