For lovers of dive bars, Long Beach's 4th Street, from Alamitos Ave in Downtown Long Beach east to Redondo is notorious. The bars are spaced several blocks apart, so walking, biking, or taking an official Big Red Bus pub crawl by double-decker bus are popular ways to get from bar to bar. There are a few bars a couple blocks south on Broadway and a couple blocks north on 7th that draw a similar crowd of local old-timers during the day and young to not-so-young inked and artistic types, and 21+ college students at night. There's also an active gay bar scene, especially on Broadway, which overlaps some with the dive bar scene, but that's another list. Any night of the week by 11 pm you'll see a collection of people, smokers and overflow, hovering out in front of most of these bars. Many of these bars are cash only, as noted below.
There are other non-dive bars in this vicinity including wine bars and restaurant bars. There are also plenty of dive bars in other Long Beach neighborhoods, but this is a non-touristy area where out-of-towners can explore in reasonable safety and mingle with the locals, despite the frequent flashing of police lights you may see between Alamitos and Cherry. Don't drink and drive!
Near the corner of Alamitos, the V Room, with its landmark neon V is a local watering hole with quirky regulars, a nice loud jukebox, a couple pool tables and inexpensive drinks.
Note: Cash only
Nearby: Clancy's Irish Pub & Roscoes Chicken & Waffles 2 blocks south off Alamitos at Broadway
Stache has more modern black and red decor with dark wood bar chairs and a sleek black bar and 4 tall tables. It's more hipster than most of the bars on this list. They're known for friendly bartenders who make quality classic and original cocktails with interesting organic ingredients at reasonable prices.
Address1227 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90802-1832, USA
Recognizable by its red awning and the perpetual overflow crowd having lively conversations on the sidewalk out front at night, the Red Room has been a Long Beach institution since 1945. The skateboard decor was contributed by staff. It's a skateboard kind of neighborhood. There's a digital jukebox, a pool table, 7 TVs and free WiFi.
Fern's is an unpretentious neighborhood bar that draws an eclectic mix of local characters to play on the three uneven pool tables and enjoy cheap drinks. There's an old-school rock & roll jukebox and sometimes live punk and rock bands perform.
Address1731 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90802-1905, USA
Ashley's is bigger than most of the other dive bars on 4th Street. There's actually some room for dancing to the live bands and jukebox and it's a full-service restaurant that serves late, as well as a bar with cheap, strong drinks and free WiFi.
Note: Cash only
Having a bar/restaurant named Pike that's not down by the waterfront at "The Pike" is a bit confusing. But if you end up at the blue/green painted-over diner on 4th Street, you'll find surprisingly good food, good drinks, and good live music at very reasonable prices. The downside is that it's no secret and there are way too many people trying to cram themselves inside and overflowing outside. There's a small parking lot in the back off Hermosa.
A local hang out with multiple TVs, a couple pool tables, a jukebox, some video games and cheap, strong drinks. There's a parking lot behind the bar off Temple. Despite the name and shamrocks outside, it doesn't have much Irish flavor inside.
Note: Cash only
Clancy's is not on 4th Street, but it's just around the corner from the V Room on the corner of Broadway and Alamitos. It's a divey, but pretty large Irish bar and restaurant with a mix of Irish and other kinds of food on the menu. Known for karaoke and trivia nights, decent food and a crowd leaning more toward senior rockers and bikers than hipsters, but depends on the day and whether a band is playing.
Address2400 E 7th St, Long Beach, CA 90804-4637, USA
The Prospector bar and restaurant has a full kitchen that does a pretty good job making heavy, fatty comfort food for a bargain price, but anything that looks healthful on the menu is prepared like it's a waste of time. It's a hot spot for karaoke on Wednesdays and Fridays or come around for live music on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Gallagher's, at Broadway and Temple a couple block's south of O'Connell's, is more of a sports bar than a typical dark dive bar, but I've included it here since it's often included as a stop on pub crawls. They have live music, a fun karaoke night and popular Sunday sports brunch. The food and service are just OK, but the crowd can be pretty fun.
Another neighborhood dive bar at the corner of Broadway and Redondo near a few cute shops and the popular Library coffee house. One of its biggest selling points, in addition to strong cheap drinks, is the late night fare available from Taco Reno next door.