Skip the fussy cocktail bars in favor of a watering hole with no pretenses: a dive bar.
Fargo is full of great dives which embrace their less polished sides, and always include strong drinks, wild characters, and plenty of neon signs.
The Bismarck has been around for what feels like forever. Opened in 1937, it’s one of the oldest bars in Fargo and one of the dives most dear and near to locals’ hearts.
A dark interior, sticky floor, hodgepodge of locals, Grain Belt on tap, and stiff drinks are signatures of the Bismarck.
522 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 235-6607
Beginning its life as a Greek diner in the 30s, the Empire Tavern survived Prohibition intact and transformed into its current form in 1964.
That’s about the last time any changes were made, which gives the Empire its charm. Old school beer mirrors and neon signs fill the wood-paneled walls while ultra-stiff drinks fill the hands of the locals who frequent this beloved dive.
424 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 235-4705
A large bar dominates the center of Fargo’s original Irish-themed pub.
Only recently did Duffy’s turn in its vintage jukebox for a TouchTunes, but it maintains its classic dive bar atmosphere regardless. Squeeze into one of the cozy booths or play darts as you sip strong drinks.
If you’re here late (and you probably will be), order a pizza as a late-night snack.
16 12th St S, Fargo | (701) 235-0445
This West Fargo staple has a misleading exterior, but don’t let it stop you. Once you get inside, you’re in for blackjack, bingo, pool, karaoke, live bands, and the atmosphere of what they call the “Cheers Bar of West Fargo”.
817 Main Ave W, West Fargo | (701) 282-3059
You won’t miss the red cowboy boot signaling the location of this hole-in-the-wall dive on Main Ave in Fargo.
You’ll find all the fixings for a dive-y night out: pool tables, darts, pull tabs, friendly staff, strong drinks, and a liquor off-sale.
The bar is divided into two sections, one with darts and pool, one where a stage hosts live bands on the weekends.
2721 Main Ave, Fargo | (701) 232-8356
Silver Dollar Bar
This no-frills biker bar in West Fargo is filled with orange-and-black Harley decor and locals (both bikers and non-bikers).
Set up a game of beer pong on one of their dedicated tables, play darts, grab some free pretzels and Chex Mix, and enjoy.
221 Sheyenne St, West Fargo | (701) 281-0715
Right next to Rick’s Bar (mentioned above), a dark bar area leads to a small dance floor with a stage where you’ll more than likely hear a live band jamming.
Like any good dive, Speck’s Bar has cheap and strong drinks, plus fun events like blacklight bingo nights and meat raffles.
2611 Main Ave, Fargo | (701) 232-0202
24 bowling lanes, three bars, and a pizza parlor make up the building. If you don’t want to bowl, you can always play blackjack, pool, or darts instead.
The Bowler packs its events calendar with nearly-nightly things to do, including karaoke, trivia, and Rock-N-Bowl (aka black-light bowling to great music).
2630 S University Dr, Fargo | (701) 235-7588
This on-and-off-sale dive’s got it all: Pig Wheel, pull tabs, blackjack, pool tables, a wall of dart boards (and a dart competition on Friday nights), and karaoke.
If you love a small town dive bar vibe, Town Hall won’t disappoint.
103 Main Ave W, West Fargo | (701) 282-3568
Downtown Fargo VFW: For a strong drink and some great live music, head to the Downtown VFW. With their big dance floor and rocking tunes, it’s a divey-but-awesome experience for a Friday or Saturday night.
West Fargo VFW: West Fargo offers a whole different experience to its Downtown counterpart. A huge dance floor awaits, with line dancing and two stepping like a good ol’ fashioned barn dance in a newly renovated building. Again, grab a stiff drink and join in the fun.
Downtown Fargo | 202 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 235-8243
West Fargo | 444 Sheyenne St, West Fargo | (701) 282-4728
Nightly drink specials will have you mingling with the locals at Vic’s, a neighborhood bar in the heart of downtown Moorhead.
The bartenders will pour strong drinks and lend a listening ear. If you’re hungry, order from their burger menu. If you’re feeling lucky, play the pull tabs, bingo, or trivia.
512 Center Ave, Moorhead | (218) 236-7714
You’ll feel at home when you walk into Woody’s. Mixed drinks are strong (it wouldn’t be a dive if they weren’t, right?), darts and pool are available, and screens fill the walls if you want to watch the game while you’re here.
1550 32nd Ave S, Fargo | (701) 241-9817
Chub’s Pub & Package Place
A favorite of NDSU students, this dive bar is just down the road from campus. The friendly bartenders will immediately make you feel like a local and you can always grab liquor to go from the connected off-sale.
421 N University Dr, Fargo | (701) 235-8425
Also in Moorhead, Concordia College students have their own turf at Mick’s Office (which serves delicious burgers).
10 8th St S, Moorhead | (218) 233-2295
This large dive right on Broadway tends to be packed with students on the weekends. They only take cash, so make sure you have enough to get you through the night.
Other nights of the week, Rooters is a great place to stop for pool, cheap drinks and specials, darts, and karaoke, which happens Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
107 Broadway N, Fargo | (701) 235-4082
When looking for the best bars in Fargo, we recommend opting for one of these dive bars.