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May 26, 2015

Take a dive at these 5 Philly watering holes

Some of the city's best off-the-radar bars

Bars Neighborhoods
12 Steps Down 12 Steps Down/Facebook

Patrons celebrate "Drunkmas 2014" at the 12 Steps Down bar in South Philly.

Philly's a great drinking city, and there are plenty of great bars here to prove it. There are so many, in fact, that some of the best drinking establishments fly under the radar and don't garner the same attention as the more well-known watering holes.

Those bars, aka "dive bars," are plentiful in Philadelphia. Full of regulars, usually serving cheap drinks and rich in atmosphere, those joints are often the best places to get a real feel for the local community and culture. Here are five of the best ones.

Era

Fairmount - 2743 Poplar St.

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(Era Bar/theerabar.com)

Head just one block down from North Star Bar to find this gem. Serving up authentic Ethiopian food, their drink special of a Lionshead bottle with a shot of Heaven Hill bourbon for $3 is a nice break from the normal citywide special. Bring quarters, too, because the regulars are usually down for a friendly game of pool.

The Green Room

Spring Garden - 1940 Green St.
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(The Green Room/Facebook)

If you're looking for a sports bar with a little character, The Green Room is for you. They've got plenty of TVs to watch the game, plus a foosball table, beer pong and darts downstairs. You can down their jello shots for just $2 apiece, and everything else is a dollar off during their weekday happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Handle Bar

Fishtown - 1102 Frankford Ave.
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(The Handle Bar/Google Maps)

Skip the sweaty dancing at The Barbary and save your change from Barcade at this bar nestled between the two. With friendly bartenders who will talk your ear off with stories of crazy nights past, this cheap alternative is a must. 

Old Philadelphia Bar

Kensington - 2118 E. Dauphin St.
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(Old Philadelphia Bar/Google Maps)

When it comes to prices and atmosphere, this place is essentially the definition of a dive bar. All cans of beer are $1.50, and all well shots are $1. Smoky and full of regulars from the neighborhood, Old Philadelphia is where to go for a truly gritty Philly drinking experience.

12 Steps Down

Bella Vista/South Philly - 831 Christian St.

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(12 Steps Down/Facebook)

You literally have to walk 12 steps down a flight of stairs on a street corner near the Italian Market to get into this bar. It's worth the trip to grab a brew off their rotating draft list or have the bartenders make "any cocktail you want." Their happy hour features half-off all drafts, and they've got plenty of events and specials for each day of the week.

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