Look, let’s get one thing straight. What you might call a “dive bar” or a “greasy spoon,” we call relaxed, affordable, under-the-radar experiences. They may not have all the bells and whistles that get everyone’s attention because that’s not what they’re all about. They’re comfortable just being themselves and that’s the way the folks who frequent them feel as well. And what they lack in pizzaz, they make up for in nostalgia, in cozy down-home appeal, and often in some of the best food or drinks to be found without having to break the bank to enjoy it.

There’s a reason these often overlooked locales are so popular with the locals. Here’s the inside scoop.

Dive Bars

The perfect place to slide into when your boss isn’t looking, always a great juke box, a regular who knows everyone, and a friendly bartender.

Oaks – 26 West Market Street in Corning

Your typical local dive with the added bonus of an OTB in the back.  Great wings but we suggest trying the fried pepperoni.


Read M P.'s review of Oak's on Yelp


Malley’s Pub – 92 East Market Street in Corning

Like two bars in one.  Exuberant middle age day drinkers until the sun goes down then nightclub atmosphere after dark.

Mally's Pub

Wooden Nickel - 18 Liberty Street in Bath

If you are looking to kick back, Wooden Nickel is a safe bet.  It’s not the kind of place that’s going to break our wallet.

Wooden Nickel

Maloney’s Pub - Hammondsport


Look for the motorcycles or classic cars out front as your first sign. Chances are there’s at least one NASCAR hood hanging on the wall and serious old-school country on the juke box.

  • Country Pub 2 - Campbell
  • Sit-n-Bull Pub - Painted Post
  • Junior’s Log Cabin
  • Lindley Roadhouse

Sportsman’s Paradise

You are sure to see at least five stuffed heads hanging on the wall and maybe even a few snowmobiles parked out front in winter.

  • Ranch 226 Bar
  • The White Buck - Cohocton
  • Kill Buck Inn - Canisteo

Boat Drinks

Nothing shouts summer quite like a cold refreshing drink on the waterfront.  Waterfront pubs where you can park your boat dockside.

  • Laf-a-lot - Loon Lake, Wayland
  • The Switz
  • Snug Harbor
  • Lakeside
  • The Waterfront

Pubs & Taverns

These combination bars and restaurants offer the best of both worlds. The drinks are usually reasonably priced and the food is plentiful and tasty enough to keep folks coming back. Often a hot spot for local entertainment and live music.

  • Maloney’s Pub
  • Paddy’s Pub
  • R & M
  • Liberty Street Pub
  • Big Papa’s
  • Jack’s Gaslight Grill
  • Woodhouse

Some folks are looking for good times off the beaten path. They’re not all about bling or bedazzlement. They appreciate the pleasures of simple, creature comforts. They yearn to discover those best kept secrets, to experience travel like a local. We can’t really blame them.