South Boston has traditionally been the part of Boston where Irish Immigrants settled. It is now going through quite a gentrification process as new condominiums are forcing up prices in what in the past has been a rough part of town.

Irish gangsters such as James “Whitey” Bulger, who was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, use to call ‘Southie’ home and Irish influence can still be found in some of the local bars.

The best bar I found was Croke Park/Whitey’s where everyone is welcome, drinks are cheap, pool is free and the jukebox plays some kicking tunes.

Named for its former owner Whitey McGrail, who was gunned down in the pub in 1985.

After visiting many dive bars all round the USA ( and believe me I had a list) from Key’s West to Chicago, I crown Croke Park/Whitey’s the BEST DIVE BAR in the USA. And as an Aussie, my decision is infallible!

So what makes a good Dive Bar:

* Friendly Staff – You should be made to feel welcome from the moment you enter!

* No Pretension! – Open to anyone regardless of colour, creed, sex or fashion!

* Normal Drink Prices – None of this fancy ass ridiculous prices for a drink.

* Not a Tourist Bar – A good dive bar is a neighbourhood hub, not a photo opportunity for some tourist!

* No Pokies – I’m sure Hell sounds like a pokie pub!

Runners up – Click on photos for more info.

Best Bar Food – Buffa’s New Orleans
My favourite was Boudin’s balls ~ Deep fried sausage and rice balls with a creole crawfish sauce. Best taken with a ice cold beer!

Most Remote Bar – Thibodaux, Louisiana
Found this bar with no sign in the Louisiana Bayou near Thibodaux. I was officially the first Australia and they took a photo to prove it! If you find Choctaw road, you might find it!

Best History – Captain Tony’s Saloon, Keys West
Look, Keys West is full of tourists, you will be hard pressed to meet a local, but Captain Tony’s Saloon, the original Sloppy Joes, is worth a visit, if only just to read the walls. Hemmingway, Jimmy Buffett and a tree, what more could you want! The Green Parrot is also worth a look if you like Live Music!

Best Family Run Bar – B and G Tavern, Cleveland
My favorite bar in Cleveland ~ B and G Tavern. A Puerto Rican family business run by Benny Snr, and now Benny Jr and his wife, Cynthia, since 1980. Why do l like it ~ it’s a local’s bar, where people talk, white, black, latino, and reasonable prices. It’s real, like Cleveland, no pretence!

Best Bar for First Timers – Nancy Whiskey, Corktown Detroit
I don’t like tourist themes bars and Nancy Whiskey in Corktown, Detroit is not a theme bar, but it does have a great little tradition where first time visitors get a free shot of whiskey and a great story. A great way to start the night in a bar that has been serving locals since 1902.

Canadian Bars worth a mention

Best Bowling Bar – Cy’s Bar, Alma Ontario
Cy’s Bar in Alma Ontario, with it’s pristine 1960’s style bowling rink. Family run bar well worth a round at!

Best Skating Bar – Smilin Buddha Cabaret, Downtown Eastside Vancouver
The Smilin Buddha Cabaret was a bastion of the Vancouver music scene from ’52 to the early ’90s featuring such performers as a 10 yr old Jimmy Hendrix, who use to play the last set for his uncle, who would sometimes be too drunk to perform. It now features a 65 x 18 foot skate ramp, making use of the 14 foot ceiling

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