Dive bars are one of my favorite types of watering holes.
I like being able to casually walk into a bar, plop down and have a cold beer that doesn’t make me say “geez. that’s expensive; I better drink slowly.” I like reading funny bumper stickers, seeing old neon beer ads and other stuff that would be cluttered crap if displayed anywhere else hanging on the walls and looking at faded photos of past decades. This all keeps me entertained even if I walked in alone.
There’s something about dive bars that are cool. I’m can’t quite put my finger on why because they are as basic as bars get, but they are fun places to drink. I suppose it’s because they all have character. They are not chains, owned by a big bar and restaurant group. They are locally owned and are often the heartbeat of a community. You can learn a lot about a place by going to a dive bar.
No two are quite alike, either. Oh sure, they all share several things in common and recognizing these clues lets you know you that you are in a good dive bar. But at the same time, they are all unique.
One thing that makes dive bars unique are the patrons. No matter their backgrounds or beliefs, we all have something in common because we’re in that dive bar at that particular time. Heck, even those big-muscled heavily-tattooed Harley Davidson guys are fun to talk to in a dive bar.
The bartenders are always interesting, too. Some are old codgers who have been there for decades and if politely prodded, can be a source of some good stories about the place, the city or even a few oddball patrons that walked in one day. Other bartenders are lively and entertaining. Some are even hot girls who are dressed for tips.
Mostly what I like about dive bars is that I can go in and be myself. I can cut loose, laugh, joke and, when inspired with some of that liquid inspiration, sing or even dance to a fun song playing on the jukebox. I may even pick up a cue stick and and take my buzzed skill to the pool table (I’m a far better pool player buzzed than sober) or start tossing darts at a target.
Dive bars also attract a lot of pub crawls and games like flip cup. They are daytime drinking destinations that can spill into last call.
I also know that dive bars are where to get the best burgers in America. The grill has decades of taste embedded into it, the meat is usually of high quality from a local store down the street and they only cost about 10 bucks. There are no $20 “gourmet burgers” in dive bars.
Dive bars are also a good test when dating a girl. Take on there and if she turns her nose up when you walk in then I know this won’t be a long-term relationship. On the other hand, if she says “I love dive bars!,” you’re in for as long as, well, until you blow it in some other area.
So here’s a praise to dive bars. National Dive Bar Day, by the way, is July 7.
From The Barstool is a blog from PubClub.com’s nightlife blogger, who has seen a lot from the perspective of sitting on a barstool in bars around the world.