What Is A Dive?

Posted: October 15, 2009 in Dive Bar, Faux dive

What is a dive bar? In other words, what are we looking for here at the 13 blog? For me, a dive is a very special kind of place. It’s a bar, that’s always, ALWAYS very dark. (This is unfortunate, as it makes it hard to take quality photos.) So, I’ve got some pictures culled from previous entries and some from entries that never made it to give some ideas as to the differences between a bar and a dive bar.

At a dive bar, you’d only drink mixed drinks. This is something you can never, never see at a dive bar…

This is a sampler of ‘whiskys’ that I purchased for myself at the Scottish Arms.  That was a great, great restaurant and bar.  They have a selection of ‘whisky’ that would make any whiskey drinker blush.  I know I surely did.  It is very dark in there, but it’s not a dive bar.  They also serve an amazing shepherd’s pie.  I really do reccomend the place, but again to prove they’re not a dive, that sampler was $13 for 1.5 oz of whiskey.  I also got a Makers Mark whiskey sour there that night..that was $8.50.  This is what you get at a dive bar….
See the coke?  See the whiskey?  That’s Old Crow, served at my house.  That’s usually what ya get when ya ask for for bourbon and Coke at a dive bar.  Also, you’d never ask for bourbon straight up or on the rocks at a dive…because the best bourbon a dive is legally allowed to have is Wild Turkey, and that’s even a bit rare.  It’s usually Jim Beam.  A dive bar cannot charge more than $2.75/rail drink, lest they lose their status.

Here’s another thing you won’t see at a dive…
Beer samples?  Oh  no.  You order the beer and you drink it.  If ya didn’t like it, well too bad.  I was given these wonderful samples of micro brewed beer at the Granite City Brewery in St. Paul, MN, great place.  You’ll also never see this either…
Nope. No sir.  That’s a wonderful selection of beers I got at the Square One Brewery in Lafayette Square, great place, but no dive.

A good dive will have a picture of cheap beer on their draft sign.  It’s like pirate ship flying the jolly roger.
Schlitz…you know this place is a hole.  If you see a Guinness sign, not a dive, but it may be a faux dive!

Now, this is something to be very aware of.  These places do exist.  To get a good handle on a faux dive, read this. Avoid faux dives as best you can.  They’ll always be more expensive and you’ll not feel the welcoming vibe you should.

A good dive bar will have a feeling of inclusion. Like this…
or this…

When you go to a dive bar, you should feel welcomed in right away.  Like you’re a long lost brother who’s been away from the family for some time.  You should also be able to drink really cheaply.  $20 should cover your tab for the night at a really good dive bar.

I prefer the dives to the nice bars, like Van Gohz.  I used to be a snob when it came to drinking, but not anymore.  Nowadays I want to have a nice bourbon and coke in a dirty, smelly, smokey, and somewhat questionable establishment.



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