THE BLOG

Where Have All the Dive Bars Gone?

03/12/2015 11:41 am ET | Updated May 12, 2015
Adermark Media via Getty Images

Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle. What's that? Oh, the sound of three perfectly squared ice cubes sliding down the side of a highball glass as the bartender makes -- nay! -- creates me a cocktail. Beading with sensuous drops of dewy water, the tall cylindrical frame peacocks itself on a bar made out of fine mahogany wood that has been imported from the deep wooded fairy lands of the Mongolian Forest. Well, only half, the rest is salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk that was ripped from the ground in the great storm of 1844 and rescued by the one-eyed pirate king, Mori Mortison Monteqleu VII. The bar prides itself on such history and uniqueness. Five minutes have gone by and my libation stands in its infancy.

"I'm rather parched,sir. Could I just have my drink? Perhaps a gin and tonic instead?" I ask the bartender.

"Not yet, my good man! I must first pour the cherry infused vodka that has been infusing for 432 days, then crush an ounce of Calendula flowers that have been strained through a spoonful of pimento dram and bathed in the sweetness of Demerara gomme syrup to get that one drop of herbal oil that really gives this drink its signature bite."

"What are you talking about? I have no idea what half those things are. I can't even guess what my drink will taste like."

"It's like a surprise!"

"Probably a bad one."

"Never!"

"I'm sure I'll have to return it."

"I don't think so."

"How about a glass of water while I wait?"

"Of course. Sparkling, hydrogenated, or cold steamed?"

"Tap."

"May I have a cranberry vodka please?" the young girl next to me asks.

"We don't make such plebeian drinks around here ma'am!"

"Uh, what do you have?"

"May I point you to the second drink, Apricot Rye Lemon Botanical Juniper Crisp Fizz."

Brooding and swaying at the bar from the long wait, I see a silent figure under the dim glow of the numerous Edison light bulbs that hang above. It is the one-eyed pirate king, Mori Mortison Monteqleu VII, himself. With a fiery anger menacing from his one good eye, he shakes his head in despair at the painstaking process of getting a drink today, when in his time a quick swig from a bottle of rum would've done the trick, and I think to myself, "Where have all the dive bars gone?"