04/04/2014 01:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why Dive Bars Are The Best Bars

There is nothing better than a dive bar. Rather than getting all dressed up and spending extra money to journey across town, wouldn't you rather just walk to the corner looking however you want with the few bucks you already have in your pocket?

Dive bars are unpolished, imperfect places filled with unpolished, imperfect people, just like us. And that's just one of many things things that make these establishments the best.

Here are some more...

They're usually in the neighborhood.

You even get a little exercise because you can probably walk there. But let's not go nuts, you're not going to the gym.

Any and all pretentiousness is left at the door.

Come just as you are. Dress however you want. Eh, within reason. Overdress, and you may get some glares. But even if your clothes stick out, if you're nice and polite, the regulars will probably warm up to you anyway. Only after giving you some good-natured ribbing.

That old-school juke box definitely doesn't have an Internet connection.

Don't bother looking for your overplayed pop songs, it's only plugged into the wall for electricity. Did you hear that? Of course you did, because the juke box is also at a reasonable volume. No need to yell in anyone's ear.

wall jukebox

There are no huge crowds to contend with.

This way you can relax, enjoy your personal space and you won't have to yell over the loud masses of people.

dive bar

That also means...

There's a short wait for drinks.

If there's one issue in America that truly brings us all together, not waiting for drinks is it. USA! USA! USA!

And of course the drinks are cheap!

If you can't walk in with a few dollars, buy a beer and leave a decent tip, you're definitely not at a dive. Though, depending on your location, dive bar rates may vary.

dive bar

It's likely you'll find some beer + shot specials.

They might not be top shelf, but after one or five you won't care.

Wine? Sure, which color would you like?

Fancy glasses not guaranteed.


Coasters? Cocktail napkins?

You have the chance meet your bartender one-on-one.

A smaller crowd means more one-on-one time with the person who has your drink destiny in his or her hands. Cherish that time.

dive bar

There aren't many tough decisions to be made.

Oh, you want something on tap? Here's the beer they have on tap.

old beer tap

The toughest decision: pool or darts?

Those are usually your game options. If that.

But some dives might surprise you with old arcade games.

They're not there ironically or for nostalgia's sake. They're dusty, covered in spills and haven't moved for decades -- and they're still functioning.


Or they've got some old board games.

Cribbage boards. Maybe an old Scrabble. Still fun, if you can play without all the pieces that are missing.

old board game

You might actually learn something from the older clientele.

Listen, they've lived it. You're not telling them anything new, but they're probably willing to listen. And they might have something interesting or helpful to tell you.

There's a lot of character to it.

It's not some cookie-cutter bar. The owner and staff personalities come through just by taking a look around.

dive bar

And there are plenty of characters, too.

Short waits for the bathroom.

And probably an interesting adventure once you're in there.


No shocking credit card totals at the end of the night.

Dive bars are usually cash bars, and that means you know exactly how much you spent. No sticker shock when they run your card.

dive bar

You have no need to impress anyone.

The regulars don't care who you are.

But regulars will probably be happy to throw one (or more) back with you.

As long as you respect their bar and you're not a loudmouthed jackass. And if you are, steer clear of your local dive. We won't be held responsible for what might happen.

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