Now this may be an unpopular opinion, but I’ll take a charming dive bar over a trendy overpriced club any day. Personally, I find that a friendly outing in a run-down yet comfortable environment makes for far better memories than burning cash in an overcrowded dance pit. While dive bars come in many shapes and states of disarray, there are several elements that can definitely enhance a place’s charm when grabbing a beer with friends. Next time you stumble into some hole in the wall taphouse, keep your eyes peeled for these quintessential dive bar components.
Whether it be billiards, darts, ping pong, or my personal favorite: tabletop shuffleboard, nothing enhances a night of drinking like a little friendly competition. After all, your aim is always better after a few beers.
An obvious choice, karaoke provides both entertainment and an outlet of drunken expression for bar guests. The thing about listening to a horrible rendition of Party in the USA is that you’re going to want to drink more to drown out the noise. In turn, you’ll get drunk and want to sing something yourself. It’s a vicious yet reliable cycle.
Dive bars have an amazing propensity to overserve and underprice. While you’re spending twenty bucks for a diluted vodka Redbull at a club in Santa Monica, your neighbor is paying a fraction of the price for a stronger version at a shack in Venice. You may not get the Instagram photo you want, but you’ll get hammered at a quarter of the cost.
Neon Beer Sign
Nothing says small-town, family-owned vibes like a neon Budweiser or Corona sign behind the bar. It’s the sort of thing that makes you feel like you’re in college again without a worry in the world.
If you walk into a bar and see some old folks that look like they’ve been drinking all day, you know you’re in a good place. A dive bar that respects its regulars is sure to show you a good time. The bartenders may be rude, but at least they take care of their own.
Mediocre Pub Food
This is the type of stuff that tastes like cardboard when you’re sober, but gold when you’ve got a few drinks in your system. Whether it be buffalo wings, onion rings, nachos, etc, this food hits the best during a bad case of the drunchies.
Another price saver, buying a pitcher of beer is not only cheaper than purchasing individuals, but it brings friends together through conversations about who’s buying the next one. Most dive bars have pitchers that have seen some shit and are cloudy with age. If you find these in a dive bar, sit down. You’re in a good place.