Whether or not you frequently attend or aren’t willing to admit hanging out at a dive bar with its dim lighting and it’s less than traditional methods of interior design. Most of us can recall spending an evening or two in a local watering hole at some point in our lives. Dive bars are everywhere, the beloved staple of swarms of college students happily avoiding their studies. Cherished by the thirsty bunch of socializers looking to maximize their potential buzz with cheap drinks. This thriving concept for a restaurant/bar should definitely not be considered the underbelly of the food and beverage industry. Some of the best places to kick back and enjoy a few strong drinks and cholesterol busting bar food are dive bars. They have been setting trends and molding the industry since the opening of the first saloon. For instance, without dive bars such as The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY we may never have added to American cuisine the almighty chicken with its crispy skin, smothered in Frank’s Red Hot, are accompanied by a side of celery, carrots and blue cheese dressing. That’s right, blue cheese dressing not ranch. This is just one example of how dive bars have made a contribution to society’s overall happiness.
If you are the few that have never set a foot inside of an unpretentious, anti-snobby, come-as-you-are dive bar, then you need to break out of your bubble and join the masses. In fact, dive bars are so popular that big corporations are launching bar concepts that resemble a dive bar. Though nothing compares to a real dive bar experience, successful restaurant companies have realized the potential profits behind the dive bar theme. However, the feeling you get at a corporate version of a dive bar is a bleached, watered down version of the real thing. It’s hard to fake the feeling of danger that you get with a real dive bar.
Let’s take a closer look at why we love and continue to support dive bars by highlighting some of the features you might find at a really good dive bar. Cheap drinks and good food are first and foremost and the main attractions that keep the people coming back time and time again. Why else would we subject ourselves to such rustic conditions if we didn’t perceive added value in the food and drink? The drinks are usually served in plastic cups that you would find at a backyard barbeque and the utensils and dishes are just as basic. Seating at the bar is limited and only those who show up early get a seat at the bar. At a real dive bar you will notice the host greeting you as you walk in is also your server and probably the bartender as well. So be kind to all the staff while at a small dive because you never know who will be cooking your food. The decor is usually college dorm room-ish with plenty of promotional materials from various beer and alcohol companies. Often patrons sign dollar bills and stick them to the walls and ceiling as a trendy way to commemorate an evening of hard drinking.
Most dive bars have only two to three employees running the entire show and each employee has a number of job rolls to fill on any given day. These gritty and hard as nails people have to wear many hats during the business day such as providing friendly guest service in the restaurant area while maintaining order in the bar area. It takes a special type of person to deal with the daily pressures of running a restaurant or bar and it helps to have a healthy portion of patience. Yet day after day these soldiers of the service industry show up to work with great attitudes ready to tackle the day.
The next time you’re faced with the decision of where to dine try something off the beaten path. Break away from ordinary and dare to live a little on the wild side! Go check your local dive bar and take a chance at the risk of having a great time.