01/16/13 9:19am
Celebrate love, at Pearl's. via Cafe Ghia

Celebrate love, at Pearl’s. via Cafe Ghia

First dates are filled with all sorts of fears and anxieties – especially when you’re meeting that person for the first time (ah, online dating). Those dates aren’t so much dates as they are interviews, so you want to keep it low pressure and comfortable. A low-key bar – a dive especially – makes a great first date: casual, no pressure to be super romantic, but dark and homey. Also, there’s booze.

When it comes to these first dates, there are two extremes: you can discover a major deal breaker and need to make a quick exit, or you can get so wasted that you ignore that deal breaker and you go home together. Most dates fall somewhere in between. Here are some potential places for that first meet up. (more…)

08/31/12 2:00pm
Lone Wolf in Brooklyn

Dive bars of Brooklyn, we drink to you. Lone Wolf photo by Emily Paup.

A sports bar conjures up images of chads chowing down wings and sexually harassing waitresses who laugh it off for a decent tip. Beer bars have all the brews in our solar system, and bartenders who can write you a dissertation on each one. Gay bars have jukeboxes containing only Robyn. What is a dive bar though?

It definitely shouldn’t be defined by the terrible old cliche of “a place where hipsters rub elbows with [INSERT BLUE COLLAR TROPE]” because that veers dangerously close to giving a cop or a sanitation guy mystical features. It shouldn’t be a place that is cheap above all else, because a hellhole with cheap beer is still a hellhole.

A dive bar is a place that should have cheap beer, yes, but also decent service and some sense of being permanently etched into the landscape. If it’s baffling or intimidating to newcomers, all the better. If you walk into a bar, sit down with your beer and are suddenly being lectured on the terrible decision the Rangers made to trade for goddamn Phil Esposito 40 years ago, you know you’re in the right place. Or at least I know I am. A dive bar, more than any other kind of bar, is a place that acts as a bulwark against a world that is more often completely shitty than anything else.

Some of the bars on this list have existed as bars since seemingly the beginning of time, others are new but well on their way to permanence. Several reject the slummy dive bar aesthetic for something a little snazzier. Due to the sometimes anonymous nature of the dive, this list is far from all encompassing. Still, all these spots share an edge and patrons who don’t give a fuck what you think when you walk in the door. And Brooklyn is all the better for them. — Dave Colon (more…)