When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I try to avoid them. Just not that big on self-improvement. Yet there’s still so many things I haven’t done in Brooklyn, or haven’t done enough that I’m willing to try to commit to making them happen. Like, say, staying on the Cyclone after riding once and sitting up front the second time. Eating more vegan comfort food. Going to the Rockaways more than just one or two times this summer. Drinking at every dive bar. I’m gonna determine once and for all whether or not East Williamsburg is a neighborhood and bite the bullet and go to a Nets’ game (and boo the crap out of them). Help rebuild. Stand up for the G train. Actually go to brunch sometimes, weekend or weekday. See more than one movie outdoors this summer, since you never know who’s gonna be there. Have an affair (which can be helped along by $1 oysters). Hell, maybe I’ll even try playing soccer since we have those new fields. What about you? How are you going to make 2013, if not better, at least more interesting than 2012?
Oh 2012. Everyone kept worrying about you being the last year in human history before you happened, and then by the time the election hit fifth gear, they were hoping you really would be. Despite all this, you readers managed to have a hell of a lot fun reading topless in the park, giving Philadelphia an inferiority complex and getting into the politics of Urban Outfitters and endlessly debating the merits of Girls. Even as the year ended with a powerful hurricane, it was met with an equally powerful outpouring of support from in-the-muck volunteers. We’ve been happy to bring you these stories this year, and we hope you had fun reading; so without further ado, here are our top stories of 2012: (more…)
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…)
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