Maybe you're at the closest dive to home or a hotel bar at a wedding, but it's not where you go for a perfect Sazerac. What, then, is the best drink to order?
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It's hard to tease out what takes a bar from middling watering hole to travel-worthy destination. After all, there are date bars and dive bars, beer bars and cocktail bars, hotel bars and dance bars; there are bars for music and celebrations, and there are quiet, empty bars for drinking yourself into a wallowing puddle of self-pity. But if there's one thing I've learned over my ever-so-extensive six years as an of-age drinker, it's that every bar can be improved by one simple addition: a sh*t-ton of games.
Washington DC has its share of trendy cocktail bars and hipster hideouts, but the district's dive bars have clung to life, thriving on decades of drinking history and fierce local loyalty. Here are 8 of our favorite dive bars in the DC area.
Portland has plenty of great dives, complete with scruffy regulars, weird decor, cheap drinks, pinball, and drunken grandmas dancing at noon. Here are our 8 favorites.
The best dive bars are defined not by what you drink (though it's mostly beer—rarely do the mixed drinks have more than two ingredients), but by environment and patrons. At a great dive bar, the regulars look like they've been on their stools for years. The diviest bars still smell faintly of smoke, even though the smoking ban was put in place most of a decade ago. Most importantly, though, the best dive bars help you forget the stressors of the outside world.
Every neighborhood in Los Angeles has its own dark, slightly sticky haunt. Here are our 8 favorites.
I love a dive bar. Can't help myself; I just do. I've picked my poison in dive bars all over the world, each one special in their own way, but my very favorite dive is Memories Lounge in Sarasota, Florida, a gem of an establishment physically adjacent to a liquor store in a strip mall near the airport.
Chicago is a fantastic city for dive bars. Here's our handy list of 8 great options we recommend.