With the amazing renaissance of our drinks culture in DC – the craft cocktail movement, the wine bar explosion, and the expanding beer consciousness all facing off against the slick corporate engines looking to make big bucks off bottle service and velvet ropes – it’s easy to overlook the plain ol’ dingy dive bar. But there’s a seedy side to the world of drinks in our fair capital city. And I love it.
What makes a dive bar? Can you really define it? Imagine you were a production designer for a crazy independent filmmaker, would you know what elements to include? Some might say DC is too Type A to have real dive bars, but the sleazy underbelly of politics proves that wrong. With so many bright-eyed babies coming here to “make it big” there’s bound to be a lot of disappointment. Not everybody’s a winner. And the dive bar thrives on losers.
Depressed yet? Good. Relish it. That’s part of the dive bar too. You’ve got to inhale that sick aroma, ripe from years of cigarette smoke and body odor, squint as you enter almost total darkness or excruciatingly bad fluorescent lighting, belly up to the bar and order a shot. Now look around. Let’s see what we have here.